Moving on to solids

When your baby’s about six months old, you may find you start getting a few hints that it’s time for weaning.

These include sucking and chewing on hands and toys, and demanding more milk than usual. You may find your baby stops sleeping through the night and wakes up wanting to be fed instead. A really big sign is if your baby starts showing an interest in what you’re eating and reaches out to grab it.


“Nothing can prepare you for the mess a baby is capable of making, armed only with a handful of fruit.”


It’s recommended that a baby should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months. Every baby has its own timetable, so if you notice any of these signs earlier, check with your health visitor or public health nurse before you begin introducing solids.


What should you feed your baby?

Just like us, babies need a healthy, well-balanced diet. There are five food groups which together provide all the nutrients your baby needs to grow up healthy and strong.


Starchy foods

Each meal and some snacks should be based on this food group, which includes rice, pasta, potatoes, breakfast cereals, couscous, quinoa, bread, crackers and rice cakes. They provide calories, B vitamins, folic acid and some calcium and iron.

Try and vary the types of bread you choose, but only give your baby wholemeal bread or pasta occasionally. Don’t add bran or use bran-based foods as these have too much fibre for your little one, and steer clear of cereals with added sugar and added salt in processed foods.


Fruit and veg

You can feed your baby fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruit and vegetables, a good variety will give your baby vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fibre, antioxidants and phytochemicals which help protect against disease. At the start of weaning, you may give less than five portions of these a day, but as your baby grows, you can give all five.


“It’s got to the stage where we’ve had to hide the raisins. He’s obsessed.”


Dairy products

Milk, cheese, yogurts and fromage frais are all included in this group, but not eggs, butter or cream. These foods help provide your baby with energy and also contain fat-soluble vitamins. They are an excellent source of calcium, protein and other vitamins and minerals too.

In the first year , your baby will need the equivalent of 500-600ml milk a day, which is about a pint. SMA Follow-on Milk is a good choice as it complements the weaning diet. If you buy flavoured yogurts for your baby, check they have as little added sugar as possible. And add a touch of variety with mild cheeses such as Gouda, Edam and Red Leicester.


Meat, fish and alternatives

A healthy diet for your baby includes at least one portion of meat or fish a day, or two portions of a vegetarian alternative like beans, lentils, pulses, nuts and seeds. These foods provide iron, protein, vitamins and minerals. Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna and sardines also provide omega 3 fatty acids. Try and give red meat at least two to three times per week as it is a good source of iron. And it's good to give your baby up to two portions of fish a week.

“When we started weaning, we put a huge piece of plastic over the floor. Stylish it wasn’t, wipe clean it was.”


Fats and sugars

Butter, cream, cakes, pastries and biscuits all fall into this group and really shouldn’t be a big part of your baby’s diet. Instead, give your baby healthy snacks like fruit, rice cakes and fromage frais.


Baby » Nutrition

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