- * Can hold his head up- he needs to be able to maintain a steady, upright position to take his first few bites.
- * Sits well when unsupported- you might have to start the weaning process with your baby on your lap. When he can sit up by himself, you can pull up a highchair at the dinner table.
- * Makes chewing motions- can he move food to the back of his mouth and swallow properly? As he learns to swallow you’ll notice that he’ll dribble less.
- * Is at a healthy weight- most babies are ready to start weaning onto solids when they’ve doubled their birth weight. Normally, this happens before or around 6th months.
- * Is eyeing up what you’re eating for dinner- does your baby seem curious about what you’re eating? You may notice him reaching out to try the food on your plate.
However, even when you see signs that your baby is ready to start on his first solids it is best to wait until he is 6 months in order to protect his health. Starting at 6 months reduces the chance that he will develop an allergy or get an infection because at this age his immune system is stronger. It’s especially important not to start your baby on solids if you have a family history of allergies or coeliac disease which is triggered by gluten in grains.
If you feel your baby needs to start solids before six months, consider the Department of Health guidelines that state babies should not have solid foods, at the earliest, before the end of their fourth month (17 weeks).