You can start introducing solid foods to your baby’s diet from around six months old, in addition to their usual breast or formula milk. In the beginning, the most important thing is for your baby to learn about and get used to different foods and textures - it is not about how much they actually eat. Continuing their usual milk will mean your baby will still get all the nutrients they need, allowing you to let them explore new tastes and textures worry free.
Let your baby touch and hold the food, and if they show interest, let them try and feed themselves. This is a new learning experience for them, let them explore and enjoy their new foods – try not to worry about the mess!
Although solid foods can be introduced from six months onwards, different babies will be ready to start weaning at different times. To help you know if your baby is ready, look out for some of these common signs:
Finally, try and relax at mealtimes – keeping you and your baby relaxed will increase the likelihood of them trying new foods. It is normal for babies to only eat one meal a day well; the others may not be as successful but as long as your baby’s weight appears healthy there is no need to worry. The next meal time might be better!
Weaning is exciting new experience for you and your baby. There are lots of different foods to taste and explore, and remember, if it ends up on the floor, it’s not a reflection on your cooking skills! When introducing solids, your baby’s usual milk should be continued for as long as possible, slowly decreasing the volume of feeds a day, relative to the amount and variation of food eaten.
Try giving one new food a day, giving your baby a variety of different tastes and textures.
Good first foods include:
Once the initial foods are accepted increase the number of meals in a day and begin to add soft, non-dairy protein such as chicken, fish (check carefully for bones!) and mashed hard-boiled egg, as well as a starchy carbohydrate like pasta or toast. Olive oil can be used in recipes to increase your baby’s fat and calorie intake if needed – stick to one or two teaspoons per day.
Drinks – from 6 months old you should introduce a toddler cup rather than a bottle. During meal times have a cup of water and encourage your baby to take sips.
Around 8 - 12 months of age, your baby will gradually start to move towards eating three, varied meals a day. These should include a range of all food groups and be served as a mixture of textures; soft finger foods and mashed or chopped foods.
Your baby will now be eating three meals a day, as well as eating healthy snacks like fruit, vegetable sticks, toast and rice cakes. Each day, you can give your baby:
Before introducing solids, or if you have any concerns about feeding your baby, or your baby’s health, please discuss with your health visitor or GP.
Date of preparation: September 2016
Date of preparation: May 2016