Why it's good to wait
Babies can get all the fluid, nutrients and energy they need from breast milk or first infant formula until they’re about six months old. Having just breast milk until around six months will continue to help protect your baby from illness and infection. Babies who aren't breastfed are more likely to get diarrhoea and respiratory infections.
Some signs might make you think your baby is ready for solid foods before they actually are:
- chewing fists
- waking in the night when they have previously slept through
- wanting extra milk feeds
This is normal behaviour and doesn’t always mean your baby is hungry or ready to start solid food. Starting solid foods won't make them any more likely to sleep through the night because some babies wake when they're in a light sleeping phase. During the night, your baby moves from deep sleep to light sleep several times and, while they're in a light sleep, they often wake themselves up. Sometimes they may just need more milk feeds.
Do babies who are big for their age need solid foods earlier?
It’s easy to see why you might think that babies who are big for their age should start solids early, but that’s not true. Babies are able to get all the fluid, energy and nutrients they need through breast milk or first infant formula alone until they are about six months old.
But every baby is different, so if you think your baby is ready before six months, speak to your health visitor.