Starting solids

baby grabbing for spoon and eating spaghetti

You can begin to give your baby food and drinks, other than milk, from six months old. Babies are naturally ready for food and drink as well as their breast feeds or bottle feeds from six months of age. This is when they are developmentally ready to manage foods other than their milk. From six months’ babies are ready for mashed, lumpy or finger foods so there is no need to blend or puree foods. For more information and useful links on the ‘Weaning’ page of the Better Lives Healthy Futures website.

NHS Start4life have made this really helpful video:

Why wait until around 6 months to introduce solids?

It’s a good idea to wait until around 6 months before introducing solid foods because:

  • breast milk or first infant formula provide the energy and nutrients your baby needs until they're around 6 months old (with the exception of vitamin D in some cases)
  • if you're breastfeeding, feeding only breast milk up to around 6 months of age will help protect your baby against illness and infections
  • waiting until around 6 months gives your baby time to develop so they can cope fully with solid foods – this includes solid foods made into purées, cereals and baby rice added to milk
  • your baby will be more able to feed themselves
  • your baby will be better at moving food around their mouth, chewing and swallowing it – this may mean they'll be able to progress to a range of tastes and textures (such as mashed, lumpy and finger foods) more quickly, and may not need smooth, blended foods at all

Signs your baby is ready for solid foods

There are 3 clear signs which, when they appear together from around 6 months of age, show your baby is ready for their first solid foods alongside breast milk or first infant formula. They'll be able to:

  • stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady
  • co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth by themselves
  • swallow food (rather than spit it back out)

The following behaviours can be mistaken by parents as signs that their baby is ready for solid foods:

  • chewing their fists
  • waking up in the night (more than usual)
  • wanting extra milk feeds

These are all normal behaviours for babies and not necessarily a sign that they're hungry or ready to start solid food.

Starting solid foods will not make your baby any more likely to sleep through the night. Sometimes a little extra milk will help until they're ready for solid foods.

For more information on how to start weaning, what first foods to feed your baby and weaning safely visit the NHS start4life website

Did you know

If you live in Bowling, Barkerend, Bradford Moor or Little Horton, BetterStart Bradford are currently running programmes such as:

  • HENRY Starting Solids
  • Cooking for a Better Start

For more information visit Betterstart Bradford

Support for you

Healthy Start Scheme

Get help to buy healthy food and milk. The Healthy Start scheme is a national government welfare scheme for families on low income that has run for many years. Pregnant women, or families who have children under four years old, may be entitled to get vouchers or payments every four weeks.

If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops. We’ll add your benefit onto this card every 4 weeks.

You can use your card to buy:

  • plain liquid cow’s milk
  • fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables
  • fresh, dried, and tinned pulses
  • infant formula milk based on cow’s milk

You can also use your card to collect:

  • Healthy Start vitamins – these support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Vitamin drops for babies and young children – these are suitable from birth to 4 years’ old
Last updated: