At around four to six months, babies begin to sit up with support, can control their heads and often put anything that they can hold into their mouths.
At this stage they may seem less satisfied with the milk that they are given and more conscious and curious of adult eating habits, especially those of their parents. This is a good sign that they are ready to start eating solid foods themselves, which complements the milk that they are given, with the added benefit of providing even more nutrients. This is a very exciting phase for babies as they can experiment and learn to enjoy new and different tastes you offer them.
It’s true that all babies grow and develop differently. Many are happy to wait until six months to begin weaning, however others may seem to be ready before that time. Four months (17 weeks) is the earliest age that you should consider beginning to wean your baby.
For further advice it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional. If you are not sure about when to begin weaning ask you health visitor for advice. You could also give your baby a weaning spoon to hold and see if they’re happy putting it into their mouth.
Pre-term babies need to be assessed individually by the medical team looking after them. Five to eight months after the birth is likely to be the best time to begin weaning. However it is also best to wait until three months after their estimated date of delivery to allow for their muscle co-ordination to develop. Pre-term babies at this age may still not have good head control so you will need to make sure your baby’s head and neck are well supported when you are feeding them solid foods.
What equipment will I need to start weaning my baby?
• Several strong, plastic spoons in a bright colour to catch your baby's attention and small enough for a little mouth
• Cups with handles
• A colourful plastic bowl, preferably with a sucker on the bottom to prevent upsets
• Plenty of bibs and clean cloths
• A food blender/processor for mixing baby food
• Rubber ice-trays for storing baby portions, and other storage container
• A V-shaped cushion is ideal for propping up your baby when they’re just beginning to wean
• A high chair for feeding time, or a table-top clip-on
All products in the Philips AVENT weaning range are interchangeable. When it's time to wean your baby, you can convert Philips AVENT bottles to trainer cups by adding spouts and trainer handles to teach baby to drink other liquids independently
The anti-slip bases on Philips AVENT Mealtime tableware mean less spills and splashes. With easy-scoop sides they're ideal for self-feeding, and the plate dividers keep your little one's foods separate
When your little one is confident eating solid food, a variety of foods from four food
groups should be included every day so they get the full range of nutrients they need.
Ideally these foods should be the nutritious family foods that baby and the whole family will eat. The four food groups are:
• Starchy foods – potatoes, rice, oats, pasta and other cereals
• Meat, fish, eggs, smooth nut butters and pulses such as lentils, dhal, hummus
• Fruits and vegetables
• Full-fat yoghurt and cheese. Full fat milk can also be used during cooking.
Some babies master the art of eating much quicker than others but with all children you
should try to make meal times a pleasant experience for you both. Some tips:
• Smile and talk positively to your baby when you are offering food so that your baby is
confident something pleasant is going to happen
• Offer nutritious but flavoursome food for your baby to enjoy
• Go at your baby’s pace and let your baby decide how much they want to eat
• Your baby is telling you they are happy to eat more when they open their mouth as the
• Your baby is telling you they don’t want any more food when they keep their mouth shut,
turn their head way or put their hand in front of their mouth
• Offer some finger foods at all meals and as they get older give them their own spoon so
that they can try feeding themselves
• Keep them involved in the meal by allowing them to play with their food. This helps
them learn about foods and develop a positive attitude towards food
• Expect mess! Clear it all up at the end of the meal, not after each spoonful. Make it
easy to clear up by putting down paper or a plastic sheet around the highchair
• Give both a savoury and sweet course at meals. This gives two opportunities for
nutrients to be consumed and increases the variety of foods they are eating
• Puddings are a valuable part of the meal and should not be used as a reward for eating the savoury course
Your baby's first teeth start to develop before they’re even born and then when they’re about 6 to 9 months old these teeth will start to emerge through the gums. Your baby’s first tooth will more than likely appear in the middle of the lower jaw, followed by their bottom front teeth, their top front teeth and then the top and bottom incisors either side. Their complete set of 20 baby teeth will usually have come through by the age of 2.5 years.
Some babies show very few signs or symptoms of teething, while others find it a more painful experience. While your little one is teething, their gums may become red, one cheek might flush, they might dribble, gnaw and chew a lot or just become fretful. There are lots of ways you can help make teething easier for your child.
Baby teething tips
• Give them plenty of extra cuddles – whatever you need to do to help them feel better
• It can be helpful to give your child something hard to chew on
• Teething rings that can be cooled in the fridge can be particularly soothing
• Teething gels containing local anaesthetics can provide some pain relief from sore gums. These must not be given to babies under four months old
• Sugar-free paracetamol suspension, specially designed for babies and children, may also be given. Be sure to follow the instructions according to your child's age
The Philips AVENT BPA-free range of teethers massage your baby's sore gums throughout their different teething stages. The colourful, playful designs perfectly fit your baby's hands and mouth to help soothe teething pain, and they can be placed in the fridge or freezer to cool your baby's gums.