Is your baby spitting out solids? Its called the extrusion reflex – learn more here

As a parent, it’s important to you and you want to witness all your baby’s significant milestones. Starting from the first giggle to the first words to the first steps, with every passing day, your little one grows, matures and learns more. But before adding the ‘eating solid food’ milestone to your baby’s picture scrapbook, you should get to know a thing or two about your little one’s mouth. The way your toddler experiences solids can be affected by something known as extrusion reflux. Keep reading this DentoXpert article to find out more…

Your Baby's Development

For the first 4-6 months, your infant is beyond contented to sip on formula or nosh on breast milk. Besides, both components constitute the whole caboodle of things required for your tiny tot to grow during the vital initial months. Depending on your paediatrician’s advice and how your baby develops, between the 4-6 months mark you can begin to offer solids. No doubt, it might seem like your toddler has other ideas: when you attempt to feed the baby a spoonful of cereal, the baby pushes it right back out! That leaves you with a big mess and trailing thoughts of if your baby is a picky eater.        

The Extrusion Reflex

When solid food is pushed out of the mouth with the use of the tongue by the baby, it’s known as the extrusion or tongue-thrust reflex. Although it seems like the baby is refusing solids, it’s actually an instinct which is intended to protect the little one. Considering that your tiny tot’s body is still developing, this reflux safeguards her/him from choking on foreign objects during the early few months. In this manner, any object that accidentally enters your child’s mouth is pushed right back out, particularly because your little one’s swallowing mechanism is not yet developed adequately to deal with solids. This extrusion reflux action ensures that formula or breast milk is the only thing that makes its way to the belly. The reflux engages when you offer a spoonful of solids but does not work on the bottle or breast.           

When They Can Start Solids

Most babies should lose the extrusion after 4-6 months; this is when it’s recommended for solids to be introduced. At this point, toddlers can lift their heads up and hold their necks high independently. 

If your little one is about this age, with support can sit up well and shows interest in the foods, then it’s a good time to begin this adventure and venture into feeding solids foods. Sometimes, even at this point, the baby might push out food, which means the reflux is lingering. In time, with age, the reflux will diminish.

However, it’s best to talk to the paediatrician before starting anything.    


What might seem like a picky eater is actually a developmental milestone you might not have considered. This is a reflux which is meant to protect your tiny tot. Keep this article in mind and watch how this reflux plays out in real life.   

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Last updated on 06 June, 2018.

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