Preparing Baby for Solids

Every baby is just a little different as to when exactly they will be ready for solids. There is really nothing that can be done to quicken the process, because it requires the proper physical and cognitive development, and that will come only with time. There are some things you can do, however, to set the stage for your baby’s transition into the world of solid baby foods.

Bring Baby to the Table

Letting your baby join the family at the table for meals has many benefits. It will make your baby feel like part of the family, as well as allowing older siblings to feel that the baby is becoming a more active participant in family life. It will also give your baby an opportunity to observe and take in everything that is going on at the table.

Babies learn a lot by watching and imitating. Giving your baby the chance to watch how the older members of the family use utensils, chew, and swallow their food will give baby his first glimpse into what eating is, and how it is done. Simply pull baby’s high chair up to the table; or, if you really want him to feel a part of things, choose the type of high chair that straps on to a regular chair. Since baby isn’t eating yet, the tray won’t be necessary, which will allow him to be pulled even closer to the action.

Having baby at the table will give you an opportunity to watch for all of the signs of readiness for solids. You can observe how well he sits in his high chair, how stable his head is, and how much interest he shows in the process of eating. One of the important signs of readiness is when baby reaches for your food, and being at the table will allow him to display this sign and allow you to see it.

Give Baby a Spoon

Although the ability to hold a spoon doesn’t mean your baby is ready for solids – it will be a long time yet before she can feed herself in any real way – letting her hold a spoon and play with it will familiarize her with it. The opportunity to play with a spoon and also watch others at the table eating with one will help baby to make the connection. Give her a baby spoon that you plan to use when you do start solids, so she won’t be surprised by the appearance of something new and unfamiliar when the day comes.

Watch your baby for signs of imitating your eating behaviors. When she starts to bring the spoon to her mouth as though she is eating, this is a sign she might be getting ready to give solids a try. Don’t confuse this gesture with simply chewing on the spoon though! Especially if your baby is teething, the spoon will be a tempting object to chew on, and this doesn’t necessarily indicate readiness to start solids.

The AAP recommends starting solids at around 6 months old, but your baby may not yet be ready. Give her time to develop all of the physical skills needed to start eating new foods, and don’t push if baby isn’t ready. Instead, just introduce her to the idea of eating solids, and move on when she shows all the signs of being ready.

Leave a Reply