Tips on feeding solids

Tips on feeding solids

The transition to solids can sometimes be as bewildering for you as it is stimulating and exciting for your baby. Remember, if you need any further advice, ring our toll-free number to speak to a registered Dietitian at 0800 688 742, post a question in our Ask the Dietitian section of this site, or consult your Health Professional.

Firstly, refer to our Feeding Guide for Babies to ensure your baby is ready to start on solid food.

Timing and trying

Choose a time to start when both you and baby are relaxed – perhaps after the mid morning or early afternoon feed. (The time gap after a feed depends on the baby’s age and sleep pattern). If baby pulls a funny face, or spits the food out, remember that he/she is not only getting used to a new taste but also trying a new way of taking food, eating from a spoon instead of sucking. Keep trying. Hold baby on your knee while you feed him, or if appropriate, sit him in a baby high chair.

Texture and consistency

First foods need to be smooth and creamy, and free of all lumps. Use a blender, a mouli or push food through a fine sieve. Expressed breast milk, formula or cooled boiled water can be added to achieve the right consistency, aim for semi solid or runny. To begin with, if the mixture is too stiff or dry your baby may not enjoy it – remember he/she is used to liquids only at this stage.

Offer a small amount only to start with. After a milk feed try ½ to 1 teaspoon of a single food such as baby rice cereal mixed with expressed breast milk, infant formula or cooled boiled water. Serve lukewarm. Leave it at that even if he eats it all.

Single foods at first

Introduce one food at a time and continue with this single food for two to three days before introducing another. This helps baby get used to the new taste and allows you to check their acceptance and tolerance of the food. If baby seems to dislike a particular food the first time, do not offer it again for a few days. Continue with foods that are liked, then retry the new food again, or try mixing it with already accepted foods. Research has shown that some babies need to try a new food up to 10 times before they accept it – so don’t give up.

Babies have four times more taste buds than we have as adults, so you shouldn’t necessarily prepare your baby’s food to suit your own tastes. There is no need to add salt and seldom need for added sugar.

How much? How often?

Begin by offering solids at only one meal a day, after a breast or formula milk feed. Gradually increase the amount of food to 2-3 tablespoons per meal, and then increase the number of meals to three a day, letting your baby and his/her appetite guide you.

Introducing combinations of food

Once your baby has accepted and tolerated the different single foods, you can begin to combine foods and increase variety. This is a time when ready-prepared baby foods in packets or jars are really handy.

More texture

As baby grows, change the texture of foods offered to encourage chewing. Offer a thicker consistency, progressing to soft but more lumpy or mashed foods. At first you may find that your baby ‘gags’. While this can be disconcerting it is a natural reflex that prevents choking. Try not to over-react, or show you are worried, as this will cause baby to be bothered too! And do not worry if baby has no, or few teeth. Babies chew very well with their gums.

Finger foods

When small lumps can be managed, provide finger foods such as pieces of steamed/baked vegetables, soft fruit, crackers, toast or bread fingers, and pieces of cooked meat or little meatballs or patties. These encourage self-feeding and interest in food. Read more about finger foods here &gt,

As baby gets older, progressing with different textures is as important as adding to the food types and flavours. Once your baby can manage soft lumps, and more coarsely minced foods, encourage a variety of textures. Do not keep giving too much pureed, smooth food as this does not encourage chewing. Chewing is important for healthy tooth and jaw development and speech later on.


Remember, babies progress through the stages at their own pace. Some take more

time than others. There are no rules to keep to!

At 12 months of age baby will be experimenting with more finger foods and feeding him or herself. By now baby is ready for most family meals, though a little modification of ‘adult’ flavours and textures may be needed.

About Eleanor Harris

Hi, there. It's my blog about nutritional solutions. I post the most helpful content in this topic ❤️ I got master degree 4 years ago at University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. Now i work for Danone as Nutrition Executive

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