Getting started with weaning

The Department of Health recommends waiting till your baby is around 6 months old before introducing weaning.

If your baby was born prematurely it is always best to seek advice from your Health Visitor before you start.

Baby led weaning is for many a preferred introduction to solid foods, it involves offering your baby a variety of foods that they can feed themselves.

What are the signs your baby is ready to begin weaning?

Babies develop at different stages though generally by 6 months old it is now thought their digestive systems are ready to process solid foods.

A baby should be able to sit comfortably unaided and be able to look at, pick up and put food into their mouth. At this stage babies should be able to swallow food rather than push it back out with their tongue. Always talk to your Health Visitor before starting weaning as they can offer you lots of tips and ideas of which foods, textures & flavours to try.

Points to consider:
Don’t put cereal, baby rice or rusks into baby’s bottle

Don’t introduce weaning before 6 months without first talking to your Health Visitor

Think about possible allergies, is there a family history of food allergies? If so seek advice about when to introduce certain foods.

Only offer water or milk to drink.

The UK health departments advise mothers to avoid giving their babies:

  • salt (as their kidneys are unable to cope with large amounts of salt and over-use could affect the child’s health in future) ;
  • sugar (to discourage a sweet tooth and tooth decay);
  • honey under one year (because of its link with infant botulism);
  • whole nuts (including peanuts) until the age of five, due to the risk of choking.

Weaning is not only about introducing solid foods; it is also about teaching your baby to eat socially and learn to use cutlery and cups. Learning to chew from a spoon and drink from an open cup all help develop the muscles needed to talk properly and helps to reduce bottle use and improve dental health.