From six months old, you can try gradually offering your baby different foods along with breast milk or formula.
NHS Scotland have produced a booklet with information to help, and we’ve put some of the main tips on this page, too.
In the past, people began to start solids earlier than six months, but we now know that babies’ digestive systems are not ready til then, and also leaving it to six months reduces risks of allergies and other problems.
Also, weaning is easier at six months, because your baby will be able to manage soft food or mashed foods – no need to puree!
In any case, never try to wean before 4 months (17 weeks) old.
Also check out these foods to avoid – there may be some surprises!
Here are some frequently-asked questions …
When should I start with solid foods?
The best advice on this has changed in the last few years. The most recent research says that from six months on is the best time to start for future health. You will find that some “baby books” are not up to date with this, and also food manufacturers market “4 month foods”, so don’t be taken in! See page 2.
I started weaning earlier – what should I do?
For earlier than six months, there are some foods to avoid tor reduce later risks. There is a list on page 26.
Should I start sold foods earlier if my baby is big, or seems very hungry?
No. If your baby seems very hungry, this may be a growth spurt and extra breast or formula milk will be all that is needed.
What if my baby was premature?
Please ask your health visitor or doctor for advice about what is best for your baby.
What foods should I start with?
Have a look at pages 10-13 for how to start weaning. There are some recipes on page 30, onwards
Can I use ready-made baby food?
Home-made foods are best, because they mean more variety of tastes and textures, and get your baby used to eating lumps. But packets and jars of baby food are also convenient for busy parents – as long as they don’t replace home made food entirely. But they are also expensive. Remember you can cook more than you need for baby and freeze in small pots. More advice is on page 20.
If you do buy ready-made baby food, make sure it is within use-by date and follow preparation instructions carefully. Also, when choosing, check the labels carefully to make sure:
- no added sugars (the label may call these honey, sucrose, glucose, syrup, etc)
- no added salt