Has your baby lost their tongue thrust reflex?

What is the tongue thrust reflex and does your baby have one? Anna, our Baby Weaning expert and registered Nutritional Therapist takes a look.

Does this sound familiar? You are really keen to get going with weaning, so you make up some purees and get the camera ready, all excited to feed your baby. You put a spoonful in their mouth and they spit it all back out. And again!

If you’ve started weaning your baby and they are not able to swallow they may still be hanging on to a natural infant reflex. They might not be ready for weaning yet.

What is the tongue thrust reflex?

Babies are born with a natural infant reflex to spit things out from the mouth. As they feed from a nipple or teat the tongue comes out as they suck the milk. About 4-6 months in to their life this reflex becomes triggered further and further back in the mouth as they get older.

This is one of the signs they are ready for solid food.

Can I still wean a baby with a tongue thrust reflex?  

It’s a sign that your baby isn’t ready to start eating solid foods if they still have a strong reflex to spit things out. Try again in a few weeks. If this continues past 6 months then you may wish to speak to a health visitor about it. It will be frustrating for you trying to get food in, and also a strange experience for your baby too if you carry on trying to put food in their mouth before they are ready.

Weaning insights like this are all covered in our Baby Nutrition & Weaning classes – you can book a private class for you and group of friends or come to one of our public classes around Bristol. Anna is a registered Nutritional Therapist so you can trust her content is backed by the latest evidence about baby weaning and gut health.

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