When Should I Start Giving My Baby Solid Foods (Weaning)?

baby first foodYou should start giving your baby solid foods, often called ‘weaning’, when they are around six months old. Health experts agree that this is the best age. Before this, your baby’s digestive system is not developed enough to cope with solid foods.

If you’re breastfeeding, feeding only breast milk up to around six months will give your baby extra protection against infection. Breastfeeding beyond six months alongside solid foods will continue to protect your baby for as long as you carry on.

If you’re bottle feeding, you should give your baby infant formula until around six months and continue it afterwards along with solid foods.

If your baby seems hungrier at any time before six months, give them extra milk feeds.

Babies born early (prematurely) may be ready for solids at different times. Ask your health visitor (or pediatrician or pediatric nurse practitioner*) for advice about what’s best for your baby.

How I know if my baby is ready for solids?

Signs that your baby is ready for solids include:

  1. They can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady.
  2. They can co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so that they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth, all by themselves.
  3. They can swallow food. Babies who aren’t ready will push their food back out, so they get more round their face than they do in their mouths.

Baby food

Your baby’s first solid foods should be smooth, simple foods they can easily digest, such as vegetables, fruit or rice. You could try:

  • mashed or puréed cooked parsnip, potato, yam, sweet potato, apple or pear
  • mashed or puréed rice or baby rice (mix the rice with a bit of your baby’s usual milk)
  • pieces of soft fruit or vegetables that are small enough for your baby to pick up

It can be useful to have a few jars, tins or packets of ready-prepared baby food in the cupboard, but it’s not recommended that you use them all the time.

Read more information, tips and advice about your baby’s first solid foods, including foods to start with and foods to avoid.

Read the answers to more questions about children’s health.

Further information:

* Editors Note: a health visitor is a qualified nurse with extra training in child and family care. Their services are provided as part of the UK Healthy Child Programme. Clarification provided for our US audience.

About the Author

NHS Choices (www.nhs.uk) is the UK’s biggest health website. It provides a comprehensive health information service to help put you in control of your healthcare.


7 Responses to “When Should I Start Giving My Baby Solid Foods (Weaning)?”

  1. What are your thoughts on food from a store vs. homemade baby food?

    • Stefanie Zucker Stefanie Zucker says:

      Hi Jackie, that’s a tough call…it depends on the family. You always have more control if you make something yourself, however we’re starting to see more and more “natural” products available for purchase, and for some families, that may be the option that works best for them. In general I’d say whether it’s purchased or made at home, you want to have the least chemicals and the most nutrients and consult your pediatrician to make sure you’re taking into account what your baby needs most at this stage of their development. I hope that helps. Thanks very much for your question…it’s a really great one!

  2. Lili says:

    My baby don’t like market foods, only homemade. Thanks for article. Bye.

  3. Hey, great share…

    I am a father of a baby boy. He is 6 months old and I am really apprehensive of the food choices that I make for my baby. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this crucial topic. I really needed this information.

    Keep sharing more..

  4. Omy says:

    Hey buddy, being grateful as you posted such a useful and informative post. These gonna work and help other parents for sure. I would like to save it. Thanks a lot for sharing your great thoughts. Keep posting, looking forward for more from you

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