Moving onto Solids
Your Health Visiting Service is here to support you with introducing solid foods to your baby or ‘weaning’ around 6 months of age. We also offer virtual, live and recorded information sessions on this topic.
Your baby’s milk is all they need until they’re 6 months old, with the only exception being any baby not having 500ml of formula per day being recommended to take a Vitamin D supplement.
Remember that ‘food before 1 is just for fun‘! Your baby’s milk (breastmilk, first infant formula or a combination of both), is still their main source of nutrition until 12 months of age. Cows milk can be used in cooking but should not be offered as a drink before 12 months.
It is a good idea to begin offering water in a cup with every offer of solid food (this includes purees). From 6 months water does not need to be boiled first and can be offered straight from the tap.
If you feel that your baby may be ready for solids before 6 months please speak with your Health Visitor as evidence now shows that introducing solids before this age can have an adverse effect.
What are the signs of readiness?
There are 3 clear signs, which, when they appear together from around 6 months of age, show that your baby is ready for their first solid foods, alongside breast milk or first infant formula. They will be able to:
- stay in a sitting position, holding their head steady
- coordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at their food, pick it up and put it in their mouth
- swallow food (rather than spit it back out)
The following behaviours can be mistaken for signs of being ready for solid foods:
- chewing fists
- wanting extra milk feeds
- waking up in the night (more than usual)
These are normal baby behaviours and not necessarily a sign of hunger, or being ready to start solid food. Starting solid foods will not make them any more likely to sleep through the night. Sometimes a little extra milk will help until they are ready for food.
If your baby was born prematurely, ask your health visitor or GP for advice on when to start weaning.
See these links for more information around baby-led weaning and recipe ideas: