As babies get older, they start to need solid food so they get enough iron and other essential nutrients for growth and development. For about the first six months of life, babies use iron stored in their bodies from when they were in the womb. They also get some iron from breastmilk an infant formula. But babies’ iron stores go down as they grow. And by around six months, they can’t get the iron they need from breastmilk or infant formula alone.
Introducing solids is also important for helping babies learn to eat, giving them experience of new tastes and textures from a range of foods. It develops their teeth and jaws, and it builds other skills that they’ll need later for language development.
Signs your baby is ready for solids include when your baby:
- has good head and neck control and can sit upright when supported
- shows an interest in food – for example, by looking at what’s on your plate
- reaches out for your food
- opens their mouth when you offer them food on a spoon.
Most babies start to show these signs by around six months, but the signs happen at different times for different babies. It’s not recommended to introduce solids before four months.
Your baby is also more likely to try solids after a feed of breastmilk or formula. This is because when babies are really hungry, they just want the breastmilk or formula that they know satisfies their hunger. They’ll still have space in their tummies for new foods after they’ve had a feed of breastmilk or formula.
As time passes, you’ll learn when your baby is hungry or full, not interested or tired.
Signs of hunger include your baby:
- getting excited when they see you getting their food ready
- leaning towards you while they’re sitting in the highchair
- opening their mouth as you’re about to feed them.
Signs your baby is no longer interested include:
- turning their head away
- losing interest or getting distracted
- pushing the spoon away
- clamping their mouth shut
Hope the article is helpful to you.