Understanding Your Baby’s Feeding Signals: From 6-12 months

Ah, the six-month mark! A new milestone, where your little one has, or is nearing, the exciting (and sometimes messy) adventure of solids! The 6–12-month period is filled with new tastes and textures, but amidst the veggie shapes and mashed bananas, you might find yourself asking, “Is my bub eating enough?”

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Understanding your little one’s hunger and fullness cues can feel like a puzzling task. But fear not, I’m here to assist you with the knowledge and confidence to understand your little one’s signals.


First things first…

  • Solid Start: By around  six months, most babies are ready to explore solid foods. They need additional nutrients, like iron, that they cannot get from formula or breastmilk alone.

  • Milk Remains Essential: Even with solids, breastmilk or formula remains bubs primary nutrition source until about 12 months. Between 9 to 12
    months, most littlies develop the ability to prioritise foods over milk.

  • Solid Signs: Before starting solids, check for - good head control, sitting with support, mealtime interest, opening mouth for food, and reaching out for it.
  • Texture Talk: Begin with smooth or finely mashed  textures, progressing over the following months to soft minced and chopped foods. By 12 months, most bubs should be eating foods similar to the rest of the family, albeit with minor alterations.
  • Priority Foods: Ensure iron-rich foods like infant cereals, legumes, and tofu make a regular appearance. To assist with absorption, pair them with vitamin C buddies like mashed pumpkin, broccoli, kiwi and mango.

  • Patience not Perfection: Like anything new, solids take practice. Don't stress exact amounts. Your baby may reject a new food – that’s normal! Persistence pays off, so keep offering variety and embrace the inevitable mess (it's all part of the fun!).

  • Trust your bub: The Division of Responsibility in Feeding concept defines the roles of both parents and children in the feeding process. Parents are responsible for determining what, when, and where a child is fed, whereas the child decides how much and whether to eat. This approach respects a child's innate feeding ability, fostering trust in us as patents to observe and respect our little one’s hunger and fullness cues.  

So, what are these hunger and fullness cues we're talking about?

6-7 Months:

  • Hungry: Fussiness, fidgeting, reaching for food, open-mouth chomps, and lip smacking are all clear signs for one more bite
  • Full: Turning away, sealed lips, pushing food away or spitting it out, playing with food and sleepy yawns tell you meal time is over

8-12 Months:

  • Hungry: They point to their highchair, get excited at mealtimes, eagerly reaching for food, putting fingers in mouth with fussiness – bring on the food!
  • Full: Signalling ‘no’ verbally or via head shakes, turning away, pushing food or feeding hand away, easily distracted by surroundings, attempts to remove bib or escape from the highchair; it’s likely your little one’s tummy is satisfied.

And remember…

  • It's a learning process. Don't be discouraged if your baby spits out the first spoonful (or ten!). It takes time for them to get used to new textures and flavours. Keep offering variety and be patient.
  • Trust your instincts. You know your baby best. If you have concerns about their growth or feeding, always consult your paediatrician or healthcare team.
  • Keep it fun and positive! Mealtimes should be a joyful experience for you and your little one. Focus on family meal times, make it playful, let them explore their food, and avoid forcing them to eat more than they want.

So, relax! Embrace the mess, enjoy the smiles, and celebrate every bite, no matter how big or small. Your baby is exploring a whole new world, and you're right there alongside them!

P.S. Stay tuned for a detailed blog post on The Division of Responsibility in Feeding—it’s a topic worth exploring further!

For personalised nutrition and supplementation support, you can find me here at: www.plantbasedfamilynutrition.com or contact me via email at plantbasedfamilynutrition@gmail.com


For personalised nutrition and supplementation support, you can find me here at: www.plantbasedfamilynutrition.com or contact me via email at plantbasedfamilynutrition@gmail.com

About the Author: Monica Rundle, is an Accredited Practising Dietitian, and founder of Plant Based Family Nutrition, an online nutrition clinic dedicated to helping families make small, sustainable dietary changes that can make a big difference to their overall health and that of the environment. 

Disclaimer: This article is for information and educational purposes only. The information provided does not substitute medical advice. Please consult a qualified medical professional relevant to your particular circumstance. 

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