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Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Weaning premature infants

What is weaning?

Weaning is the change from milk to solid food. As babies grow their nutritional needs change and are no longer met by breast or bottle alone. At this time a mixed diet is required. Weaning also helps babies to progress from sucking to biting and chewing.

When to wean?

There are no clear guidelines about when to wean premature babies but generally the earlier the baby was born the later we recommend weaning. We suggest you start offering your baby solids between 4 and 7 months after birth. The reasons we recommend this are: -

  • Before 4 months your baby’s gut is unlikely to be ready to cope with different foods and textures.
  • It seems that around 4—7 months, babies are quite receptive to new flavours. After this time they may become increasingly suspicious of new foods.
  • Milk alone is not sufficient after about 6 months. Please discuss when to start weaning with either your Health Visitor, Children’s Nurse or Dietician. However if you have a family history of allergy, or your baby has had gut surgery, please discuss weaning with your Dietician.