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Introducing Solid foods

Introducing Solid Foods

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.

Introducing Solid Food

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" leaflet and the NHS "Start 4 Life" website will provide you with all the information you need.

Vitamins for your baby

Vitamin D
The UK population is at risk of low Vitamin D levels due to our lifestyle and climate.

According to the latest guidance, as a precaution all breastfed babies should be given a daily vitamin D supplement of 8.5 to 10mcg from birth.

Other baby vitamins
Between six months old and five years old, it is also recommended that breastfed babies are given daily vitamin A and C supplements.

Who to ask if unsure
When you buy vitamin supplements for your baby, you will need to carefully read the label to check they are age appropriate. If you are unsure, your health visitor and pharmacist should be able to advise you.

Formula fed babies
Babies who are fed more than 500ml (about a pint) a day of first infant formula do not need these additional vitamins because formula is already supplemented with vitamins A, C and D.

Baby vitamin drops for free
If you're under 18, or on benefits, you may be entitled to free Health Start vitamin drops and food vouchers. In some areas, Healthy Start vitamins are free to all families - ask your health visitor if they're free where you live.

To find out more visit the NHS Start 4 Life and the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative websites.

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