Last edited 10/2018 and last reviewed 06/2022

This is the process of introducing non-milk feeds to an infant. Several factors contribute to when weaning is appropriate:

  • gastrointestinal and renal physiology must be sufficiently mature to cope with the variety provided by a weaning diet.
  • babies are generally able to form a bolus of food at about five months.
  • babies may be able to chew at about 6 months.

NHS advice suggests (1,2):

  • babies get most of the nutrients they need from breast milk or first infant formula until they are around 6 months old

  • if you are breastfeeding, having breast milk alone up to the age of around 6 months will help protect your baby against illness and infections. Breast milk will carry on protecting them for as long as you carry on feeding

  • waiting until your baby is ready for solid food means they'll quickly be able to feed themselves and will be able to swallow more easily

  • your baby gets all the fluid, nutrients and energy they need from breastmilk or formula - this is why it's best to hold off introducing solids until they are around six months old (2)