What age should I start weaning my baby?
When is the best age to start weaning?
Knowing when to start giving your baby solid food can be a confusing time for parents. Recommendations have changed over the years so whilst our parents and/or grandparents might have started weaning their children at 4 months, research suggests that there is often no need to start that early. If you are starting too early you may be just making more work for yourself – weaning is quite a time-consuming and messy business! Solid food is required when breast milk or infant formula is no longer enough to meet the nutritional needs of the growing baby.
Each baby is different and will be developmentally ready for food at different times. The four signs which together indicate a baby is ready for solid food;
- Your baby can sit up (some support may be needed but baby can sit with a straight back)
- Your baby can hold their head steady
- Your baby has good hand-mouth coordination – can pick food up and bring it to their mouth
- Your baby can swallow food (this one might be more trial and error but their tongue thrust reflex, which will shove all the food back out, should have disappeared).
These signs will normally occur together at around 6 months – it may be slightly earlier or later.
It is a myth that babies start to wake up more frequently at night or want extra milk feeds when they are ready for solid food – welcome to the 4 month sleep regression! Putting their fists or fingers in their mouth is also a common sign mistaken for a baby being ready for solid food.
When is it too early to start weaning?
Introducing complementary foods too soon (before 4 months) can increase the risk of infections (gastrointestinal, respiratory and ear infections) and allergies, as your baby’s digestive system and kidneys are still developing.
Occasionally, paediatric specialists may advise slightly earlier weaning (at 4 months), for example with some babies at high risk of food allergy.
When is it too late to start weaning?
It is important that introducing solid food is not delayed much beyond 6 months (i.e. after 7 months) as;
- your baby will be running out of nutrient stores (particularly iron)
- your baby has an increased requirement of certain nutrients
- your baby may be less likely to accept new foods.
At Yummy Tummy Nutrition we offer evidence-based family nutrition advice for pregnancy, weaning, feeding toddlers, fussy eating and more through private 1-2-1 consultations (online and in person) and group workshops. So, if you would like to book a session or find out more about the services we offer, please get in touch.
Healthy Eating Advice for Adults & Children
“Thank you so much for today, already your talk has helped us. You’re my new hero!”
MUM OF WILLIAM (12 MONTHS)
“Thank you so much for your help and advice, it has given me the confidence I need to start the weaning process!”
MUM OF SOPHIE (5 MONTHS)
“Thanks for passing on your invaluable knowledge, we now feel better prepared for whatever Luke throws at us (literally)!”
MUM TO LUKE (6 MONTHS)
“The nutrition plan is fabulous, thank you so much! The recipes are really tasty and it is great to know what portion sizes I should be having.”
“Thanks for the nutrition advice, I’ve changed my diet (as per your suggestions) and feel heaps better for it! ”
"Ros gave us a very personalised, specific action plan, packed with advice and tips, to support our son (and us) with the problem of fussy eating and the behaviours associated with this. We now feel better prepared and clear about the way forward. Would recommend Ros to anyone. She is professional, sensitive to her clients, and extremely knowledgeable. She also has her own children, so she can empathetically relate to us."
"Great workshop with lots of tips to take home and try! Fun evening with like minded struggling mums! I'm sure the recipes Ros kindly has shared with us will be a success as it sounds all absolutely yummy and easy to make!"
Contact me today! Haslemere & Surrey Nutritionist
Get advice you can trust from a registered nutritionist. Learn how you can cook healthy food for yourself and/or your family.
Or just email on