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Introducing solids - What do you feed your baby

Starting on solid food is a very exciting time for you and your baby. There is a wide variety of different colours and textures of food available for them to try. Offering finger foods (like soft cooked vegetable sticks) can be a fun way to introduce solid food.

Be patient it can take several attempts (up to 20 times for some) for your baby to accept new foods, particularly as they get older. They may make funny faces, but this does not mean they do not like it, they are just getting used to new flavours and textures.

Watch Introducing Solids - Foods and Textures - YouTube - video clip produced by the Cardiff and Vale Nutrition and Dietetic Department.

From 6 months

There is a wide range of suitable unprocessed foods that can be included from 6 months onwards. These include:

Vegetables, potatoes, plain cereal foods, pulses, meat, fish, tofu, groundnuts, ground seeds, and fruits.

Why not offer a mixture of finger foods and purees, moving quickly from smooth purees to foods containing soft lumps. Babies tend to prefer sweet tastes, so it’s a good idea to begin with offering vegetables that are bitterer tasting like:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach

This will help them get used to, enjoying stronger flavours, and a wider variety of foods as they get older.  

Avoid adding any sugar, salt or artificial sweeteners to your baby’s food. Instead, use naturally sweet foods such as fruits or sweet vegetables to sweeten if needed.

Try to limit commercial (packaged) baby foods as much as possible as these are expensive, usually too sweet and bland in taste and do not offer a variety of textures required for your baby to progress well with solid foods. They are also less nutritious than what can be prepared with natural foods at home.

The only suitable drinks are either water, breastmilk or an appropriate infant formula. A cup can be introduced for sips of drink from the age of 6 months onwards.

7-9 months

By this age, your baby should be managing a range of mashed foods as well as finger foods and will begin to establish a regular pattern of 3 meals a day with milk feeds between meals.

Breakfasts can be egg based, include yogurt, or be cereal based. Breakfast time is also a great opportunity to include a range of fruits. A savoury meal and savoury finger food should be offered at lunch and teatime followed by breastmilk or first infant formula after the meal. Remember to offer unprocessed foods. Main meals should include a source of protein such as fish, beans, lentils, eggs or tender meat with soft cooked vegetables and a source of starchy carbohydrate (e.g. rice, pasta, potatoes, sweet potato or bread)

Make sure that food is mashed or chopped and free of bones, gristle or any hard or chewy lumps. You can add breastmilk or formula to make the food easier to manage if necessary.

Breastfed babies will continue to feed on demand with the intake of breastmilk declining as they progress with food intake. Formula fed babies will probably have about 600ml / day in a cup or a bottle.

10-12 months

By this age your baby will be able to progress to a range of minced and chopped foods and will continue with 3 meals a day as well as up to 3 drinks of milk during the day.

In addition to a savoury meal and savoury finger, foods (as suggested at lunch and tea from 7-9 months), a dessert may now be introduced after meals. Desserts should include fruit, and are also a good opportunity to offer a portion of dairy foods such as yogurt or a milk based pudding (e.g. custard, rice pudding or semolina).

Encourage your baby to drink from an open cup at meal times. It is important to encourage babies to feed themselves with their fingers and to use spoons so that they have daily opportunities to practice and gradually become independent at meal times.

For further information and tips for introducing solids to your baby see this link: Your baby's first solid foods - NHS (

Remember the consumption of commercial baby foods isn’t advised on a frequent basis:

  • Commercial baby jars / pouches are usually expensive
  • They tend to have less nutritional value, are sweeter and can be bland in taste compared with homemade meals.
  • The texture of manufactured baby food will be smoother than the foods you make yourself, so why not mash or cut up a small portion of what the rest of the family are enjoying.

First steps nutrition trust has an in depth guide to eating well in the a baby's first year - Eating well in the first year — First Steps Nutrition Trust

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