What’s the right age to start your baby on solids?
Anytime between four and six months when you think your baby is ready is the time to start weaning – around this time your baby needs extra nutrients alongside his milk feeds and is ready to learn new feeding skills.
At a glance
- Six months is the best time to start weaning
- Starting too early can be harmful to little ones health
- Your baby may drop hints that they are ready such as trying to put things in their mouth
Why 4-6 months is the best time
It’s hugely exciting watching your baby taste solids for the first time, but it’s important you start at the right time.
Why you don’t want to start too early
There’s no need to start feeding babies solid food until they’re over four months. Here’s why:
- They get all the nutrients they need from milk
- They need to be able to sit with support and hold their head steady to be able to swallow food safely
- Weight gain - introducing solid foods before 4 months is associated with an increased risk of obesity
Why 4-6 months is bang on
Sometime between four and six months, babies start to need more and more milk to meet their nutritional needs, and it’s time to start on more concentrated foods for several reasons:
- More iron please - babies are born with a hefty iron supply that lasts for about six months, so by six months they need to be getting new iron from those lovely solids
- Good co-ordination – their jaw and tongue will have developed enough to cope with learning to eat and swallow food
- Hard toothy gums - babies teeth will be already well formed in their gums making them nice and hard to begin squashing soft lumps and later chewing – you don’t have to wait for teeth to come through to begin weaning
Ready to start?
All babies are different and develop at different rates. Some are fine to wait until six months but some start dropping hints they’re ready for weaning a bit earlier – like wanting their feeds earlier and earlier and watching you and others with interest when you are eating. You can spot a whole host of other signs in is your baby ready for weaning?
‘I waited until they were six months and it was fine – I don’t think I should have started earlier. Because the guidelines have changed there is confusion about whether you’re doing everything right. Also, a lot of new mums are so desperate because of sleep deprivation, they’ll latch onto anything they think will give them more sleep.’ - Eve, mum of 3
‘We did sleep training with our baby and when he was about 5-and-a-half months old, the sleep guru suggested the reason he was waking up every half an hour was because he was hungry. I started him on baby rice and it definitely helped.’ - Linda, mum of 1
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