When Should an Infant Advance to Solid Foods

The transition to solid foods (Table 12.1) should begin when the infant is ready, not necessarily when the parent is ready. An infant will let you know through physical signs when they are prepared for solid foods. One of these signs is a relaxation of the gag reflex. The gag reflex propels undesirable items forward and out of the mouth. This reflex is strongest in infants and is still maintained to some degree throughout our life. Relaxation of the gag reflex allows an infant to swallow foods of a more solid consistency, such as cereals and purees. The ability of infants to form their mouths around spoons is another sign that solid foods are becoming more appropriate.

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