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Introducing solid foods

Introducing your baby to solid food is a big milestone. It can be really exciting but also quite daunting. These tips will help make mealtimes fun and stress-free for you and your baby.

Top tips for starting solids

  • Start when your baby is ready – for most babies this is when they are about 6 months old; until then they get all the nutrients they need from breastmilk or formula.

    The signs to look out for are:
    • Sitting up unsupported and holding their head steady
    • Coordinating their eyes, hands and mouth to look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth
    • Moving food to the back of their mouth and swallowing it.
  • Offer your baby finger foods – if they get the chance to pick up finger food and feed themselves, they’ll learn quicker and enjoy the experience of eating.
  • Make mealtimes sociable and fun – babies are more likely to try and then enjoy new foods in a relaxed environment and when they see you eating and enjoying the same food.
  • Learn the signs that your baby is full – don’t insist on finishing meals.

    The signs to look out for are:
    • turning away
    • getting distracted
    • shutting mouth or spitting food out
    • pushing food or spoon away
    • dropping food on the floor
  • Accept the mess – mealtimes might be pretty messy while you baby is learning. Prepare the space before a meal by putting a plastic mat or towel under the highchair.
  • Develop healthy eating habits right from the start – offer a wide range of healthy foods early on so your baby is more likely to keep accepting them as they grow – even if they go through the odd phase of refusing certain foods along the way.
  • Don’t be put off by the faces your baby makes – pulling a face is a normal response to something unfamiliar, after the sixth or seventh attempt babies will usually accept the food.
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Starting solids

Guidance and support for starting solid foods

healthy eating right from the start
Healthy eating: Right from the start

Helping babies and young children develop healthy eating habits right from the start