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Introducing solids (weaning) should begin when your baby is around 6 months of age.

Starting solids is an important part of your babies development and an opportunity to start exploring new tastes and textures.

In the beginning starting solids is not so much about how much your baby is taking but more about them getting used to eating solid foods.

Over time your baby will increase the amount and variety of food they are eating so that they are eating the same as the rest of the family but remembering they will need smaller portions.

When to introduce solid food?

Until your baby is around 6 months of age they will get all their nutritional requirements from breast milk or infant formula. In fact if you are breastfeeding then they will also be getting that added protection from infections and this will carry on for as long as you continue to breastfeed.

Waiting until around 6 months also gives your babies digestive system chance to develop to enable it to cope with solid food.

When is your baby ready for solid foods?

They are ready when;

  • They can stay sitting up and keep their head steady
  • They can co-ordinate their eyes, hand and mouth so that they can see and look at the food, pick it up and put it into their own mouth.
  • They can swallow food. When they are unable to do this they will push the food back out.

The following are normal baby for babies to do but not necessarily due to them being hungry or signs of being ready for solid foods:

  • Chewing on fists
  • Waking in the night even if they have previously slept through
  • Wanting extra milk

If you think your baby is ready for solid foods speak to your health visitor. Before 6 months, if after you have spoken to your health visitor or doctor you decide to start solid foods then there are some foods that need to be avoided as they can cause allergies these include: wheat, gluten, peanuts, peanut products, seeds, liver, eggs, fish, shellfish, cow’s milk and soft or unpasteurised cheeses.

What types of foods can my baby have?

Always stay with your baby when they are eating.

Good first foods include things like mashed or soft cooked fruit and vegetables but make sure you cool it before giving it to your baby. You can also try pieces soft fruit that your baby can grab like banana, avocado, peach, melon.

When your baby is ready to move on then you can start to introduce things like soft cooked meats like chicken, pasta, noodles, toast, pitta bread rice and mashed hard boiled eggs. You can also try full fat no added sugar or less sugar dairy products like yogurt, fromage frais and custard. You can use cow’s milk to cook with or mix into food from 6 months.

By about 8-9 months your baby will be ready to move on to eating 3 meals a day. Give them a variety of foods that are either finger foods, mashed or chopped.

From the age of 12 months they can continue with mum’s breast milk but can also start having whole cow’s milk as a drink now and continue with full fat dairy products. They will be eating 3 meals a day but may want extra healthy snacks like vegetable sticks, fruit or toast.

You should continue to choose full fat dairy products as your baby needs the extra fat and vitamins that they contain.

Remember though that they still need smaller portion sizes than the rest of the family.

Things to watch out for

Sweet foods- things that have a lot of added sugar and fat should be avoided as babies don’t need them and it may stop them from eating foods that they do need.

Salt- babies should have limited salt so don’t add any to your cooking and be aware of foods high in salt like bacon, sausages, stock cubes, gravy, readymade/convenience foods and cheeses.

Sweet drinks- again these will fill your baby up and may stop them from eating more nutritious foods may also damage teeth.. Avoid drinks with sugar, fizzy drinks, and milkshakes. You should also not give your baby tea, coffee, diet drinks or low calorie drinks/ no added sugar drinks. Instead give water from a cup with meals.

Honey- this may occasionally contain bacteria that can be harmful to babies so they should not have this until they are over 12 months old.

Choking- this can happen with hard foods, or things like grapes and cherry tomatoes and sausages. Therefore peel the skin off fruit, vegetables and things like sausages. Make sure you remove all of the bones from meat and fish. Whole nuts should not be given to children under the age of 5 due to the risk of choking.

For more information on foods to avoid visit http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/foods-to-avoid-baby.aspx

 

If you would like further information, please consult the 'helpful links' section on this page.

Fact Zone


Letting your baby feed themselves with finger food lets them control how much they want to eat.
Babies are only ready for solid food when their digestive system is ready for it and this is usually at around 6 months.
Introducing solids is as much about your baby learning and developing as it is about eating.
It’s much easier to teach your baby good eating habits now than it is to try to change their eating habits later.
Your baby gets all their nutritional requirements from breast or formula milk for the first 6 months of their life.
Myth- My baby is waking in the night so he must need solid food. Your baby waking at night is not a sign that they are ready for solid food. The signs that your baby is ready are they can sit and support their own head unaided; they can look at reach out, pick up the food and put it in their own mouth and are able to swallow the food.

 

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