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Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust

Introducing Solid Food

You should start giving babies solid foods when they are around six months old, as well as continuing breastfeeding. Before six months, the baby's gut is still developing and they need only breast milk. Starting too soon may increase the
risk of infections and allergies.

The baby is ready for solid foods when they can:

  • Sit up and hold their head steady
  • co-ordinate their hands, eyes and mouth, and they can pick up food and put it in their mouth by themselves
  • swallow food. Babies who push food back out of their mouths are not ready.

It is normal for babies aged three to five months to begin waking in the night when they have previously slept through. It is not necessarily a sign of hunger, and starting solids will not make the baby more likely to sleep through the night again.
If the baby seems hungrier at any time before six months, they may be having a growth spurt, and extra breast or formula milk will be enough to meet their needs. 

Solid food is needed to provide the baby with enough important nutrients like iron. Also, giving solid food from around six months is important for learning to chew and accept different tastes and textures.

By the age of 12 months, babies can join in with family meals.

Breastfeeding can continue alongside solid foods for as long as the Mother and baby wish.


  • Introduce small amounts of pureed fruits and vegetables and gradually build up to larger amounts of more solid food.
  • Solid food can be mixed with breast milk using a hand blender. Make the food gradually more textured by blending for shorter times.
  • Allow plenty of time and go at the baby's pace. When the baby has clearly had enough food or is refusing to eat, stop until the next mealtime.
  • Mothers should speak to their Health Visitor for advice about introducing solids and see 'How to Start' for a more detailed guide on NHS Choices.