Introducing solid foods to your baby
A good time to start introducing solid foods into your baby’s diet is usually around 6 months of age, before then they should be able to get all the nutrients they need from breastmilk or formula. If you have reason to think that your baby is ready for weaning earlier than 6 months you should check with your healthcare advisor first.
Remember that solid foods do not replace breastmilk or formula, this is a gradual process, allowing your little one to adjust.
Before starting on any solids your baby should be able to sit upright, with your help, easily supporting their own head. They are also likely to have shown an interest in food, reaching for yours and opening their mouth when offered a spoon. If your child is not showing any interest in solid food after 7 months, again check with your healthcare centre.
How to introduce solids for the first time
Some parents find that the best time to tempt their baby with their first solid foods is after a regular breastmilk/formula feed. When babies are very hungry they will reach for what is most familiar to satisfy their nutritional needs. Once they have had a modest feed they will be relaxed and more likely to welcome some food experimentation.
You will soon learn the signs as your baby gets excited at the sight of their familiar bowl and spoon. Equally, sometimes they will be more than happy to tell you when they are full or tired, by turning their head or pushing the spoon away.
Food types to get you started
From 6 months you can start with soft pureed foods, then you can progress over the next few months to mashed, grated, minced and finely chopped foods.
Soft food that your baby can hold and gnaw on should not be introduced until after 8 months.
This progression from smooth, spoon-fed mixture to sharing food textures along with the rest of the family usually takes around 6 months, so by 1 year of age your baby should be able to try a good variety of things, but remember to always supervise your baby when weaning.
Some good starter foods to puree:
Cooked: potato, carrots, beans, peas, squash, apple, egg, pasta, cauliflower
Raw: banana, melon, avocado, mango, papaya, peaches, plums
As with children of any age, it is important to avoid additives, salt and sugar. The more natural ingredients the better.
Remember to enjoy this milestone too, starting solids isn’t just about the next stage in eating… it’s also a great time for you to teach your baby about colours, tastes, smells and textures. To enjoy healthy food together and most of all to bond!
The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy says that unless your baby already has a known allergy, it is OK to give your child foods containing eggs and nuts even if you have a family history of allergies.
At our Cherry Bridge Station Centres in NSW, all babies in our care will be offered expert nutritional care, whether they are breastfeeding, bottle feeding or weaning.
“We believe that good eating habits are an essential part of our educational programs. The planning, preparation and serving of meals at Cherry Bridge Station is a vital part of our quality of care. All our meals are prepared on the premises in our own fully equipped kitchen.”