The introduction of solid foods alongside your baby’s milk feeds provides extra energy and nutrients to sustain normal growth, health and development.
Weaning also gives babies the opportunity to learn to like new tastes and textures at a time when they are most receptive.
When is my baby ready to begin solids?
Many babies are happy to wait until around 6 months to begin solid food and at this age they can learn the skills needed for eating solid food very quickly. Aim to begin by the time your little one is 6 months. All babies develop at different rates and some babies will be ready before 6 months. Don’t start your baby on foods other than milk before they’re 4 months old as their kidneys and digestive system are not fully developed.
Signs that your baby is ready to wean:
Your baby can sit up with support and control their head well – this means they will be unlikely to choke on solid food.
They are investigating their environment by putting toys and other objects in their mouth. They will be happy to try new sensations such as food in their mouth too.
They watch you with interest when you eat.
They seem not to be satisfied just with milk feedings.
Waking at night is not necessarily hunger
It is not usually a sign that your baby is hungry if your baby is beginning to wake during the night when they have been sleeping through. Babies tend to change their sleeping patterns around this age. Sleep varies between deep sleep and lighter sleep, and also includes brief periods of arousal when babies wake and cry for attention. They are not necessarily crying because they are hungry.
If you are not sure about when to begin weaning ask your Health Care Professional for advice. You could also give your baby a weaning spoon to hold and see if they’re happy putting it into their mouth.
Pre-term babies need to be assessed individually by the medical team looking after them. Between 5 - 8 months after their actual birth date is likely to be the best time to begin weaning. However it is also best to wait until 3 months after their estimated date of delivery (EDD) to allow for their muscle co-ordination to develop. Pre-term babies at this age may still not have good head control so you will need to make sure your baby’s head and neck are well supported when you are feeding them solid foods.
Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical
advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance.
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