Health Visitors Advice on When to Move Your Baby on to Solids

Health visitors are often asked when is the right time to start a baby onto solid foods and have some advice to Lincolnshire parents.

The World Health Organisation recommends that moving babies onto solid food should start at around six months of age, allowing their digestive system dime to develop and be able to manage fully with solid food.

Ashlei Fitzpatrick, Student Health Visitor at Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust said: "Before six months babies get all the vital nutrients they need from either the breast milk or formula milk they are given. Waiting until six months also helps babies to show they are ready. This can be seen by babies showing they can hold their head steadily and remain in a sitting position, they are showing signs of being able to coordinate their eyes, hands and mouth by starting to pick up food in their hands and put it to their mouths. Babies need to be able to swallow the food and not push it back out to show they are ready for solids.

"From six months family food can be given, preferably homemade, for example fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat and fish. By giving homemade food it allows your baby to experience different textures rather than all meals being pureed, plus additives such as salt and sugar can be avoided."

What can I give my baby when moving onto solids?

  • Your baby's first foods can include mashed or soft cooked fruit and vegetables like parsnip, potato, sweet potato, carrot, apple or pear, all cooled before eating
  • Soft fruits like peach or melon or baby rice or baby cereal mixed with your baby's usual mix are good too
  • Jars and packets can be handy but can be bigger in portion size
  • Breast or formula milk should be continued when starting to wean your baby as well as drinks of water
  • Sugary drinks or tea should be avoided to prevent tooth decay
  • All drinks should be given from a free flow or open cup as this is better for their dental health
  • By encouraging eating together as a family babies learn by watching others to eat a variety of foods and supports the routine of mealtimes.

For more helpful hints and advice please visit our dedicated health visiting website: http://lincolnshirehealthyfamilies.nhs.uk/healthvisiting/