7. Things to remember when weaning your baby

Weaning Illustrations 0013 Lumpy Food

This page contains a quick summary of some of the key things to remember from our weaning information.

Cues from your baby

Some cues that your baby is ready to start weaning:

  • Your baby can sit up by themselves, needing only a little support.
  • They can hold their head up easily and keep it upright when sitting.
  • They explore objects with their fingers, hands, and mouth.
  • They are beginning to bite and chew on toys.
  • They reach and grasp food and/or open their mouth when food is offered.

Some cues that are often mistaken for a baby being ready to begin weaning:

  • Your baby is drinking more milk - this may be a sign they are going through a growth spurt and need more milk rather than solids. It's OK to give more milk when your baby asks for it.
  • Waking up more at night - this may also be a sign of a growth spurt (see point above) or moving to a new developmental stage. Studies show that weaning doesn’t help babies sleep longer at night.
  • Your baby reaches a certain weight - there is no specific weight that your baby needs to be to start weaning.
  • Your baby has teeth – there is huge variation in the age at which babies’ teeth come through, but this is not connected to their readiness for solid food.

Useful dates to know:

  • Start weaning when your baby is showing cues, usually at around six months corrected age.
  • Avoid starting before five months corrected age.
  • Try to introduce some mashed/textured foods to your baby by around seven months corrected age.



Choosing foods for weaning:

  • As your baby progresses with weaning, offer a variety of flavours, textures, and tastes.
  • Use as many home-cooked family meals as you can.
  • If you plan to give your baby a vegetarian or vegan diet, ask your health visitor for support and advice.
  • Avoid salty or sugary foods, and adding salt, sugar, or honey when preparing meals for your baby.

Some ideas for first foods:

  • Baby rice (made up with your baby’s usual milk), either on its own or with cooked fruit or vegetables.
  • Cooked, starchy, mashed vegetables such as potato, sweet potato or yam.
  • Other vegetables cooked and mashed such as carrot, broccoli, or squash.
  • Cooked, or raw mashed soft fruit with skin and pips removed, such as apple, pear, peach, banana, or avocado.
  • Cooked, mashed split lentils without skins.
  • Scrambled or mashed boiled eggs (using your baby’s usual milk to mash) - make sure they have the Red Lion Stamp on them.
  • Cooked, soft or pureed meat or fish, mixed with baby rice or vegetables.

Some ideas for finger foods:

  • Ripe and peeled soft fruit, like banana, pear or peach.
  • Cooked soft vegetables, like carrot, courgette, parsnip or sweet potato.
  • Well-cooked shredded meat, or flaked fish with all the bones removed.
  • Fingers of toast, pitta bread or chapatti, with butter or similar spread*.
  • Well-cooked pasta shapes.
  • Pieces of falafel or garlic bread**.
  • Cheese, either in thin slices or grated**.
  • You can find more ideas on the NHS Start for Life website and and in Eating well: the first year from First Steps Nutrition Trust (PDF).

*This can help your baby swallow these foods more easily but you dont need to add much. You can offer to them dry when they are more skilled at eating.

**Some of these foods can contain a lot of salt, so don't give to them too often. Also remember to avoid adding salt to any cooking water.

Apple slices 1

Other things to remember

  1. Most importantly, enjoy mealtimes with your baby. They are great ways to learn about food and eating, especially when the family eats together.
  2. Go at your baby's own pace and don't worry if it seems slow.
  3. Stay with your baby and watch them during mealtimes.
  4. Encourage your baby to touch and explore food during mealtimes.
  5. Follow your baby’s cues and stop offering more if they show signs they don’t want to try food or aren’t hungry.
  6. Forcing your baby to eat can upset them and make them refuse food.
  7. Adding solids to your baby’s bottle, or feeding pureed food directly from a pouch, doesn’t give your baby the opportunity to learn the skills they need to eat.
  8. If you are worried about your baby’s progress with weaning discuss this with your Health Visitor or GP.
Avocado slices