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.
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.