Introducing Solid Food

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intro to solids

When is my baby ready for solid food?

There are three clear signs, which, when they appear together from around 6 months of age, show that your baby is ready for their first solid foods, alongside breast milk or first infant formula. They will be able to:

  • stay in a sitting position, holding their head steady
  • coordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at their food, pick it up and put it in their mouth
  • swallow food – rather than spit it back out

Sometimes the following behaviours can be mistaken for signs of being ready for solid foods:

  • chewing fists
  • wanting extra milk feeds
  • waking up in the night (more than usual)

These are normal baby behaviours and not necessarily a sign of hunger, or being ready to start solid food. Starting solid foods will not make them any more likely to sleep through the night. Sometimes a little extra milk will help until they are ready for food.

If your baby was born prematurely, ask your Health Visitor or GP for advice on when to start introducing solid food.

Take a look at the NHS Better Health Start for Life website for all you need to know when introducing solid food to your baby. We have also linked some of the popular web pages below for to make it easier for you.

Why wait until my baby is around 6 months?

  • breast milk or first infant formula provides the energy and nutrients needed until around 6 months
  • it gives your baby time to develop the skills needed for eating solid food
  • at six months your baby is more able to feed themselves
  • they will be better at moving food around their mouth, chewing and swallowing – this may mean they can have mashed, lumpy and finger foods