When to introduce each food

Introducing solids to your baby’s diet after 6 months of age ensures your baby receives all the essential vitamins and minerals needed to develop into a healthy child.

The recommendation from the Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia is to introduce solid food from 6 months, with breast milk still being the most important part of your baby’s diet.

First foods 6 months

  • Breastfeed your baby first then start by offering food.
  • Use a small plastic spoon with smooth rounded edges.
  • First foods need to be smooth and pureed with no lumps.
  • Baby rice cereal is a good start as it is nice and smooth and high in iron content. You can mix it with breast milk, formula or cool boiled water.
  • Start with 1 or 2 teaspoons to begin with, then increase to 3 or 4, and build up to 3 meals a day at your baby’s own pace.
  • Start by offering one new food at a time and waiting a few days to introduce another one.
  • Start with pureed fruits and vegetables such as cooked apple, pear, pumpkin, potato, carrots and zucchini.

7-8 months

  • Once your baby is eating pureed food well you can start to introduce foods with a higher protein and iron content and a thicker texture.
  • Mince or mash foods with a lumpy texture.
  • Introduce well cooked meats like meat, chicken and fish.
  • Wheat based cereals, breads/toasts, couscous, pasta and rice.
  • Beans and lentils
  • Yogurt
  • Start to offer a few different choices at meal times and always include a nice balanced healthy meal.

9-10months

  • Your child will have started to grip and pick things up at this age, making it an ideal time to introduce finger foods.
  • Small pieces of well cooked vegetables such as broccoli and pumpkin.
  • Finger sandwiches, banana pieces,
  • Thin strips of meat, chicken and ham, cooked pasta.
  • Soft cubes of cheese.
  • Encourage your child to drink from a cup; breast milk should still be the major source of milk until your child is 12 months of age.
  • Offer water between meals and avoid juices, added sugar, preservatives or additives in any way.
  • Offer your child fresh healthy food at all times.

By 12 months

  • Your child should be eating well balance healthy meals with the family and be able to eat independently (always with supervision).
  • Start to drink from a cup.
  • Eating a wide variety of foods and textures.
  • Avoiding foods that could cause a choking hazard like uncooked vegetables and fruits, popcorn, hard lollies and nuts.

Source: Australian Government Department of Health

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