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Getting ready to start solids (weaning)

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In the first six months babies get all the fluid and nutrients they need from breastmilk or from infant formula. There is no need to introduce any other foods before this time.

Starting solids means gradually introducing a variety of foods to your baby alongside breast milk or infant formula until they are eating the same healthy foods as the rest of the family. Sometimes this is called weaning, introducing solids or complementary feeding.

Starting Solids

You can find answers to your questions about introducing solids on our NHSGGC : Starting Solids page including:

  • When will my baby be ready to start solid food?
  • What will I need?
  • What milk/drinks can I give my baby and what should I avoid?
  • What do I need to know about vitamin D supplements and about my baby's first teeth?
  • What are the differences between cooking for my baby from scratch or buying ready made baby foods?
  • What should I do if my baby chokes and how can I prevent choking?
  • Where can I get information about the Best Start Grant and Best Start foods?

There are also links to lots of useful resources and where to get support and help if you need it. 

The Starting Solids Show

Our Starting Solids Show is a series of 13 short videos

Episode 1 - Getting Started has information on:

  • Signs that your baby may be ready for solid food
  • How to get started with solid food
  • Suitable and unsuitable milks (including follow-on milks) 
  • First foods and textures to get you started

Episode 2 - Practical Tips looks at:

  • When to offer solid food and how much 
  • Introducing a variety of foods and textures
  • Brief information on food safety, including foods that may be choking risks, and where to go for more detailed advice and support

Episode 3 - All About Textures and Suitable Drinks for Your Baby

  • What drinks to offer your baby and what sort of cup to use
  • Ways to introduce texture to your baby's food and the importance of getting your baby used to more lumpy foods
  • The importance of full fat dairy in your baby's diet, and key information on non-dairy drinks

Episode 4 - More Healthy Meals & Snacks and a Note on Food Safety 

  • What sort of foods should your baby be eating as they approach 12 months
  • Why you should avoid sugary and salty foods for your baby, including watching out for hidden sugars in shop bought baby foods
  • Food safety when freezing food
  • Saving money by making your own baby food at home

Episode 5 - First Teeth (Oral Health)

  • The importance of tooth brushing as soon as your baby's first tooth comes through
  • What brush and toothpaste to choose
  • Helping young children brush their teeth
  • Watching out for sugar in foods, drinks and medicines
  • Using a free-flowing cup for drinks
  • The ChildSmile Programme

Episodes 6-13 are cookalongs with community chef Sandra showing you how to save money by making food for your baby at home, which include lots of helpful information about introducing solids, cooking advice, as well as short video recipe demonstrations, 

Information for parents concerned about allergies

Some parents are concerned about the risk of allergy when starting solids. Current advice is to introduce complementary foods (solids) at around 6 months, including those known to cause food allergy, such as egg and peanut.

Recent evidence has shown that if you introduce these foods to your child early and offer them regularly in their diet, then you can significantly reduce the risk of food allergy developing later in life. This is even more important if there is a strong history of food allergy in your family.

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) and British Society Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BASCI) have developed information to help prevent food allergy in babies, including what to do if your baby is at higher risk of a food allergy.

Editorial Information

Last reviewed: 22 March 2023

Next review: 31 March 2025

Author(s): Dominika Bugajska