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Starting Solids

Starting solids means gradually introducing a variety of foods to your baby alongside breast milk or infant formula until they are eating the same healthy foods as the rest of the family. Sometimes this is called weaning, introducing solids or complementary feeding.

On this page you will find a range of key messages and lots of helpful resources including our new NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde ‘Starting Solids Show’ videos, designed to help you get started with introducing first foods to your baby. This information will support the Fun First Foods Booklet: An easy guide to introducing solid foods  you will receive from your Health Visitor or Family Nurse.

In the first six months babies get all the fluid and nutrients they need from breastmilk or from infant formula. Ther...

In the first six months babies get all the fluid and nutrients they need from breastmilk or from infant formula. There is no need to introduce any other foods before this time.


Every baby is different but the evidence tells us that babies aged around 6 months old, who show signs of developmental readiness, are ready to begin having solid foods alongside breastmilk or infant formula. The signs of developmental readiness are described below, as per the Fun First Food booklet:
• They can stay in a sitting position, they can hold their head steady
• They can reach out and grab things accurately; for example, they may look at a toy, pick it up and bring it to their mouth by themselves
• If your baby is around six months of age and the signs above are there, you can try offering a spoonful of soft food to see how they cope. For more information, you can check out the Fun First Foods booklet 

Up to around 6 months of age, babies get all the fluid and nutrients they need from breastmilk or infant formula....

  • Up to around 6 months of age, babies get all the fluid and nutrients they need from breastmilk or infant formula. There is no need to introduce any other foods or drinks before this time.
  • From around 6 months, your baby will need more nutrients than milk alone can provide such as iron. If breastfeeding, continue to breastfeed alongside solid foods and if formula feeding, continue with first (stage) infant formula milk alongside solids.
  • If formula feeding, first formula milk (branded “up to 6 months/first stage”) is all your baby needs at any age, unless your Doctor or Health Visitor gives you different advice. There are many different brands and names of formula milk but there is no benefit to using anything other than the first stage milk. Therefore, you can avoid second stage, follow-on, hungrier baby, toddler formula milk, etc. For more information on this topic visit the First Steps Nutrition Trust website. 
  • Cow’s milk (or any other animal milk or non-diary alternative) should not be given to babies as a main drink before they are 12 months of age. However, full fat cow’s milk (or unsweetened non-diary alternatives) can be used in cooking before they are 12 months of age. After that, these can be given as a main drink but it should be full fat and pasteurised and unsweetened. Semi skimmed milk can be used only from 2 years and skimmed from 5 years of age, if child is eating well.
  • Introduce a cup from around 6 months and offer sips of water with meals. Using an open or a free-flow cup (without a valve) will help your baby learn to sip and is better for their teeth. You should receive the free flow cup from the Childsmile programme.
  • From around 6 months, water straight from the tap is the best drink in addition to baby’s normal milk. Bottled mineral water is not advisable for babies in the UK.
  • All food and drink should be full fat until 2 years of age. For example, full fat yogurt, cheese, milk (added only to food and cooking before the age of 1).
  • No salt or foods high in salt should be given to babies. These include processed meats (e.g. bacon, sausage, ham, salami), crisps or foods made with stock cubes/gravies/soya sauce (this is not an exhaustive list).
  • Babies should not be given honey before 1 year of age as their digestive system is not fully developed. 

This is a series of four ‘Starting Solids Show’ videos by one of our Community Dietitians, Rachel. She covers everyth...

This is a series of four ‘Starting Solids Show’ videos by one of our Community Dietitians, Rachel. She covers everything you need to know about introducing solids to your baby as well as information on the new Vitamin D product now available.

Starting Solids Show - Getting Started (Part 1)

Starting Solids Show - Practical Tips (Part 2)

Starting Solids Show - All About Textures and Suitable Drinks for Your Baby (Part 3)

Starting Solids Show - More Healthy Meals & Snacks and a Note on Food Safety (Part 4

In these four videos, our community chef, Sandra, shows you how to easily prepare a range of tasty and healthy meals ...

In these four videos, our community chef, Sandra, shows you how to easily prepare a range of tasty and healthy meals for your baby and the rest of the family. She also gives some information to help you on your starting solids journey and tips how to save money.

Starting Solids Show: Cookalong Videos - Creamy Lentil and Vegetable Curry

Starting Solids Show: Cookalong Videos - Simple Fish Pie (2 Variations

Starting Solids Show: Cookalong Videos - Simple Tomato & Veg Sauce (& Quorn Variation)

Starting Solids Show: Cookalong Videos - Stewed Apple with Apricots

Our community chef, Sandra, shows you how to make quick, tasty and healthy meals for your baby which the rest of the ...

Our community chef, Sandra, shows you how to make quick, tasty and healthy meals for your baby which the rest of the family can enjoy too.

Starting Solids Show - Short Video Recipe - Deliciously Creamy Porridge with Prune

Starting Solids Show - Short Video Recipe  - Cottage Pie with Mash

Starting Solids Show: Short Video Recipe - Deliciously Creamy Porridge with Blueberries

Starting Solids Show – Short Video Recipe -  Simply Mashed Banana

It's going to be fun, but messy, at first so be prepared. You will need some essentials, e.g. a high chair, bib, free...

It's going to be fun, but messy, at first so be prepared. You will need some essentials, e.g. a high chair, bib, free flow cup, soft weaning spoons and a plastic bowl. Also useful would be a  messy mat and plastic containers and ice cube trays.

All equipment for spoon feeding must be cleaned thoroughly with hot soapy water and dried carefully, or washed in a dishwasher, or can be sterilised, until your baby is six months old.

Some of the shop bought baby foods can be up to 27 times more expensive than their home-made equivalents. For more...

Some of the shop bought baby foods can be up to 27 times more expensive than their home-made equivalents.

For more information please see the Starting Solids Price Comparison Tables and Report(pdf)

It is advised you never leave your baby unsupervised at mealtimes in case they choke. Please see your Fun First Foods...

It is advised you never leave your baby unsupervised at mealtimes in case they choke. Please see your Fun First Foods booklet (page 13) for more information on safety and good practice at mealtimes. You can also watch the video below by British Red Cross on what to do if your baby chokes:

If your child’s first teeth have not come through yet, it is still important to start them on the path to good oral h...

If your child’s first teeth have not come through yet, it is still important to start them on the path to good oral health. In her video, Fiona, one of our Health Improvement Practitioners gives some tips and advice on how to do this.

Starting Solids Show - First Teeth (Oral Health)

You can also find out more information including teething, caring for your baby's first teeth and healthy snack ideas on the Childsmile website.

Vitamin D is essential for keeping bones healthy. It is very hard to get vitamin D from foods or the Scottish sunshin...

Vitamin D is essential for keeping bones healthy. It is very hard to get vitamin D from foods or the Scottish sunshine alone, so it is important that you follow the Scottish Government recommendations below:
• breastfed babies from birth to 1 year of age should be given a daily supplement containing 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D
• formula-fed babies shouldn't be given a vitamin D supplement until they're having less than 500ml (about a pint) of infant formula a day, as infant formula is fortified with vitamin D
• children aged 1 to 4 years old should be given a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D

Vitamin D supplements are now available free of charge for all breastfeeding women and children under 3 years old available at all pharmacies in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board area.

Find out more about Vitamin D.

Pregnant women and families on low income who have children aged up to three years old might be entitled to Best Star...

Pregnant women and families on low income who have children aged up to three years old might be entitled to Best Start benefits. For more information, please visit:

Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods - mygov.scot

and

Best Start Foods - Citizens Advice Scotland for Best Start Foods

 

 

Due to COVID-19 all local starting solids events (sometimes called ‘weaning fayres’) have been cancelled until furthe...

Due to COVID-19 all local starting solids events (sometimes called ‘weaning fayres’) have been cancelled until further notice.

 

The following are further information sources on all aspects of introducing solids to your baby and lots more, from p...

The following are further information sources on all aspects of introducing solids to your baby and lots more, from premature babies, speech development, infant feeding and oral health to safety.

Premature Babies

The NHSGGC KIDS website provided information on prematurity.

Please note the information for introducing foods to premature babies (pureed food only at this stage) is very different from introducing solids to a baby born at full term and therefore, it only applies to premature babies. For more information on this topic, please see Rachel’s Part 1 video.

The BLISS website Bliss - Weaning your premature baby also contains information on the topic of introducing solids to your premature baby.

Nutrition

Did you know you can access ‘Fun First Foods’ booklet by Pubic Health Scotland in other formats:

Audio version of the ‘Fun First Foods’ booklet by Pubic Health Scotland

And in other languages: Arabic, Farsi, Portuguese, Russian, Vietnamese, Urdu, traditional & simplified Chinese, Polish and easy read format

First Steps Nutrition Trust 

First Steps Nutrition Trust (FSN) - click on ‘Eating well resources’ then ‘Infants & new mums’ and scroll down to ‘Eating well: the first year A guide to introducing solids and eating well up to baby's first birthday’. (Please note that in line with the Scottish Government and NHS guidelines, it is recommended to start introducing solids with well mashed (not pureed) foods. Therefore, it is suggested that in place of some of the FSN Trust’s recipe suggestions to blend/purée the food, a well-mashed texture (not blended) is used from around 6 months, increasing the texture with age.)
& Infant milks for parents & carers — First Steps Nutrition Trust –information on suitable milks for babies and lots more. 

Lots of useful information for parents from Parent Club, Scottish Government

Parent Club Weaning Tips   Parent Club - What is weaning

Complementary Feeding fact sheet by British Dietetic Association. Please note that the information on the vitamin supplementation, especially Healthy Start/Vitamin D for Scotland is different.

All you need to know about salt (for all age groups) from Action on Salt website

Vitamin D

The most up to date information on Vitamin D can be found here. You will find information on the new free Vitamin D supplements within NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board area (as of July 2021) and lots more on Vitamin D.

Oral Health

Childsmile programme – improving the oral health of children in Scotland, Scottish Government & Public Health Scotland.

Speech development

Information on Listening, Understanding, Talking and Interacting can be found on our KIDS website.

Information around breastfeeding, infant feeding and lots more

Unicef -  Support for parents

Safety -  relating to introducing solids to your baby

At Home -  Food Standards Scotland  - these tips will help make sure the food you cook and eat won’t do you any harm.

British Red Cross - Baby First Aid: How to save a choking baby

Please contact your Health Visitor or Family Nurse if you have any further questions about introducing solids to your baby.

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Last Updated: 31 August 2021