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Introducing solid foods


In their first year, babies will be getting most of their energy and nutrients from breast milk or first infant formula. Your baby should be introduced to a varied diet, alongside breast milk or first infant formula from around six months of age. At this age, most babies can sit up unaided, pick up food, put it in their mouth and swallow it rather than pushing it out again with their tongue. Remember your baby’s tummy is tiny and fills up quickly, so offer milk feeds after food.

If you're breastfeeding, you can continue for as long as you and your baby want to. There's no need to stop before you're both ready. Breastfeeding still has lots of benefits for you and your baby after six months.  It also continues to provide the balance of nutrients your baby needs.

Water can be introduced in a cup or ‘free-flow’ beaker from six months and alongside breast milk or formula, is the only drink they need in the first year. Start4life has expert NHS advice with simple, healthy weaning recipe and meal ideas.

If your baby was born before 37 weeks they may still be able to start solids at six months if they have caught up with their milestones but some babies may need a bit longer to be developmentally ready. Your paediatrician will be able to advise you. Bliss provides information about introducing your premature baby to solid foods. When you begin introducing solids to your baby, start with simple, unprocessed foods without salt or sugar. It’s important to take time to enjoy mealtimes with your baby. Your baby will copy you and enjoy the foods you like.

Your baby’s meals can be made from the same ingredients as homemade family meals just without any salt or sugar added to your baby’s portions. Your baby may prefer to start with a smooth puree or be ready with lumpier textures but encourage finger feeding, and expect a mess. There are just a couple of things to avoid; whole nuts, grapes or tomatoes which may be a choking hazard and honey before one. You should also avoid some mercury-rich fish such as marlin and swordfish and remember never leave your baby alone when eating.

Healthy StartIf you are on certain benefits and are pregnant or have children under the age of four, you can claim Healthy Start vouchers. Find out if this applies to you at Healthy Start. These weekly vouchers can be used to buy milk, fruit and vegetables, pulses, and infant formula milk. You can also get vitamin supplements.

Children’s centres and health visiting teams are offering virtual workshops to guide you through the weaning journey. You can choose the date below and book by phoning the number given for that session. Sessions are available to any family in Kent, you don't have to live in that area to book a place.

9 and 30 April, or 03000 418008

7 and 21 May, or 03000 421 167

10 and 24 June, or 03000 414941

10 and 24 July, or 03000 417770

6 and 27 August, or 03000 420895

2 and 9 September, or 03000 411210

8 and 24 October,

5 and 19 November, or 03000 423451

4 and 12 December,

Some children's centres offer face-to-face sessions as well, please check with your local centre to see what is available in your area.

You can also watch our ‘Introducing Solids’ PowerPoint videos which covers the topics we discuss on the virtual workshops including getting your baby started on solid foods, feeding your baby responsively, practical tips and meal ideas and eating safely and meal ideas.

Useful resources

  • Start4life has expert NHS advice with simple, healthy weaning recipe and meal ideas
  • Read about what to expect when introducing solids and breastfeeding at Beside You.
  • Responsive feeding advice is available from UNICEF.
  • The Children Dietetics Team has useful resources.