You know, so many well-meaning parents do as you did mrsmartin. As I said above the 6 month age is guidance not a hard and fast rule. I think a lot of babies are really ready for food before 6mo. And it's hard to fustrate your baby when they are clearly swiping food out of your hand .
I planned to wait until 6 months. But then my DD screamed and screamed and screamed until she was handed some food at 23 weeks. We BLW and she is getting better and better at it. I felt guilty at the time but she seems to be alright. As we BLW she isn't really digesting too much
Our HV (DD is almost 11 months) quoted a small stufy which was looking at the optimum age for introducing solids. She said there was a window between 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 months. With handed DD a piece of cucumber the day she turned 4 months (she just looked at me as much to say wtf?). We offered her bits and pieces and purees from then on. She progressed to texture then lumps and now is mainly BLW by her own preference. I remember her really taking to it around 5 1/2 - 6 months.
I think there's an ongoing study at the moment (may be called EAT you'd have to google) Initial findings there show a greater chance of allergies if weaning doesn't start until 6 months but study is not complete yet.
I've not read any literature about the UK - would like to read it if this is the case. Last time I looked I saw the NHS gave guidelines for readiness and stated these things were rare for babies under 6m to meet (my 5mo met all of them ).
I quote the WHO: A recent review of evidence has shown that, on a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants."
Note, they 6 months is the OPTIMUM. They don't say 6 months is a rule/under 6 months is bad/only feed bm until the magic age of 6 month.
I read something online recently but can't remember where. It was written by a mum who worked in the health profession who had heard through work that the six month weaning recommendation was going to be scrapped. Think it was due to by some babies struggling to accept solids at 6 months as the window had passed or something like that