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Infant feeding

Weaning and introducing solid foods

Weaning is when you steadily introduce solid foods (also known as family foods) to your baby. Weaning may also be referred to as complementary feeding.

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Types of weaning

There are different types of weaning:

Baby-led weaning is where you let your baby feed themselves. It allows them to explore their food and get used to the textures.

Traditional or spoon-feeding weaning is where you feed your baby foods using a spoon. This starts with smooth foods, then chunkier or lumpy foods, and then moving onto more solid foods. 

Combination weaning is when you do a mixture of baby-led weaning and traditional weaning. Some meals will use puree, others solid foods.

Common weaning concerns

Is your baby ready for solid foods?

There’s no need to rush your baby to start on solid foods. Each baby is unique and develops at their own speed. Do not worry if your baby isn’t weaning at the same time as other children or their older siblings.

Signs that your baby is ready to start weaning

These signs are a typical part of your baby’s development. Reaching these developmental milestones before you start weaning your baby will help the weaning process. The following are signs of being ready:

    • sitting upright and supporting the weight of their own head - your baby should be able to hold their head steady
    • good hand eye-coordination - your baby should be able to look at food, pick it up and put it in their mouth by themselves

Babies who are not ready will push the food back out of their mouths. They will end up with more food around their face than in their mouth.

Not signs of your baby being ready

Some behaviours can be mistaken for a baby being ready for solid foods. The following are not signs of being ready:

    • chewing on their fists
    • first tooth is coming through
    • seeming hungry and wanting more milk
    • suddenly refusing to breastfeed (also known as a nursing strike)
    • waking up in the night when they previously slept through the night
    • watching you eat
    • weight gain slowing down

Want to learn more?

If you would like to learn more about weaning and introducing solid foods to your baby, visit our introducing family foods online learning page. 

Last reviewed: 1 November, 2023

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Who can help

If you have any questions or concerns about weaning or introducing solid foods to your baby, a health professional in our team will be able to offer advice and support.

You can Call Us on 0300 029 50 50 or Text Us on 07520 649887 to start a conversation.

Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays).

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