For Baby

The exciting stuff: moving on to solids, is my baby ready?

Until they're around six months old, your baby will get most of the nourishment they need from milk. Babies will be ready for solids at some time between four and six months, but make sure you don’t introduce foods too early (before four months) because their digestive system isn’t ready.

Moving On To Solids

Every baby is different so the right time to move onto solids will vary. It’s best not to leave introducing solids much later than six months, as your baby could miss out on some very important nutrients they need for healthy growth. You should also seek advice if your baby was born prematurely as their timeline will be different.

Here are some of the signs your baby is ready for solids:

Can I have some of yours? - they’ll start showing an interest in what you’re eating, leaning forward or even reaching out for the food on your plate.

Milk isn’t enough - you’ll notice they’re not satisfied with milk. If they’re still hungry and crying after a full milk feed that might be a sign. They might also demand more at each feed, or start to have really frequent feeds. If your baby is showing these signs before 4 months, it is too early to introduce solids so baby may need more frequent or larger milk feeds.

Waking at night – they start waking up hungry during the night when they used to sleep right the way through. 

Open wide – they’ll often put toys or their hands up to their mouths. They’ll also open their mouths easily if you put a spoon up to their lips.

Bigger and stronger – your baby can hold their head up well and they’re roughly double their birth weight.

Extrusion reflex disappears - this is when the tongue no longer protrudes from the mouth so baby can take food from a spoon.

Remember, all babies are different, and will progress at their own pace. Don’t worry if your baby decides to do things a little differently.

If your baby is showing these signs before 4 months, talk to your health professional. They won’t be ready for food yet, but may need more milk.

Comment 12

Have your say...

Rachel's Comment

As a first time mum I find all of these tips so helpful! Thank you!

Gemma's Comment

My baby has all the signs but I'm holding out until 4months. Im having to feed 3-4 times a night now when I only use to feed once a night.
He's a great power feeder though we we aren't up for long

Reply from The ForBaby Team

Hi Gemma, Although most babies are ready for solids around 6 months, some babies will be ready earlier. However in saying this, babies aren’t ready for solids before 4 months because their digestive system isn’t mature enough to cope with foods other than breast milk or formula. My suggestion is to hold off solids until at least 4 months- then from 4 months onwards check the signs your baby may be ready for food.

Carah's Comment

I feel like my baby is showing all these signs. but he'll only be four months old in two weeks and I hve been told to wait until six months.

Reply from The ForBaby Team

Hi Carah – Some babies are ready for solids earlier than six months, but don’t rush into. Certainly don’t introduce solids before 4 months. If you’re unsure about what to do perhaps give our health professionals on our toll free careline a call 0800 55 66 66.

Susan's Comment

hey I have a 2 nearly 3 month old who I talked to my doc about and told me that I can give her baby rice as she ant to drink 250ml 8-10 times a day and I was not getting any sleep as I started 1 week ago 2day within 3 days she was sleeping 6 hours a night as off last night she sleep 9 hours I rely think It all deepens on the baby

Reply from The ForBaby Team

Hi Susan, Current guidelines recommend starting solids around six months and not usually before 4 months, unless advised by a health professional. All babies are individuals and what works for one baby might not work for another. I am glad things are working well for you. For further information please call our toll free number 0800 55 66 66.

Ploieon's Comment

Ummm...my 3 months old daughter has all these signs, before she was only drink 3 to 4 bottles a day but now 6 to 10 she's not even sleep on day time like used to be, but i hold everything until 4 months.

Reply from The ForBaby Team

Hi Ploieon, Thanks for your message. It sounds like your baby may be going through a growth spurt, that’s why she’s demanding more milk.
You are doing the right thing holding off giving her solids. Three months is too early for food, and you’re best to wait until she is at least 4 months old, and then watch for the signs she may be ready.
For now if she seems hungry she needs more milk.

Deborah's Comment

My baby has just turned 4 months. The past few nights I have been up breastfeeding feeding him up to 7 times between 10pm - 8pm! He used to sleep from 10.30 till 6.He loves watching us eat, and pulls objects to his mouth to suck on or bite. We are starting the baby rice today for sure! What's the best time to feed him?

Reply from The ForBaby Team

Hi Deborah, Most babies are ready for solids at around six months, but some a little earlier (it’s not safe to start before 4 months). In terms of the time of the day to feed, it doesn’t really matter, just pick a time of day that suits you and baby and feed him at around that time each day. Often Mums/Dads will pick a midday meal as the first meal. This means if baby is unsettled after solids for the first time, or is going to react to a new food, it’s a little easier to deal with in the afternoon than the middle of the night.

Emily's Comment

Hello, my son is 4 months now & I plan not to give him solid until 6 months, no any sign yet. I breastfeed him exclusively since birth so he is not taking any water so far. My question is once we start solid how much water does he need to take on a daily basis, tks!

Reply from The ForBaby Team

Hi Emily, Remember when you start solids, milk feeds come first, so the bulk of their fluid requirements will still come from breast milk or infant formula. As long as you offer water regularly (after meals – so as not to fill them up before solids), and they continue to have plenty of wet nappies and their bowel motions continue to be soft and easy to pass then you are getting enough fluids into them. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with our health professionals on our toll free number 0800 55 66 66 if you have any more questions.

Emily's Comment

Hi there can you please explain to me why it is unsafe to give babies under 4 months solids?

Reply from The for Baby Team

Hi Emily,
Babies are usually ready for solids around 6 months but not before 4 months.
It's not recommended to introduce solids before 4 months because an infant's digestive system is still immature, and eating solids too early may increase the likelihood of food allergies.
Also, young infants may not have developed the ability to move food to the back of their mouth and swallow it safely if they are given solids too early.
If you'd like more information please call the Careline on 0800 55 66 66
Thanks!

Sarah's Comment

My daughter is 5 months old. she shows all the signs and where she used to sleep through the night she's now waking hungry every 1.5 to 2 hours and feeding heaps. Tried to give her baby rice and she didn't want to know about it. Wouldn't open her mouth and turns her head away. We think it might be too soon for her to move onto solids but she did have bad experience with rotovirus vaccine recently that might have put her off oral.

Reply from The ForBaby team

Hi Sarah,

There are several signs you can look for which can show your daughter is ready for foods such as; she is holding her head up well, is interested in watching you eat, still seems hungry after a milk feed and opens her mouth when food/ spoon approaches. Every baby is different and some will be ready for solids earlier than others. We have some helpful tips and ideas about introducing solids in our ‘baby feeding guide’ under the printables section (http://www.forbaby.co.nz/All-Printables).

For more advice, please feel free to call the Forbaby Careline to speak to our health professionals on 0800 55 66 66.

Thanks!
The ForBaby team

Poorni 's Comment

Hi there,
I am going to start solids for my 04 month old since he started showing the signs. But unfortunately the rice cereal is out of stock in our local super market. What is the recommended watties product (alternate to rice cereal) I can start giving my baby?

Reply from The ForBaby team

Hi Poomi,

Exciting times your wee boy is showing the signs of being ready to start solids! We’re currently working to get our rice cereals back on supermarket shelves, but in the meantime there are many other options which are suitable as first foods for your baby. Here is a link to our Guide to Baby Feeding which lists suitable foods to start with. In the beginning start by offering a small amount of food after a milk feed, just ½ - 2 teaspoons, offering one new food every 2-4 days. Once a new food is introduced you can mix it with other foods you baby has already tried. Our range of Wattie’s foods suitable for this age have a blue label and are labelled ‘Stage 1, 4-6 +month’ and  can be found here.

We hope this helps, but if you would like to have a chat with one of our Dietitians you can call our Careline on 0800 222 936.

Thanks, The ForBaby Team.

pinar's Comment

Hi,

I have a 5 month old baby and I will give my baby solid food around 6 months. But I have a question about sitting with support. If my baby can't sit without support around 6 or 7 month is it ok to feed her on her swing? Because the highchair I bought says I can't use it until my baby can sit without support. So I was thinking to use our swing or buy a bumbo seat. But I don't want to effect her back development in a bad way so I was wondering if swing is ok or do you have any suggestion?

Reply from The ForBaby team.

Hi Pinar,

Thanks for your question, exciting times ahead with your wee girl starting solids! There are several signs to look out for prior to starting solids, such as being able to support her own head, she will need good head and neck control and should be able to sit up with support. The other key signs are that they are interested in watching you eat, open their mouth when food approaches, and seems hungry after a milk feed.

To feed baby, place her in a supportive highchair, however you have mentioned that your highchair is not suitable and can’t be used until she can sit without support. Alternatively you could try sitting her on your lap while feeding which can work quite well.

Please feel free to give us a call to have a chat further with one of our Dietitians on 0800 55 66 66.

Thanks,
The ForBaby team.

Simone's Comment

Hi I have just started my LO on solids and I am wondering when I give it more often as I am currently only giving at lunch time and just a few tea spoons

Reply from The ForBaby Team

Hi Simone,

It’s an exciting milestone when your wee one starts eating solids! At the beginning it is recommended to offer just small amounts (1/2 – 2 tsp) once a day, slowly increasing the amount and at different meal times. To better understand how long you have been feeding your baby and to give you further guidance, please feel free to call our Careline on 0800 55 66 66 to speak with one of our Dietitians. In the meantime we have a useful guide to baby feeding if you haven’t come across already which can be found at https://www.forbaby.co.nz/Stage-1/Baby-Nutrition-and-Health/Guide-to-Baby-Feeding. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Thanks,
The ForBaby Team

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