Starting your baby on solid food is an important stage in their development, but there is more to it than just making sure they’re getting all the nutrients they need – it’s also about teaching them to accept and enjoy new foods and textures!
What to Expect During Weaning Stage 1
At around 6 months of age you’ll start noticing signs that your baby is ready to move on to solid foods. Sitting up unsupported and beginning to bite things instead of sucking are just two signs they may be ready for their world to open up to a whole set of new food experiences!
Getting More Food In Than Out!
Be patient and don’t expect your baby to love all the new tastes the first time they try them – just offer them again another time and remember it may take a few goes before they finally accept them!
Ideal Foods for 6 Months Old
Babies need to be encouraged to try lots of different types of foods to help them get all the nutrients they need and get used to tasting different flavours – there is no need to add extra sugar (including honey) or salt. Try and offer your baby a range of foods from the following five main food groups, that purée easily or have a puréed texture:
|Food Group||Serves Per Day||1 standard serve equals…|
|Vegetables, legumes and beans||1 ½||20g total of:
– Pumpkin, sweet potato and broccoli
– Zucchini, yellow squash and potato
– Green beans and sweet potato
– Cauliflower and carrot
– Avocado and pumpkin
– Melon and banana
– Papaya and banana
– Apple and pear
– Pear and peach
– Avocado and apple
|Grain (cereal) foods||1 ½||40g of:
– Cooked quick oats
|Cereal for infants||1||20g of:
– Iron-fortified cereal
|Lean meats and poultry||1||30g of:
– Soft cooked puréed
chicken, fish, egg or
|Milk||1||600ml of breastmilk or formula|
|Yoghurt and cheese||½||– 20ml baby yoghurt
– 10g cheese
You can find more information on the equipment you may need when you first start feeding solids in the article: Equipment for Weaning.
Foods and Drinks to Avoid
While offering your baby a range of food is recommended there are some foods and drinks that should be avoided – these include:
- Cow’s milk – don’t use this as the main drink until your baby is 1 year old.
- Foods that contain unpasteurised milk.
- Honey – should not be feed to a baby under 12 months old as it may contain harmful bacteria.
- Fruit juices – these are not usually recommended for babies under 12 months.
- Tea, herbal teas, coffee, and cola drinks.
- Hard foods that could be a choking risk such as chips, popcorn, nuts and lollies
6 Month Old Feeding Schedule
Foods can be introduced in any order (as long as ones rich in iron are included) and at a rate that suits your baby – you can offer more than one food at a time and even mix them together.
- The consistency of the food offered should be appropriate for your baby’s developmental stage. Start with puréed, smooth, soft foods that don’t require chewing. After your baby is happily eating a range of smooth foods they’ll soon be progressing to thicker and lumpier textures, and by around 8 months they’ll be ready for finger foods.
Weaning, Breastfeeding, Milk & Formula
Beginning solid foods at around 6 months is important, as it’s a time when your baby is beginning to need more nutrients and energy than their breast milk or infant formula alone can provide. It’s also the time when babies adjust more quickly to new textures and foods, – but breast milk or infant formula still needs to be continued when solid foods are introduced as they remain an important source of nutrients during your baby’s first year. You can find more information on weaning and what other signs to look for in the articles: What is Weaning? and When to Start Weaning?
Once your baby is happily eating a range of smooth foods it is important to get ready to move on to the next stage – thicker textures, lumps and chewing!
Stage 1 FAQs
Australian guidelines recommend that you introduce solids at around six months of age. However, every child is different and develops at their own pace. Here are some signs that your baby is ready for solids:
- Sucking fingers or fists
- Holding their head steady
- Sitting upright with support
- Losing their “tongue thrust” reflex
- Showing signs of appetite changes
- Becoming more interested in your food
- Seeming less satisfied with milk feeds alone
If you are unsure about when to start a baby on solids, speak to a health professional.
No two babies are the same, so there are no set guidelines on how much a 6 month old should eat. Each baby will be receptive to new foods at different rates, though it’s important to stick to the main 5 Food Groups, as outlined in the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Rather than asking “how much should a 6 month old eat?”, it’s a better idea to ask: “is my baby growing and developing?”. To help to answer this question, check out our guide to growth charts.
From the age of six months, you can introduce solids to your child if they are ready. Some babies will prefer mashed or grated foods, while others will favour finger foods. Across the board, it’s best to try and offer foods high in iron which are easily digested. For more information on what to feed 6 month olds, check out our recipes for 6 month olds.
Yes, you can give your 6 month old water from the age of six months - however, it must be boiled first and then cooled. You can give water to your child in a cup.
Every child will feed differently, but generally, the more solids your child eats, the less they will drink. Some babies never drink the ‘required’ amount for their size and age, and some children drink more. You can use these indicators as a loose guide:
- For formula-fed babies, the guide on the tin will tell you how to make up the formula and quantity based on age.
- The amount of formula your child drinks will often decrease once they start drinking from a cup rather than a bottle.
- How often should I breastfeed my 6 month old? Well, if your child has regular wet nappies, consistent weight gain, and is generally healthy and happy, these are all signs they are drinking enough.
If you are concerned, speak to your child’s GP or a health professional.
For a 6 month old, food should be cut into pieces smaller than half an inch (1.27cm) in any direction. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to cut food smaller.
Yes, your 6 month old can eat up to 20g of yoghurt per day. Whether it’s for your baby’s breakfast or dessert, yoghurt falls into one of the major food groups babies should begin eating at 6 months of age.
While there are no strict foods to avoid when breastfeeding, you may need to avoid some foods. If you notice your baby becoming upset when you eat a certain food, stop eating it and try introducing it again after a few days. Some foods, like curries or cabbage, may affect the flavour of your milk while others (such as alcohol, caffeine and fish) could harm your baby if not consumed in moderation. For more information, read our article on Foods to Avoid When Breastfeeding.
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