Starting Baby On Solids
Many mothers start by spoon-feeding, or even, the first few times, by offering a little taste from their finger.
Others wait until their baby picks up food for himself. If your baby likes it, give a little more.
When giving your baby anything other than root vegetables for the first time, don't give it again for four days, so you can see whether he develops any symptoms (such as diarrhoea, a runny nose, or a rash) that could mean he's sensitive to it. It also gives him the chance to get used to each new taste.
After the first two or three weeks, you can give two or more foods in the same meal. However, some babies (like some adults) prefer foods to be kept separate. Be sensitive to your baby's appetite and let him guide how much you give.
Spoon-feedingGive your baby the breast first, then offer food in a spoon with a fairly flat bowl. Put the laden spoon into his mouth, then gently withdraw it against the upper gum and lip so some of the food stays in his mouth. He may try to suck in some of the food from the spoon. End by giving another drink of milk from your breast.
Choose a food that's soft enough to swallow easily. Babies start chewing at around six months, and as they become more used to it you can give them gradually more lumpy foods. However, the average baby doesn't become efficient at chewing for another month or so.
Finger foodsSome inquisitive six-month-olds like to investigate by grasping food from their mother's hand or plate. This is fine as long as it's suitable and not too hot. Good 'finger foods' to pick up and suck on, chew or bite include any raw fruit, such as a large piece of peeled apple, a rusk of baked wholemeal bread, or anything hard that won't be likely to break into pieces and choke him. He'll probably like the taste and will eat some of it by gradually dissolving it in his mouth.
Many babies love the new sensations involved in eating solids. They smack their lips and look for more at once. Others are taken by surprise, but a screwed-up face or a look of amazement doesn't necessarily mean your baby doesn't like the food, just that it's unfamiliar. Wait a moment, so he doesn't feel pressured, then try again. A lot of what goes in his mouth will probably come out again, but simply scoop this up gently from the chin with the spoon.
Suitable Solid Foods for babyThis is an up-to-date guide on what's suitable.
From four months:
Vegetables - avocado, broccoli, carrots or other root vegetables, cauliflower, courgette, squash.
Grains without gluten - rice, corn (such as polenta), millet, and other starchy carbohydrate foods, such as tapioca, sago.
Fruit - apple, apricot, banana, pear.
From five months, add:
From six months, add:
Dairy food - full-fat cows' milk, cheese, yoghurt.
Gluten-containing grain (wheat, barley, rye, oats) foods - for example, bread, baked bread rusks, breakfast cereal, flour-based sauce.
From eight months, add:
Beans, tofu, lentils (if windiness at night stops your baby sleeping, avoid these at supper).
From nine months, add:
Eggs - cooked well so the yolks are more digestible; raw or lightly cooked eggs are unsuitable for under-ones because of the risk of salmonella infection.
From one year, add:
Nuts and seeds - but don't give whole or chopped nuts, or whole seeds, to a child under five years old, as there's a small risk of inhalation.
You may want to purée food for a baby who can't yet chew. Do this by mashing, pushing it through a sieve or mouli, or whizzing it in an electric blender. Meat is one of the most difficult foods to chew, so finely chop it, or blend or mince it, until your baby is around 10 months, when it may be all right simply cut up small.
To thin a savoury purée and make it easier to eat, add a little of one of these:
Expressed breast milk (its familiar sweet flavour makes a new food more attractive).
Water in which you've cooked vegetables.
Vegetable or chicken stock (previously frozen in an ice-cube tray and used cube by cube.
To make a sweet purée easier for your baby to eat, add a little of one of these:
Expressed breast milk.
Water in which you've cooked fruit.
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