Updated: Apr 14
It wasn't a long time ago since you first held your little one in your arms and it's already time to start introducing solids to her!
Weaning (introducing solid food alongside milk) is a babyhood milestone that may make you feel excited, relieved or even worried for many different reasons.
Babies usually wean around the age of 6 months and you may have noticed by then that your baby shows an interest in food. I remember when my twins were around 5 months old, I was hiding behind the sofa when I wanted to eat something!
Weaning opens a new world of opportunities for your baby; new flavours, textures, smells. Eating is an adventure that baby joins with all her senses! It really is an exciting time for your little one. However, note that until the end of the first year of life, milk is your baby's main food, so don't put any unnecessary pressure on you. Introducing most food types is very important for your baby's development, but if what your baby still prefers is milk, that is absolutely normal. Always consult your GP or health visitor if you have any concerns regarding your baby's feeding.
How To Sign Eat
The sign for "eat" is one of the first signs to use with your baby. Just like the "milk" sign, "eat" meets your baby's need for feeding and it's the only sign you need to talk about food.
When your child is a little older, around 12 - 15 months old, you can introduce different food types and give her a choice. Earlier than that though, signing different food types can be really confusing for your baby.
To make the sign for "eat" bunch your fingertips together and make two short movements towards your mouth. You can even tap your mouth.
Watch the video below for a demonstration of how to sign "eat" to your baby. Don’t forget to say the word "eat" as you sign it - this reinforces your baby’s learning and helps them to associate the word with the sign.
When to sign "eat"
Just before mealtime, grasp your baby's attention and sign and say "eat". You can say something like "Would you like to eat?". Then as you prepare her meal, you can sign and say "I'll make you something to eat". After putting her on the high chair, you can sign and say "It's time to eat now!"
Although you can also use other words, too, to convey the same meaning, like "food", "hungry", etc, I personally recommend always using the same word regarding food. As mentioned above, any different words for eating and food types can simply be too confusing for your baby. Similar, "eat" is suitable for every meal; breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner.
Will My Baby Be Able to Understand and Use Baby Signing?
Babies start using the sign for "eat" from an early age when their gross motor skills are not fully developed yet. That means that their sign will look somehow different from yours, but you will be able to understand it. Usually, babies and young toddlers tap their mouth with their open palm, when they want to ask for food. Another way of signing "eat" is by putting their fingers in their mouth.
Watch gorgeous Aida below signing eat by patting her mouth and pointing to where food is.
Tips for Starting Baby Signing with your Baby
Always say the word as you sign it so your baby can make the connection between the word and the sign.
Sign in your baby's sightline - keep the sign close to your face.
Repeat! Babies learn best through repetition.
Now you know the baby sign for eat, click here to learn the sign for milk.
Book the Very First Signs Workshop
Very First Signs is designed as an introduction to Baby Signing.
Get an insight into how you can communicate with your baby – before they can speak!
Book this class and learn the most important signs for your baby or toddler and start using them straight away. In just 30 minutes, you’ll have the ability to communicate more with your baby and better understand their needs.
CAN’T ATTEND THE LIVE CLASS?
If you want to join, but can't attend the class, you can still book a place and you will be sent the link to the recorded session to watch at your convenience.