Weaning advice from the NHS on introducing your baby to solid foods.
Introducing your baby to solid foods, often called weaning on to foods, should start when your baby is around six months old.
It is a really important step in your baby’s development and can be great fun to explore new flavours and textures together.
They will still be getting most of their nutrition from breastmilk or infant formula. Babies don’t need three meals a day to start with, so you can start by offering foods at a time that suits you both.
Gradually you’ll be able to increase the amount and variety of food your baby eats until they can eventually eat the same as the rest of the family, in smaller portions.
Research shows that babies need nothing but breastmilk or infant formula for the first six months of life.
This gives a baby’s digestive system time to develop so that they cope fully with solid foods. This includes solid foods made into purées and cereals mixed with milk.
If you are breastfeeding, feeding only your milk up to around six months will give them extra protection against infection, and it will continue to protect them for as long as you carry on.
Whether your baby has breast milk or infant formula, waiting until your baby is ready for food will save a lot of time too, as they will quickly be able to feed themselves and with less mess, as they will be able to swallow properly.
Every baby is an individual, but there are three clear signs which, together, show your baby is ready for solid foods alongside breastmilk or infant formula. It is very rare for these signs to appear together before your baby is six months old.
Some signs that can be mistaken for a baby being ready for solid foods:
These are normal behaviours and not necessarily a sign of hunger, or a sign of being ready to start solid food. Starting solid foods won’t make them any more likely to sleep through the night. Extra feeds are usually enough until they’re ready for other food.