Introducing Solid Foods to your Baby
It is an exciting milestone for you and your little one when you introduce solid foods for the first time. Adding solid foods to your baby’s diet is an important step in their development, as it signals the transitioning from formula or breastmilk to a more balanced or varied diet. It is important to understand the journey of introducing solid foods and when to start.
When to Start
The Australian Government’s Department of Health recommends introducing solids to the diet once the baby is around 6 months of age. This is when the baby:
- Shows an interest in food.
- Can sit up with support.
- Picks up objects with their thumb and index finger.
Babies should always be exclusively breastfed until 6 months of age, as specified by the World Health Organization.
How to Start
Start by introducing new foods one at a time, allowing around three days between each introduction. This will give you time to observe for any possible allergies or intolerances. Some of the first foods to try are:
- Pureed vegetables, such as sweet potatoes.
- Pureed or soft cooked fruit, such as apples or bananas.
- Soft cooked grains, such as pasta, rice or oats.
- Pureed or minced meat and poultry.
It is important to serve the food at a temperature that is comfortable for your baby and make sure the food is of a smooth, soft consistency that your baby can move around their mouth. As their tolerance for lumpy or hard textures increases, you can begin to introduce more complex meals.
As your baby’s appetite increases and they begin to enjoy a wider variety of flavours and textures, you can begin to offer your baby three meals a day, in addition to breastfeeding or formula.
Babies continue to need breastmilk or formula as their primary source of nutrition right up until their first birthday. Until then, food still only provides energy, vitamins and minerals while breastmilk or formula remains the only source of nutrition.
Introducing solid foods may seem like a daunting task, but the key is to take your time and move slowly. With patience and care, you and your little one will be enjoying meals together in no time!