"How do I know if my baby is ready to start weaning?" is a question we're frequently asked by parents.
It's important to wait until your baby is ready to start weaning, but new parents may be unsure what signs to look out for. Here we've put together the signs that your baby is ready to start weaning, and also the common myths which don't necessarily mean your baby is ready to start solids.
Signs your baby is ready to start weaning
There are 3 common signs which usually appear around 6 months that show your baby is ready for their first solid foods, alongside breast milk or formula.
- They are able to sit up and hold their head steady with support
- They have lost their tongue-thrust reflex and are able to swallow food (rather than spitting it back out!)
- They are interested in food and can look at it, pick it up and bring it towards their mouth
Before 6 months, babies can get all of the nutrition they need from breast milk or formula, which will continue to be their main source of nutrition until around 12 months old. Think about solids being an addition to their usual milk, not there to replace it!
The following behaviours are normal things which baby's sometimes do and aren't necessarily signs of hunger or being ready to start solid food:
- They chew their fists. Most babies love stuffing things (including their fists!) into their mouths. It's how they learn about the world, and is not a sign that they're ready for solids.
- They wake more frequently in the night. Even if your baby has been a good sleeper up until this point, it doesn't mean they're ready for solids. Older generations may say starting solids will help them return to sleeping through the night, but this is not scientifically proven.
- They want more milk than usual. During a growth spurt it's common for babies to want more milk, and it's milk that they need, not solids!
Why are some babies weaned early?
Back in the 1950s parents were advised to wean their babies as early as 6 weeks! This is why you may sometimes hear older relatives talk about having their baby on solids by 2, 3 or 4 months, however this is no longer recommended.
In some cases, parents are still advised to wean their babies earlier due to medical reasons, such as due to reflux or milk allergies. This can sometimes be as early as 4 months, but should only be done on advice from a medical professional. If this is you, then we recommend trying some of our single-ingredient purees which are safe for babies from 4 months old.
If you're starting to wean your baby around 6 months, then you can choose to start with our purees, or you can choose to offer your baby our plant-based meals either mashed or pureed, or you can go straight to finger foods if you want to try baby-led weaning.
If you're not sure which weaning method is best for you, take a look at our blog Baby-Led Weaning vs Spoon-Fed Weaning: Which Method Should I Choose?
All babies are different and develop at their own pace. The Department of Health recommends that weaning starts at around 6 months, but if you think your baby is ready before 6 months then consult with your GP or health visitor.
Is your baby showing signs of being ready to start their weaning journey? Try some of our First Taste purees, specially created by our expert nutritionists and chefs to introduce your little one to solids! Start your weaning journey today.