Introducing Solids

Weaning is the term given to the introduction of foods other than breastmilk (or infant formula) to an infant. We also call it "introducing solids".

In the first six months

In the first six months of life, infants can get all the fluid and nutrients they need from breastmilk (or from correctly made up formula). There is no need to introduce other foods before an infant's gut and swallow reflexes are fully ready.

When is baby ready?

Every baby is different, but there are three clear signs which, together and combined with the recommendation of around 6 months, show that a baby is ready for some solid foods alongside breastmilk or infant formula:

  • Baby can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady
  • Baby can co-ordinate their eyes, hand and mouth so that they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth all by themselves
  • Baby can swallow food. Babies who are not ready will generally push food back out of their mouth, although this is not possible for baby to do with some pureed food.

Key resources

  • Fun First Foods - An NHS Health Scotland booklet full of the most recent evidence based information. It will help your baby to get the best possible start
  • Wean the Weans - Recipes and information to make weaning easy, healthy and enjoyable
  • NHS Lothian Weaning Discussion Flipchart Tool - A tool for health professionals or people working and support families with evidence based knowledge and practicalities for weaning
  • Childsmile -- NHS Health Scotland - Information about appropriate snacks/drinks and oral hygiene for babies
  • NHS Lothian Weaning DVD - a locally developed DVD with local mums which talks about introducing solid foods to their babies

Last Reviewed: 22/05/2017