When baby starts to eat
Starting your baby on solids means big changes to her eating routine. 
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For the first few months of her life your baby will receive all the nutrition and energy she needs from milk. Between the ages of four and six months, it will be time to start introducing solids to her diet. You’ll be able to tell she’s ready for this step because she shows an interest in your food, is unsatisfied after a feed or demands more frequent feeds.

Did you know?

Around the age of seven months it is time to introduce more textured foods to your baby. Her mashed food can be a bit lumpier than before because her rotary chewing ability has improved. More textured food helps to stimulate even more areas of your baby’s mouth and further develops her oral-motor skills. She will learn to coordinate the different parts of her mouth and the muscles she needs for speech development.

It's all in the servings

“Serving your baby large plates of food can be overwhelming and might cause anxiety or over-eating. The size of the plate and the amount of food served should be in proportion to your child’s age,” says registered dietician Tammy Wolhuter. She recommends:

  • By one year, serve your child one third to half the amount of an adult serving.
  • By the time she is three years old, your child should be eating half to three quarters of an adult serving of food at each meal.
  • Serve one tablespoon of each food per year of age as a guideline.
  • Don't worry that your child will go hungry. If she's still hungry she will ask for more food.

What to feed?

Follow this handy meal plan devised by Nestlé if you’re at a loss of how to introduce solids to your baby and when to progress to other foods. Remember that one level teaspoon of food equates to about 5g.

MEAL 

4-6 MONTHS 

6-9 MONTHS 

9-12 MONTHS

 BREAKFAST

  • Baby's usual milk feed
  • Four teaspoons of baby cereal made up according to the instructions 
  • Baby's usual milk feed
  • Four teaspoons of baby cereal (on stage two) 
  • Baby's usual milk feed
  • One serving of stage three baby cereal 

 MID-MORNING

  • Baby's usual milk feed
  • Baby's usual milk feed 
  •  Half a banana or steamed pear

 LUNCH

  • Baby's usual milk feed
  • About two tablespoons of puréed vegetables (carrots, butternut and sweet potato are good choices)
  • 2-4 teaspoons of mashed or grated fruit
  • Four tablespoons of stage two cereal 
  • 2-3 tablespoons of cooked starch
  • 2-3 tablespoons shredded or cubed meat or cooked egg
  • One and a half cups of cooked veg

 MID-AFTERNOON

  • Baby's usual milk feed
  • 1-2 teaspoons of puréed fruit (go for banana, paw paw, peaches or steamed apples or pears)
  • Baby's usual milk feed
  • One or two fingers of dry toast 
  • Baby's usual milk feed
  • One or two fingers of dry toast 

 DINNER

  • Baby's usual milk feed
  • 1-2 teaspoons of baby cereal
  • 2-4 teaspoons of minced meat, chicken or fish or cooked egg.
  • 1-2 teaspoons of cooked starch like mashed potatoes or pap.
  • 4 tablespoons of mashed veg 
  • One serving of stage three baby cereal
  • 100ml yoghurt

 BEDTIME

  • Baby's usual milk feed
  • Baby's usual milk feed 
  • Baby's usual milk feed

Introducing your baby to solids earlier than four months is not a good idea; it won't make your baby sleep better.

Don't add cereal to your baby's milk feed. It can lead to gagging and can also contribute to overfeeding and obesity.

After a year, your baby can be eating exactly as the family eats, just cut his food up finely so that he can chew it.

Up to a year, your baby's usual milk feeds form the biggest part of his diet. Solids are an added source of nutrition and experimentation. 

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