By, Justine Lorelle LoMonaco.
Feeding your baby solids can and should be an exciting (albeit messy!) time in both of your lives. But to ensure the healthiest little bellies possible, it’s important to make sure your tiny human is ready to enter the world of real food.
The experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) point to six months as the earliest age you want to start introducing babies to food. Prior to that age, they should be fed exclusively with breast milk or formula.
So how can you be sure if your little one is ready to start digging in?
Here are three key signs:
1. Your baby can hold up her neck and sit without support.
Babies who have developed these muscles can do more than just sit up in their high chair—it also means they can safely chew and swallow every bite.
2. Your baby no longer has the tongue-thrust reflex.
AKA, that thing where they push food out of their mouth with their tongue. That aforementioned chewing and swallowing requires a lot of coordination between the mouth, tongue, and digestive system. Fortunately, they develop in sync. Once the tongue and mouth know what to do, you can be more confident that their belly is ready too.
3. Your baby shows interest in food.
Is your baby staring down at your plate with major food envy? Does he watch the spoon and reach for food with his hands? Then he’s probably ready to start eating real food.
If you’re still not sure if your baby is ready for solids, check with her pediatrician.