Transitioning your child from liquid to solids – what are the signs of readiness?

Your child is nearing six months old and it’s about time to start solids! Hooray! We know the first few months were exhausting, but as your child enters the wonderful world of solids, it’s very exciting and can be fun for baby and mom or dad! This may seem like a scary process and you may start to ask yourself, ‘how do I teach my child to chew?’ or ‘how do I know they’re ready?’ Well, the occupational therapists at Kids Therapy Center in Advanced Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy are here to help! Here are the signs to look for when getting ready to transition your child from liquids to solids.

Sitting well when supported

Your baby needs to be able to sit upright in an infant feeding seat or highchair to swallow well. Consider investing in a highchair with foot support to help promote good posture while eating. Additionally, make sure to have your child strapped in for safety. High chairs can be expensive, but they don’t have to be! Try looking on Facebook Marketplace for one second hand or using a travel chair. Not only will it save you a few dollars, but it can save you space! 

Losing the “extrusion reflex” 

The extrusion or “tongue-thrust” reflex helps protect babies from choking or aspirating food and other foreign objects. This tongue thrust also helps them to latch onto a nipple when bottle or breast feeding. You can see this reflex in action when their tongue is touched or depressed in any way by a solid and semisolid object, like a spoon. In response, a baby’s tongue will thrust out of their mouth to prevent anything but a nipple from a breast or bottle from coming through. In typical development this reflex typically starts to fade around 6 months and is completely gone by 18 months.

Has doubled their birth weight and weighs at least 13 pounds

Babies typically double their birth weight between 4-6 months old. 

Is around 6 months old.

Over the years, there have been many different ‘ideal times’ for starting solids. It’s considered that 6 months old is around the appropriate time for a child to begin the transition from liquids to solids, when they meet all signs of readiness.

They are curious about food 

Is your baby lunging forward when you take  a bit over their head or is really watching you while you eat? This is a great sign! Sometimes, they may even open their mouth if you bring it close to them, trying to take a bite! Say goodbye to the days where you didn’t have to share your food!

Now that you’ve learned the signs of readiness for transitioning from liquids to solids, you are ready to get started! We highly recommend taking an infant CPR course and learning how to help your child if they choke. It’s important to discern the difference between choking and gagging (which is very normal for new eaters!). If you are struggling with the introduction of solids or your child is not very receptive and has a continued tongue thrust for several months, contact our feeding therapists today for a consultation. Just remember, your child will not be drinking from a bottle forever! Let’s take it one day at a time, together.

To reach our office, contact 973-616-4555 or schedule your appointment here