Starting Solids: 5 Signs Your Baby is Ready for Solid Food

Starting solids can be tricky. Most babies start to eat when they’re around 6 months old. But how can you be sure that they’re ready? Find out in this post!

Most babies start to eat when they're around six months old. But how can you be sure that they're ready? Find out in this post!

As much as I loved breastfeeding my son Griffin, I was also very excited to get him started on his first solid foods! I had visions of him squealing in delight over homemade pears and squash or banana and avocado mash. Well, reality was a little different… but that’s another story for another day…

I knew six months was around the time that experts recommend starting babies on solid foods, but I wanted him to tell me when he was ready to start eating solids. And so he did!

(Wondering what to feed as a first food? Check here and here for some great ideas.)

Here’s how I knew my baby was ready for starting solids

Here are the 5 Signs Your Baby is Ready for Solid Food

1. Baby is not drooling as much

During the first three months of his life, Griffin was a drooling machine. Now at 6 months, he doesn’t do it as much. This shows me that he’s learned to swallow his salvia. And you know what that means? That means he will be able to swallow food, too.

2. Baby sits up without much assistance

The second thing is baby can sit up well without much assistance. This is really important for them anatomically, to be able to swallow their food well without having that hazard of choking. If baby can sit in a highchair, it means they will be positioned well for food swallowing and digestion.

3. Baby shows interest in food

When Mike and I would eat our morning smoothies, Griffin would be fascinated. In fact, he didn’t just stare at us when we ate in front of him, he burned holes through us with his hungry little eyes. He was so curious about what we were doing with our food.

4. Baby starts to imitate eating behaviors

Griffin started imitating some eating behaviors. He gummed, chewed, and smacked his lips—he was demonstrating very clearly that he was picking up on the eating behaviors we were modeling for him and that he was practicing for the real deal.

5. Baby doesn’t reject food when you try feeding him

The fifth and final thing is that when we finally did give him a little bit of avocado or banana, he embraced it. He swallowed it, he tasted it, and he gummed it, and he didn’t spit it out! Well, most of the time, anyway! But, overall, Griffin generally enjoyed tasting new foods. Sometimes, I had to “work it” to get him to swallow all the way, but he got there and seemed genuinely interested in the process.

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How about you?

That’s what’s working for us, but I know that every mama and every baby is different. For example, our friend started her baby at four months, because he was literally grabbing food from their plates. And another mama on our Facebook page said she waited until two years to start her baby on solid foods—I can’t even wrap my mind around that!

So tell me: When did you begin starting solids and how did you know s/he was ready? Share with us!

Genevieve Howland

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 130,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.


  1. Okay I revently started my 5 month old on solids. I am a first time mother and I was wondering how many times do you guys feed your baby do you do breakfast lunch and dinner and bottles in between or just breakfast bottles then dinner. I want to make sure I am feeding her enough or do i need to just do once a day or twice. She loves get food that’s for sure

  2. I just recently started feeding my son solids, at 5 months. He goes insane when we have food, he slams his hands down, he stares at us and he opens his mouth every single time I bring the food to my mouth, kinda like he thinks it’s going to him. He enjoys everything but I only do it sometimes, in the mean time I feed him pears, apple sauce and the pedi said it’s okay to give a bit of water so that’s what I do. He’s a happy baby and loves food! I think whenever you personally feel like your baby is ready and you see it, then do it.

  3. Is 6 months counted as 24 weeks, or is it the anniversary date six months from their birthdate?

    • I’m not sure but you want to go by signs of readiness more than the calendar.

  4. My baby boy is 4 months (about to be 5) and he’s HUGE (22lbs) and we’ve recently started letting him taste test foods but he likes them so much that I’m worried he’ll stop breastfeeding before I’m ready. Any tips? Is this actually something that happens?

    • A little taste here and there is fine but, remember “food before one is just for fun!”

  5. My baby is 6.5 mo and I’ve been trying to introduce new foods so he can transition to solids but still also nurse. Just about every time I give him solids(cooked carrots, peas, avocado, bananas) he gags and spits up what i think is too much. I would love some guidance and options on what to do! Is he not ready or what? Thanks!

    • Sounds like he’s not quite ready for solids yet. Give him a couple more months.

  6. I started by Little Paul on solids at 4 months. He was still drooling a ton but he was also trying to take food out of my hands and those of my mother and sister. In the same week, after each of them spent a day with him, my mother and sister both told me a similar tale and agreed that they thought it was time to start him on some solid food. So, I did. And he LOVES food now! He eats a lot of avocado, banana and sweet potatoes right now. I mix everything with breast milk to soften it. He’s done great and loves eating. He recently dropped down from eating 30 oz. of breast milk per day to about 25 oz. and is eating around 6 oz. of solid food. He continues to gain weight and sleeps anywhere from 10 to 12 hours per night, straight through.

    • Melanie! How is he sleeping 12 hours straight???? How!!!!i need that

    • Thank you so much for this. My baby has been staring intently at my food for a few weeks now and will be 4 months tomorrow. Today he was very unsatisfied, screaming for hours. He probably drank 10 ounces in 4 hours. Just angry and unsettled. I tried applesauce and I didn’t have to feed it to him. He was going after the spoon. He ate 6tsp of applesauce by himself and then an ounce of formula and started cooing. Now he’s sleeping deeply and contentedly.
      I think we need to remember that all babies are different and that when they’re ready they will let us know.

      • that sounds like my little. boy, only the day right before 6 months. he is 6 and a half months now, has dropped a feed but eats anywhere up to 10 ounces of food a day. if I dont offer solids quick enough, he gets mad and yells at me pushing away from my chest! makes us worry he will wean early. he also wants to try to drink from a cup on his own and tries taking his spoon. my first was much more laid back

        • oh, and if I put my plate or bowl where he can see it, he dives for it and starts scooting as fast as he can go to get to it

  7. Little one is 5 1/2 months and it was feeling like she was staring into our soul whenever we were eating and constantly reaching out for forks, finger food and cups of tea… So, we’ve just started solids. Not full on planned meals or anything, I’m still breastfeeding and we are just giving her a little taste of whatever we are eating at the time – she loves chewing on vegetable sticks while I’m preparing dinner, raw capsicum fingers are her preference so far, and she’s also gobbled up pureed bolognese sauce, chicken/veg, fish/potato, all sorts of food! She’s a machine! She was definitely ready.
    Not sure about the drooling – some days when her teeth are giving her grief she drools immensely soaking her clothes, yet she loves and swallows food fine. It may be a contributing factor to watch when gauging the introduction of solids, but perhaps not a reliable one. Each bubby is different though =)

  8. I haven’t started solids yet. My little one is 5 months old but he is very interested I foods especially now that he is learning to use his hands and grab. He’s starting to grab food off of my plate.

  9. I gave all my first babies food at 6 months but my recent baby is only 4 months and showing intrest in eating so he is on baby food I feed him only veggies but I still nurse him the same, my son was born in september and would lift head he was only 2 day’s old and started lifting head he had great control I couldn’t believe it, I got him a jumparoo since he was so ready for it and loves it at his 4 month check up doctor gave me the green light to start baby foods 🙂 they now even suggest giving baby peanut butter but ofcourse watered down make it very runny so he won’t have any allergies to nuts,

  10. With our first, she tastes a kiwi before 6 months but nothing else really. She was diving for our plates! At 6 months, we gave her a slice of very ripe avocado and she went after it. We didn’t do purees, just gave her plain veggies, fruits and grains for a while and then let her start eating meals with us. I took hers out before I salted it or put anything really spicy in…. We introduced spices a little at a time and she loved them. Taco meat was her favorite for a while! The only time I ever spoon fed her was when she needed some prunes and she hated me feeding her. Ended up freezing the pureed prunes into popsicles and she would feed them to herself.

    #2 is just now 5.5 months. I’ve let him lick an apple and a kiwi just to see his reactions, but he isn’t quite ready to eat yet. He has interest for sure, but is still very drooly and can’t sit up very well, even with some assistance. Soon though. I can’t wait! It’s so fun watching them learn about food tastes and textures.

    • I want to encourage all you moms to be careful with Kiwi it is one of the hidden allergens that people don’t know about. My dad was allergic to it, so I looked it up. I found that most people don’t expect it to be, but it can be one to cause vomiting. Just know that when you introduce it and think about family history with doctors as you make your plan.

  11. My baby is only 2 months but imitates us eating, follows food with her eyes and makes ah ah ah sounds to get it. I’ve put some to her lips and she chews and tries to get more but it’s a bit early according to texts to put actual inside her mouth. Might she be an early eater? Can tasting food harm her?

    • Yes it can!! Look up open guy syndrome. 6 months is the MINIMUM to feed solids.
      Kelly mom has a great article about why you should wait and the health implications if you don’t.

      • Sorry, meant to say open GUT syndrome lol!

      • My Pediatrician said it was ok to give them food as of 4 months if you feel your baby will be ok with it ( no allergies, strong immune system) I’ve started both my kids as of 4 months, introducing puréed veggies and they both loved it with no issues. In fact a few of my friends were also told the same thing and started at 4/5 and had successful transitions.
        Just thought to share.

        • The later the better! Pediatricians know shockingly little about nutrition. Baby cereals are terrible for babies. Read about baby led weaning.

  12. My first I started at six months because “it was the thing to do”. She had some tummy trouble and adjusting to “real” food. My second I waited till 7/8 months. She had all sorts of tummy issues. 🙁 My third I waited till closer to 10 months. Very little tummy trouble. Yay!! The next two I waited till 11 months and had no tummy trouble. Wahoo!!!! My sixth is 11 months and we tried solids but had he tummy trouble right away so we stopped and will try again. I’m so thankful for our amazing GOD who created breastmilk to have everything Baby needs. I’m planning on doing the same with our seventh, due in November, but I’m flexible. 🙂

    • What are the tummy problems?? How did you know?
      Did any sleep thru the night being older but feeding only on milk?

    • I love this! I am also hoping to wait until 10/11 months to introduce solids! A few people think I’m crazy for this, but I’ve also heard it is a great thing to do to avoid tummy issues.

  13. I started my oldest at 4 months. Did all jarred baby food. She will be 10 in June and some what picky. Baby #2 was closer to 6 months and we ended up just a jew jarred foods but gave him our food blended up. Baby #3, she is now almost 7.5 months and we have been doing about the same as #2. I guess what is called “baby led weaning”. We feed her our food, cut up to pieces. She has been chewing her food since she started eating. Even puree foods she chews. She isn’t fond of the sippy cup, but loves her breastmilk (either from bottle or breast). She is quite the chunker!

  14. I was trying to go by the books and start my son on solids at 6 months.Turns out Noah didn’t write the books and he didn’t want to follow them. Just before five months he started screaming at me to share whatever I was eating and pulling what ever place setting towards him. At 5 months I started asking Mamas before me what to do and they all insisted that he was ready. So at 5 months I gave him rice cereal and he was so excited until he realized that there was bigger and better food out there. Thus began the journey of feeding an infant with a teenagers appetite :).

    • Love it, same experience her

    • My baby girl is now 5 months,you mean it is ok to start giving her solid foods?

  15. We started cereal at 2 months because of acid reflux was supposed to be in a bottle but that was just frustrating everyone. She did great. She turns four months this week and we’ve started adding some banana to her cereal. (I started vegetables with my first but with some diaper issues we did this because of the BRAT diet). SHE LOVES IT! She is much more interested in the food then the bottle. For the last month she’s been mimicking what we eat and trying to get my fork. She attacks the spoon if you are not fast enough. Looking to start some veggies this week!

    • Hi Amanda
      My daughter just turned 3 months and has reflux as well , she vomits all the time
      What cereals did u start first and were u feeding via bottle or with spoon?
      Thank u

      • Our 3 month old also has reflux issues. What has seemed to help with the spit ups is formula with rice starch in it. If you havent tried, see if it works.

      • I have had my son on cereal since 4 months. He spits up a lot and he is already 20lbs. He isn’t heavy just big. The cereal I started on was Rice only. My sister made the mistake of using oatmeal on one of her kids. They had really bad digestive issues. That might just be a person experience. But rice is easier to digest from what I hear. Also there is formula that has rice starch.

  16. Baby #1 we tried rice cereal at months exactly. He wasn’t a huge fan, the tongue thrust reflex was still pretty strong, and his digestive system reacted poorly so we waited a few more months to try again.

    Baby #2 I was more aware of the readiness signs and she didn’t really show any until 7-8 months so we started BLW and that went great.

    Baby #3 I was going to wait until at least 6 months (which is in 3 days) because of the new allergy info but finally caved at about 5.5 months. He’d been crawling for a month already, had 2 teeth, and he’s huge (almost 18 lbs at 4 months). He was also constantly eating non-food items (like paper) and grabbing everything we were trying to eat. He’s really good at getting food into his own mouth but I do feed him by hand a fair amount because he starts wailing if you’re eating something and not sharing with him. I do try to limit anything with gluten because my husband and oldest son are gluten intolerant but other than that I just make sure I know where the benadryl is in case he has a reaction.

    • I have a big baby too, he’s 22lbs at 4momths and has been strictly breastfeed except letting him taste a few foods here and there

  17. With my kids we have established routines and sleep patterns. When that sleep pattern is interrupted by waking hungry then that was an indication that my baby was in need of more calories.

  18. I plan on waiting until my daughter is 6mo before starting solids, however I was wondering if you had any idea why her doctor was so gung ho about her starting them at 4mo. She is EBF and growing just fine! He said it would help her sleep though the night, even though I’m not concerned about that, and everyone I’ve talked to has said that is nonsense anyway… Of course this is the same doctor that told me to let her CIO at 2mo so obviously we have different parenting styles.

    • My midwife told me that there is a common misconception that breastfed babies are hungry for solid food at 4 months, she said that what’s actually happening is a 4 month growth & development spurt which makes them extra hungry and fussy and less likely to sleep through the night (even if they’ve been good sleepers until that point). She said it’s a matter of giving extra breastfeeds to boost supply and riding it out until they’re more settled. She said many mothers find this phase a shock because it comes right after babies finally seem settled into a good routine.

      • This just happened to us! Great sleep from month 1-4 & then BAM! 6 wks of downhill night routines. Things seem to be turning around as we approach 6 months, but I can’t get him to stay asleep in the crib for very long still.

      • We just went through this as well. At four months the “easiest baby in the world” became a fussy, angry, inconsolable insomniac nightmare. I read about the four month sleep regression and it completely explained what we were experiencing. The nap every two hours, eat every three hours, self-imposed regimen he’d early settled into fell apart. Suddenly every nap and bedtime was a battle fought with a half sleep shrieking tantrum. About two weeks later, right as we’d resigned ourselves to the fact that this was our son now, he was back to his sweet, happy former self. I was surprised our doctor hadn’t told us about that stage. For our boy it was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

  19. I was reading the comments.. and was wondering if Knox Gelatin is good besides Great Lakes Gelatin. And can you get the Great Lakes Gelatin in stores? Thank you.

  20. I would love some thoughts and feedback . I am a proud first mommy of a five month old girl and she has been showing signs that she is ready for solids for a few weeks now. She has been grabbing for food and mimicking chewing. She isn’t sitting up though and therefore I am hesitant to start her on solids. I ideally want to wait until she is six months anyways, but I just wonder if she knows herself better than I and she’s saying she’s ready.

    • Hi Shay! I started my little girl on solids at 5 1/2 months because she was so ready and hungry! She’s doing great, I’d say if you’re little one seems ready you could try, you can always stop. But ,if she seems to be doing fine on just milk, then I’d wait a bit. Just my opinions though 🙂

  21. hi Genevieve!

    Thank you for entertaining my question…I’m a scientist by education so
    often I become way too analytical. I’m just trying to connect all the dots
    with the eating solids , teething, drooling…I appreciate your videos & great
    info. On another topic, I saw that you take gelatin & I’m trying to figure
    out what it is about Great Lakes Gelatin that you like…ie it’s bovine source…wouldn’t you want an organic source? or is there something about Great Lakes I’m not aware of? Thanks Again

    • Hi hon,

      Yes, Great Lakes Gelatin comes from grass-fed cows so I feel very good about consuming it. Of course, bone broth is even better to make because it has all the minerals but we live in this crazy world and don’t always have the time.

  22. Hi! Mama Natural!

    I love your blog…I’m a first time mom of a 5 month old son! yippie! just curious about the drooling issue…did Griffin drool when he was teething or was he able to manage the drool by swallowing then too? My son is drooling big time and teething AND seems very interested in food…he stops everything to watch me eat. I’ve always said I wouldn’t introduce solid foods until 10-12 months (and I breastfeed) but your blog is making me rethink that…I realize he’s not ready just yet…but is giving the signs of mimicking eating…I’m just really concerned about the drooling and his ability to swallow. So, my bottom-line question is…did Griffin drool when he was teething…or was he able to mange the saliva at that point? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Shera!

      Hmmmm…. Griffin was drooling but he never was a HUGE drooler. Don’t know if this helps. I’d just try really small quantities and watch him closely next month. Or, you could also run by your doctor.

      Hope this helps!

      • If he is getting teeth he is ready… teeth are for eating. They drool more when they teeth because they are chewing on things tryin to push rhose teeth through. At least give him a taste or two and see if he wants it.

  23. Griffin is so handsome! I love the sound of his laughter and the look on his face when he’s tasting that banana!

  24. My first child started grabbing for food at 3 months, and while my husband and I didn’t feed her I had a couple relatives who let her taste things… We did start feeding her solids at around 5 months; I had planned to wait until 6 months but she was SO excited about it! She did great with solids. My other two weren’t as excited about it, so we held off until some time between 6 and 7 months. My first child is now the least fussy eater (she’ll eat anything!), while she was super fussy about baby food. The other two ate all the baby food, no problem, but they are fussy about their solid food now!

    • Interesting! Sounds like your first daughter was a natural born foodie and didn’t like bland old baby food! I don’t blame her :). Although, I do like the way banana and avocado mash tastes. LOL!

      I’m really intrigued by the idea of baby-led weaning. It seems “unnatural” to be trying to get Griffin to eat something he’s so luke warm on. But, he does need to “learn” how to eat so I’m hoping that he’ll warm up to the idea.

      • Hi! Genevieve!
        My baby is 7 months and is loving solids but im having a really hard time feeding him milk! He just want food. He is having between 23 to 26oz of milk a day and is a real struggle! Im just want to make sure that is enough?? He is having 3 meals a day! Thank you

  25. Sharing comments from my Facebook Page.

    Danielle Best
    He is soooo big. I cant believe it, and he is so unbelievably adorable. Good job Mom and Dad.

    Brittany Berghammer
    ‎2yrs?!?!?! what seriously?? how did they keep food away from the child? I do not understand how that worked….or why you would wait that long… I just dont understand!

    Cassaundra Hernandez
    I started my son on baby cereal at three weeks he ate solid foods at 2 months. He just wasn’t getting satisfied with just milk. I don’t see how people can wait so long to give their baby solid food.

    Brittany Berghammer
    and many people cant see giving babies solids at such an early age… there will always be total opposite ends of the spectrum on anything especially parenting. We waited till they were ready and did baby led solids it worked out for us. I still wanna know how to keep foods away from a child till they are 2!!!

    Dawn Acero
    I agree with all five of your great suggestions. Plus, a mix of banana and avocado is actually a great adult snack too.

    Jennifer Centola
    I started offering it at 6 months, but (as you know we did BLW) she didn’t really take anything and eat until around 8 months.

    Sarena Parker
    I started rice cereal with breast milk at 5 and a half months, she seemed ready and was a little underweight so I thought it would help. I have a hard time thinking about starting it any sooner than that. Their digestive systems are not ready for solids so early!

    Karine Vaillancourt
    My son started grabbing things off my plate or protesting whenever I ate to try some. It was fairly obvious to me. He was about 7 months old.

    Laurel Kimmel
    With my first i started around 10 months. She wasn’t really interested. With my second i started a little before 12 months, although she wanted food as early as 4 or five months. As far as reasons, its pretty simple: breastmilk is healthiest. Even the CDC recommends nothing but breastmilk until after 6 months.
    However, If I was using formua, I’d probably have started them as early as they acted interested, or earlier…

    Kadie Cox Johnson
    My other 2 I waited until they were 6 or 7 months looking for clues they were ready. But this one was ready by 3 months and I still held her off for one more month because I just couldn’t start her then it was just too young. But she was doing the cues like grabbing our food and she was only happy (while we were eating) if I gave her a spoon to mimic us with. Also she was mimicking the way chewing and drinking motion… The final cue was I gave her some milk from my cup (I drink goats milk) and she drank like a pro… it was time!

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