This is one question that bothers most parents; they are unable to figure out when to stop breastfeeding their baby and when to introduce solids into their diet.
However, while this can be an overwhelming experience for parents, it need not be this difficult. You can make it easier by following medical advice and looking out for signs that your baby is ready for solids.
What do experts recommend?
Just like we discussed above, no two children are alike. They all learn things at their own pace; however, from a medical point of view, the right time to introduce solids into your baby’s diet is when their digestive tract has matured and they have developed a readiness for solids.
Experts suggest that, ideally, a baby is developmentally ready for solids between the age of 6 to 8 months. Starting with solids at this age will help avoid the risk of developing any kind of illness due to the early introduction of solid foods.
However, understanding their readiness for solids is a different game altogether. There are no set metrics and your only option is to look for signs.
Signs That Your Baby is Ready for Solids
If you see one or more of these signs in your baby, he or she is probably ready for solids –
- One of the first signs is that your baby can sit up well and support themselves. You don’t need to provide any additional support while sitting, for example, holding up their back. If they can sit without support, it is a good first sign that they are ready for solid foods.
- Another sign is that your baby no longer pushes food out of his or her mouth. You can try this by putting a very small piece of solid food in their mouth and if their tongue doesn’t automatically, as a reflex, thrust it out of their mouth, they might be ready to start eating solids.
- Another sign to look out for is your baby’s own willingness to eat solid foods. This is best seen when babies try to reach out and grab food from their plate or try to pick up something and put it in their mouth. This is also a good sign that they are developmentally ready to start eating solids.
- Additionally, babies also show signs such as a willingness to chew. You can see this through various instances, for example, they might be trying to chew on a toy or make chewing movements with nothing in their mouth.
Is increased breastfeeding a sign of readiness for solids?
Well, the short answer is – yes and no.
Many parents have found that one of the signs of being ready for solids is that the baby starts to demand a longer breastfeeding time. However, while this is true for many children, it is not true for everyone; especially, because at this age (of 6 months or so), there are many developmental changes in a baby including teething and, even, a spurt in growth; and, increased breastfeeding can be due to such developments as well.
So, it can be a little confusing for parents to understand why the baby is increasingly demanding breastmilk. You will need to pay attention and note the other signs as well.
Hence, to properly assess your baby’s readiness for solids, you should try to look for almost all the signs of readiness for solids.