Introducing Solid Foods

Key Messages 

  • Breastmilk and / or infant formula are all babies need in the first 6 months of life - there is no need to feed anything else. 
  • Developmental readiness - babies develop feeding skills about the same time as their guts and immune systems mature making them ready for eating solid foods (both inside and out) from around 6 months. 
  • Skills for feeding - babies need the opportunity to practice and develop their feeding skills. 
  • No rush to mush - babies don’t need a lot of calories in the first months of starting solid foods as they will still be getting most of their nutrition from breastmilk and/or infant formula, so they can go at their own pace and eat as much or as little as they like. 
  • Baby feeding not being fed - letting babies lead the feeding enables them to recognise when they are full, and may help them to know when they have had enough when they are older. 
  • Nutritious foods - babies can eat soft, mashed family foods from around 6 months, they don’t need their food to be pureed. 
  • Purees were necessary when babies were given foods earlier, before they had developed the skills for feeding.  
  • Safe sharing of family foods - babies need to avoid foods which are salty or high in sugar.   
  • Healthy eaters start here! - Children like the food they get used to, so by giving them many different healthier foods when they are babies they are more likely to keep eating them as they grow up. 
  • Parents are responsible for what foods are offered. Baby is responsible for how much baby eats.

Resources

Key DoH resources:

  • Start4Life: Introducing solid foods: giving your baby a better start in life.  For more information click here
  • Start4Life: Building blocks for a better start in life.  For more information click here
  • Best Beginnings: Bump to Breastfeeding video clip / Introducing Solid Foods. To view the video clip click here

Other key resources:

  • NHS choices. Introducing solids. For more information click here
  • Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett’s web site www.baby-led.com

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