Introducing solids to babies is recommended at aged 6 months due to the development of their digestive organs and up to this age they can get all the nutrition they need from their own stored supplies and milk, whether breast or formula. It is not recommended to start weaning before babies are 17 weeks old, again due to their internal organ development and early weaning is also reported to be linked to increased allergies. Babies also have a tongue thrusting reflex that helps to protect them against choking and by 6 months they have mastered new skills to enable them to pass food from the front to the back of their months and swallow allowing them to commence baby led weaning.
Your baby is ready if they can:
These signs do not usually appear together before six months.
Click here for more information about starting your baby on solid foods.
Click here to read the Unicef Start for Life booklet introducing-solid-foods
Babies like the food they get used to so try to give them as many different, healthy foods as you can – this way they are more likely to continue eating them as they grow up. It’s a good habit to get into and will hopefully make your life easier as they get older.
Try not to give your baby foods or drinks with added sugar, salt or fatty foods as this will make them more likely to want them as they get older.
At first you will need to allow plenty of time for eating. Rushing or forcing your baby could lead to problems.
Most babies will indicate when they are full up by:
Be prepared for mess! Feeding can get messy but this is an important part of your baby’s development.
You can always cover the floor with newspaper or a protective mat to make cleaning up easier.
Babies will copy their parents and other children and will want to eat what you eat. You can help them by showing them that you eat healthier foods.