Premature babies are babies born before 37 weeks. They need foods high in nutrition to help them grow and develop.
Introducing your baby to solid foods is often called 'weaning'.
When to start weaning your premature baby
Babies develop at different stages. Your baby's stage of development is more important than their age.
Start introducing solid foods when your baby shows signs that they are ready.
Your baby must be able to both:
- sit upright, supported or unsupported
- hold their head up easily
Your baby may have developed all the skills they need to eat solid foods from a corrected age of about 5 to 6 months.
Corrected age is your baby's age minus the number of weeks or months they were born early. For example, if your 7 month baby was born 2 months early, their corrected age is 5 months.
Non-urgent advice: Speak to your GP or public health nurse if:
- your baby has a corrected age of 7 months and is not showing signs that they are ready to start solid foods
What solid foods to give your premature baby
Premature babies usually have smaller tummies. They need to eat small amounts of nutritious foods often.
Include protein, energy-rich and iron-rich foods in your baby’s diet.
- mashed or blended meat or fish that is boneless
- mashed or blended banana, avocado or potato
- lentils or beans
There is no evidence that premature babies are more likely to develop allergies.
Non-urgent advice: Speak to your public health nurse or GP if:
- you're considering a vegetarian or vegan diet for your baby
- you have concerns about allergies
As your baby's feeding skills progress, you can introduce more textures and baby-led weaning.
Do not give your baby foods that can cause choking