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Introducing Solid Food to Baby's Aged 6-9 Months

At around the age of 6 months, baby needs solid foods in addition to their milk feeds. If you’re breastfeeding, it is recommended to continue breastfeeding for as long as possible while introducing solids, as breastmilk provides a protective factor against baby having allergic responses to new foods.

When starting your baby on solids, cook as much as you can yourself, rather than resorting to commercial baby foods.

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How to start

  • Start by offering solids once a day after the breast or bottle feed.
  • You could start with a teaspoon of iron-fortified rice cereal mixed with a little breastmilk, formula or cool boiled water to a thick paste-like consistency. If it’s too thin, baby will try to suck it rather than chew.
  • Other popular first foods include pureed apple, ripe mashed banana, cooked mashed sweet potato or pumpkin, tofu or avocado.
  • Feed your baby with a soft, round edged plastic teaspoon.
  • Use a plastic feeding bib to catch the spills.
  • There is no need to wait a few days before introducing a new food – go at baby’s pace.

How often

Week 1: Once a day, after the mid-morning feed.

Week 2: Twice a day, morning and afternoon, after a milk feed.

Week 3: Gradually build up to a ¼–½ a cup of food at each meal as baby demands.

By 8–9 months: When baby shows a preference for solid food over milk, offer the solids before the milk feed. By this time they are usually having 3 solid meals a day.

By around 9 months: baby will be having ½–1 cup of solid food plus finger food at each meal, as well as finger food at morning and afternoon snack time. The amount they will eat at a meal will vary from day to day, depending on how hungry they are.

By 12 months: baby will be having 3 meals a day of family food.

What food to give baby

  • Start with iron rich foods, such as iron fortified baby rice cereal, tofu, fruit and vegetables.
  • Small amounts of cows’ milk can be used to mix and moisten baby’s foods from 6 months onwards (but not given to baby to drink until the age of 12 months).
  • As soon as baby takes to solids, offer a wide variety of blended or fork mashed foods, including fruit, yoghurt and custard and cooked vegetables, meat, chicken, fish, egg and legumes.
  • Once baby tolerates a range of soft, smooth foods, offer roughly mashed or finely cut up foods instead. This helps baby learn about the different textures of food./span>
  • It is recommended that you introduce the range of family foods they are likely to encounter at mealtimes before the age of 18 months, as they are more likely to tolerate them at this age.
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Tips on cooking

  • Never add salt, sugar or honey– your baby doesn’t need the extra taste and it’s not good for their health.
  • If heating food in the microwave, make sure you mix it thoroughly before giving to your baby, as microwaves heat unevenly.
  • You may wish to cook a large quantity and then freeze in small plastic containers with lids (a meal size quantity in each) or in ice cube trays. Some foods, such as potato, freeze better when mixed with other vegetables.
  • If you want to use food you have frozen, plan ahead so you can take the food out of the freezer the night before and place it in the refrigerator to thaw.

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