The most important thing to remember when introducing solids is never to leave your baby alone when they are feeding.

When should we start on solids?

Until your baby is about 6 months old, breastmilk (or formula milk) is the only food she needs. It’s not a good idea to give her other food too early, as her digestive system isn’t ready yet.

You can tell that your baby is ready for solid foods when he can:

  • Stay in a sitting position and hold his head steady
  • Look at the food, pick it up and put it in his mouth all by himself.
  • Swallow food (if he finds it hard to swallow, he’ll push it back out).

Before your baby is six months old, he may need more milk feeds if he seems to be getting hungrier, or suddenly starts waking up in the night. These aren’t signs that he’s ready for solid food.

What are the best first foods?

Don’t forget to put a plastic mat or some newspaper under your baby’s chair – this is going to be messy!

First foods

  • mashed  fruit or vegetables (like carrots or apples), from a spoon
  • soft cooked sticks of fruit and vegetables, that your baby can hold
  • uncooked soft fruits (like bananas)
  • baby rice mixed with your baby’s usual milk

Next foods

  • soft cooked meat such as chicken
  • mashed fish (check very carefully for any bones) and mashed hard boiled eggs
  • pasta or noodles
  • fingers of toast, pieces of chapatti
  • lentils
  • rice
  • full fat yoghurt, fromage frais or custard (best with no added sugar or lower sugar).

What should my baby drink when she starts solids?

Your baby will still need to drink lots of her normal milk (breastmilk or formula) while she is getting used to solids. Gradually as she gets bigger, she’ll need more food and less milk. You shouldn’t give her cow’s milk to drink until she is one year old, but it’s fine to use cow’s milk in cooking or mixed with food (like porridge) from 6 months.

At the same time that you start your baby on solids, give her a cup and offer her sips of water with meals. Although there are some ‘non-spill’ cups which are less messy, they don’t help your baby to learn to sip and aren’t good for her teeth. It’s better to use an open cup or one with a spout.