Introducing solids: A step-by-step guide to teach you how and when
It’s a question every parent will ask as their newborn starts to grow: when do I introduce solids? For the first six months of your child’s life, all they need is milk - whether it be breast or formula. But when the time comes to introduce solid foods, it’s both an important and exciting time.
When do I start?
Believe it or not, your baby will indicate when they are ready to start trying solid food. These signs happen at different times for every child, but most babies tend to start showing signs at six months.
Solid signs include:
- Sitting up well, with support
- Holding their head
- Getting hungrier
- Less settled after milk feeds
- Excitement when seeing food
- Has lost tongue thrust
How do I start?
While your baby might be showing the signs of being ready for solids, it can take some time for your child to really get the hang of things. In fact, in can take up to 15 attempts before a new food is eaten, so don’t be disheartened if they don’t love it straight away. For first time solid food eaters, the best time for them to try is after a sleep or feed, when they’re well rested and not too hungry.
Choosing what food to give to your child is actually a less crucial decision than you think. Start with small amounts and vary the texture to help your baby develop. Some ideas include:
- Infant cereal
- Cooked meat (poultry, fish)
- Plain tofu
- Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, and red kidney beans)
- Vegetable and fruit puree
Should I be worried about choking?
While it is an exciting time to see your child develop and grow into eating solid foods, it’s also very normal to worry about them choking. It mainly occurs when something slips into a child’s wind pipe and cuts off breathing. It sounds scary, but there are ways to minimise the risk. Try to avoid foods that are more likely to cause issues. These include:
- Whole nuts
- Whole grapes
- Whole small tomatoes
- Raw carrots and apple
- Chewing gum
- Peanut butter
- Large chunks of meat
What about drinking?
Once your child starts eating solids, you can also start giving them water. Start with cooled boiled water until they’re 12 months old; then you can give them tap water. By the time your baby is eight months old, water should be given to them at every meal and occasionally throughout the day. As long as they are getting a little throughout the day, they will be getting enough.
Eating together as a family has important social benefits, but it also can help your child when they start solid foods. Your baby will see all foods in their whole form, instead of the puree they might be eating. You can also give your child some of your own food, even just to have a play with to get them used to eating whole foods.
Get in Touch
If you need help with feeding and nutrition, please contact us online or call (03) 9210 3134. Alternatively, click here to find out more about our Early Parenting Centre Program.