I’m a GP and here’s the 3 signs your baby is ready to be weaned

A GP has reminded parents there are three clear signs that your baby is ready to be weaned.

Dr Sara Kayat, an NHS GP, said the majority of first-time parents get confused about when they should start giving their little one some solids. 

She wrote on Instagram: “Weaning is crucial milestone within the first 1,001 critical days of a baby’s life. 

“However, almost 60 per cent of first-time parents find the decision to start weaning confusing. 

“The Start for Life weaning hub is packed with NHS-endorsed advice, videos and tips, plus simple, healthy recipes, it puts everything parents need to know in one place.

“I found weaning really fun, seeing Harris’ [her son] expressions as he tasted new foods and explored textures was priceless.”

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Dr Sara, a TV medic, pointed mums and dads to the NHS Start for Life website, which is full of information about weaning.

What are the signs?

The NHS says the three signs appear together from around six months of age.

It means your baby is ready for their first solid foods, alongside breast milk or first infant formula.

If you baby is ready to be weaned they will be able to: 

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  1. Stay in a sitting position, holding their head steady
  2. Coordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at their food, pick it up and put it in their mouth
  3. Swallow food (rather than spit it back out)

There are also behaviours that parents can mistake for signs of being ready for solid foods, when they are not.

These are:

  • Chewing fists
  • Wanting extra milk feeds
  • Waking up in the night (more than usual)

The NHS adds: “If your baby was born prematurely, ask your health visitor or GP for advice on when to start weaning.”

What to feed your baby

From six months old, it’s recommended to give babies a little bit of solid food once a day, blended or mashed. 

You can also start trying foods that are common for triggering allergies, such as cows’ milk, nuts and fish.

These should be added one at a time, so you can spot any reactions.

The NHS says: “To begin with they will still be getting most of their energy and nutrients from breast milk or first infant formula. Breast milk or first infant formula should be their main drink during the first year.”

From around seven months, babies are more used to eating and can try “more mashed, lumpier foods”. 

Babies take different times getting used to lumpy-textured food, but it’s important to keep offering it to them and staying with them to make sure they are eating safely. 

Pulling funny faces doesn't mean they don’t like it – they are simply trying new things!

At ten months old, your baby can have three meals a day in addition to their milk feeds.

Lunch and tea can include a main course and a pudding (such as fruit or unsweetened yoghurt).

The NHS says: “Your baby should be enjoying a wide range of tastes and textures, with bigger chunks of soft food and a wider variety of finger foods. 

“They should be finding it easier to pick up small pieces of food and feed themselves.”

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After they are a year old, they should be having three meals a day, and potentially two weaning snacks, such as fruit or veggie sticks, toast, bread or yoghurt. 

The NHS says: “Your child is now ready to eat healthier meals with the rest of the family — just in smaller portions and cut up into smaller pieces.”

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