Advice & Info Articles:

new ideas for starting solids for your baby


Disclaimer: This fact sheet is for education purposes only. Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for your child

The introduction of soft, solid food is an important stage in your baby's development. It is an exciting and challenging time for you and your baby. Go at your baby's pace as all children are different and progress at a different pace.

The following information can be used as a guide for the introduction of solids into your baby's diet.

When to start

Until 4 months of age, your baby needs only human milk or infant formula to grow and develop. However, around 4/ 6 months your child's nutrient stores and requirements are no longer met by breast milk/ formula alone in particular for iron and zinc. Introducing solids can help to ensure your baby receives all the vitamins and minerals needed to grow and develop into a healthy child.

Around 6 months your baby may shows signs that he/she is ready for starting solids. These may include:

  • Wanting to put things in his/her mouth
  • Able to suck small amounts of pureed food from a spoon
  • Interested in food eaten by others
  • More frequent feeding
  • Can sit upright when supported with good control of the head and neck.

Solids can be introduced gradually. There is no need to force food - human milk or formula is still the most important part of the baby's diet. At this stage solid foods are "tastes" for your baby.

The first spoonful (Around 6 months)

  • Offer food between or after a milk feed. Start by using a firm plastic spoon with small shallow bowl.
  • The first solids need to be sloppy, smooth in texture (i.e. no lumps) and mild in taste.
  • fresh avo and banana are an excellent food to start with as they can be eaten raw.
  • Other puree foods are: vegetables such as pumpkin, potato, carrot and zucchini; fruit such as cooked apple, pear, melon and banana.
  • Start with one to two teaspoons of solids. Increase the quantity to two to three tablespoons, and then build up to three meals a day at your baby's own pace.
  • Try one new food at a time and introduce a new food every 2-4 days adding onto their existing diet.

Notes:

  • Always wash your hands before preparing food and use clean utensils
  • A sip cup can be introduced from 6 months
  • When appropriate try adapting family meals to be suitable for your child rather than preparing separate meals i.e. puree meats and vegetables used for the family meal.
  • Small quantities of food can be frozen in ice cube trays or stored in airtight plastic bags and thawed as needed.
  • Commercial baby foods are a suitable alternative if you do not have enough time to prepare meals however try not to over-rely on these as it is important a child tries a variety of different foods to develop taste preferences.

It is not necessary to add salt, sugar, honey or other flavourings to any food.

Do not add solids to a bottle. Babies need to learn that there is a difference between eating and drinking milk

 

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