When is my baby ready for solids?
The UK government advises beginning the process of weaning your baby onto solids at around 6 months, when babies show the following signs of being ready:
- Baby is able to stay sitting up by himself and keep his head steady
- Baby is able to look at food, grasp it in their hand, and bring it to his mouth
- Baby is able to swallow food. If baby is not ready he will push food back out of his mouth with his tongue
It is important to wait until your baby is around 6 months old and shows the signs above because:
- It means baby’s immune and digestive systems are well developed to tolerate solid food
- It reduces the risk of choking if baby has enough control to sit up unaided
- Breastmilk or formula milk contain all the nutrition that baby needs until 6 months
The following behaviours are NOT signs that baby needs solid foods:
- Increased night waking; babies who have previously slept well can start waking more frequently around 4-6 months, but is not necessarily driven by hunger. Besides, early foods do not usually offer more calories or allow babies to ‘go longer between feeds’ than milk alone.
- Wanting more milk feeds; your baby is growing fast and may need extra milk to support this. Milk provides all the calories and nutrition babies need until 6 months.
- Chewing or sucking fists more frequently. Although this can be a sign of hunger, it can also indicate teething, or that baby is simply exploring his / her hands
- Baby intently watching or showing interest in you feeding. Babies are fascinated by watching what you do. This is all part of their learning and does not mean that they are ready to eat solid foods themselves.