Starting solids

Getting it right

What happens to babies before they are born and in their early years can affect their health and life opportunities later on. For example, excessive weight gain during pregnancy can increase a baby's birth weight and as birth weight increases, so does the risk of childhood obesity. Those who grow up in a caring and safe environment and have a healthy relationship with their parents/carers are more likely to do better at school and as they go through life.

The Department of Health recommends babies are not started on solid food until they are around six months old. Research shows babies can get all the nutrients they need from breast milk or infant formula until six months old. Waiting till then gives their digestive system time to develop fully so it can cope with solid foods. We offer Starting Solids workshops-to book a place contact the Health Visiting Team on 020 8661 3094.

Babies should be encouraged to be active throughout the day, every day. Before your baby begins to crawl, encourage them to be physically active by reaching and grasping, pulling and pushing, moving their head, body and limbs during daily routines, and during supervised floor play, including tummy time. Once babies can move around, encourage them to be as active as possible in a safe, supervised and nurturing play environment.

Please see this booklet for more information Introducing Solid Foods

A healthy weight

Baby’s weight should be monitored regularly. Most babies will not need to be weighed more than once a month in the first 6 months, once every two months between 6-12 months and once every three months thereafter unless there are concerns. There are concerns that babies who are weaned off breast milk too early can become overweight, as it can be difficult for parents to know how much and what to give in the form of pureed foods.

Babies who are not at a healthy weight can be at an increased risk of a range of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Children who are above a healthy weight are much more likely to continue to have unhealthy weight into adulthood. A healthy weight will have the best outcomes for baby’s health now and in the future.

Healthy Start Scheme

With Healthy Start, you get free vouchers every week to spend on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins. To see if you qualify visit www.healthystart.nhs.uk