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I’m a GP and you’ve been weaning your baby all wrong – here’s the exact age you should start

WEANING can be both a confusing and distressing time for parents.

It can be a minefield when it comes to what to give your kids and when – especially if you’re a first-time parent.

Mums are often weaning their babies too early, the NHS has warned

It’s a process that can leave little ones in tears and parents in despair as you try to work out their likes and dislikes.

Previous research found that many people are finding the task difficult, with two in five parents giving their babies solid food too young.

Guidance from health chiefs at the NHS says tots should not be weaned off milk until around six months old.

But around 40 per cent of first-time mums in the UK were previously found to be already feeding their babies solid foods by the age of five months.

Experts warn kids weaned too soon face a higher risk of infections or slower weight gain.

Dr Zoe Williams, The Sun’s GP columnist, said: “Weaning can be a very confusing time for parents

“For most healthy babies, the easiest way to cut through the confusion is to wait until your baby is around six months old.

“This gives them time to develop properly so they can cope with solid foods.”



Earlier this year, Dr Zoe helped to spearhead a campaign by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities to keep new parents clued up about feeding their babies.

In a survey of 1,000 Brit mums and dads, 59 per cent said they were confused about when to move on from milk.

The OHID said babies are ready to start eating when they can sit up and hold their head still and have the coordination to pick up food, put it in their mouth and swallow it themselves.

Minister for women, Maria Caulfield, said: “The first 1,001 days are crucial for development and impact a child’s health for the rest of their life.

“Every child should have a solid foundation on which to build their health and I am determined to level up the opportunities and support for all children, no matter their background or where they grow up.”

Her comments came off the back of the campaign, launched in March 2022, to help all parents have the support and confidence to introduce their babies to solid food.

Weaning tots too soon can mean they stop drinking as much breast milk or formula, which is still vital for early development.

The campaign included the launch of an NHS website called the Start for Life Weaning Hub that gives advice and recipes for babies’ first meals.

NEWBORN TIPS

Vicky Sibson, First Steps Nutrition Trust said: “The introduction of solids is an important and exciting milestone for babies, which can have lasting impacts on their dietary habits and health.

“To get it right, their parents/carers need information and advice that is practical and independent.”

Mum of eight month old baby Rex said: “We started weaning Rex just after he was six months and at the beginning we didn’t know where to start!

“My friend pointed me in the direction of the Start for Life weaning hub, and it was a godsend.

“Everything was so clear and easy to understand. As busy parents, we all need some extra help and inspiration from time to time, so we particularly loved the meal ideas and found the recipes really easy to make.

“We also loved documenting all the funny faces Rex would pull when discovering new foods!”

Researchers at Kings College London previously found that breastfed babies weaned at an earlier age actually slept longer and would wake up less frequently in the night.

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