Weaning means introducing a range of foods gradually until your baby is eating the same foods as the rest of the family. Until six months, your baby needs only your breastmilk or formula milk. Around six months your baby will need more than milk and is able to eat solid foods in addition to breast milk or formula milk.
When to start
Health experts agree that around six months is the best age for introducing solids. Before this, your baby's digestive system is still developing and weaning too soon may increase the risk of infections and allergies. Weaning is also easier at six months. If your baby seems hungrier anytime before six months, they may be having a growth spurt, and extra breast milk or formula milk will be enough to meet their needs.
If you decide to wean at anytime before six months, there are some foods that should be avoided as they may cause allergies or make your baby ill. These include wheat-based foods and other foods containing gluten (e.g bread, rusks, some breakfast cereals), eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts, seeds and soft and unpastuerised cheeses. Solid foods should never be introduced before four months.
Try giving solids when your baby can;
- Sit up
- Wants to chew and is putting toys and other objects in their mouth
- Reached and grabs accurately
It is normal for babies aged three to five months to begin waking through the night when they have previously slept through. This is not necessarily a sign of hunger and starting solids will not make your baby more likely to sleep through the night again.