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  • December 15, 2021

    Expanding your baby’s diet is part of helping them grow. But how do you know when it’s time to bring new foods to the table? There are some guidelines you can follow to help your baby start solid foods at the right time. Find out what age you should move your child from soft to hard foods with this guide.

    How Old Should Your Baby Be?

    No one can tell you the precise age when your baby is ready to try solid foods, but you can follow a few rules of thumb. Babies can usually start their first solid foods at around four to six months. This is when infants lose the tongue-thrust reflex that causes them to spit up most foods. At this age, you can introduce soft foods like purees.

    After a few weeks of purees and other liquid foods, you can begin to introduce foods with more texture. As your baby adjusts to eating rather than drinking their meals, you can try mashed fruits and veggies and other easy-to-eat foods.

    Six to eight months is a good time to try more diverse solid foods. You can introduce scrambled eggs, strips of plain meats or cheeses, and other soft fruits or veggies.

    Signs It’s Time for Solids

    Your baby will show signs that they’re ready to start trying solid foods. They should be able to sit up on their own first. Additionally, babies eager to start trying new foods will pay more attention to your food when you eat.

    When your baby is ready to move on from purees, they’ll be able to support their own head and neck. They’ll also be able to sit up in a high chair without assistance. This upper body control is essential for safe eating.

    Signs You Should Slow Down

    Some parents worry about rushing their baby and starting solid foods too soon. Don’t fret too much—your little one will let you know if the time isn’t quite right. Babies have reflexes that will cause them to gag or cough if they aren’t ready for solid foods. Your child might also refuse solid foods outright. If this happens, be patient and stick to mashes or purees that are easier for your child to eat.

    Extra Tools for Solid Food Success

    In addition to learning what age you should move your child from soft to hard foods, it’s important to have the right tools for success. Cooking utensils like mashers, blenders, or other food processors can help you make a safe and nutritious meal for your little one. You can also make mealtime more fun—and less messy—with the right baby dishes and utensils. Soft, silicone-tipped spoons are gentle on baby’s mouths, while durable plates and bowls with suction-cup bases can prevent flipped dishes and other mealtime messes.

    With the right tools, reliable knowledge, and patience, you and your child will learn and grow together as you safely explore new foods, new skills, and new ways to make every mealtime precious.

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