Introducing your baby to solid foods, often called “weaning”, should start when your baby is around 6 months old.
Around this time your baby will show ‘developmental readiness’, which are the signs that baby is ready for foods other than milk.
Your health visitor will explain how to recognise this stage, which include baby being able to sit up without support, co-ordinate themselves so that they can look at the item of food, pick it up, put it in their mouth and chew it, and are eager to participate in mealtimes.
Sometimes other signs are mistaken for a baby being ready for solid foods, which include chewing fists, putting objects in their mouths, watching other people eat, waking more frequently in the night and wanting extra milk feeds.
These are all normal baby behaviours and are not necessarily a sign of hunger or a readiness to start solid food.
In reality starting solid foods is unlikely to ensure a baby is more likely to sleep through the night, and sometimes a little extra milk is all that is needed until your baby is ready for solid foods.
Introducing solid foods is a really important step in your baby’s development and can be great fun - the UNICEF and Baby Friendly Initiative’s "Introducing Solid Foods" leafletand the NHS "Start 4 Life"website will provide you with all the information you need.