When do I start weaning my baby?

Baby trying solids

The current recommendations for when it’s best to start weaning your little one can be confusing. South African paediatricians and immunologists are recommending you start anywhere between 17 and 24 weeks, based on new evidence that shows that starting solids later than six months does not reduce the risk of developing allergies (as was once thought) and that it may, in fact, be beneficial to start earlier.

The WHO (World Health Organisation) still suggests exclusively breastfeeding to 6 months, so there is, unfortunately, no definitive guideline.

By 24 weeks, however, there is a clear consensus that you should definitely start solids if you haven’t already.

A good rule of thumb is…

Don’t start before 17 weeks but make sure you have started by 24 weeks.

The rest is up to you and your baby.

Signs that your baby might be ready for solids include:

  • baby has doubled in weight from birth
  • baby is sitting well when supported
  • baby show signs of increasing hunger
  • baby is curious about what you’re eating
  • baby has lost the extruder reflex (i.e. stops using the tongue to push food out of the mouth)