Starting Solids

August 30, 2016

Starting solid foods is an exciting time but can also be a challenging one. So to help, the information provided below will help guide you through.

When should I introduce solid food?

In Australia, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommend the introduction of solid foods at around six months of age. Around six months, the nutrition needed for growth and development are no longer met by breastmilk or formula alone.

How will my baby show signs they are ready for solid foods?

  • Chews fingers and items
  • Reaches out for food
  • Holds head up head
  • Sit up alone or with support
  • Opening mouth
  • Interest in watching others eat

What if solid food are introduced earlier or later?

If solids are introduced before four months of age, there is:

  • Increased infection risk
  • Increased choking risk
  • Fussy eating

If solids are introduced after six months of age, there is possible:

  • growth and development delays
  • Nutrient deficiency risk
  • Increased allergy risk
  • Fussy eating

What food should I introduce?

Iron-containing foods such as iron-enriched infant cereals, meat, chicken and fish, cooked tofu and legumes are recommended as the first foods to introduce. This is because at around six months the iron and zin stores of your baby begin to lower and thus more is required through the diet.

Other than this recommendation, there is no order the foods that should be introduced. Given this, all vegetables, fruits, grain based foods, and dairy products can then be added.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines provides recommendations on the types and amounts to support the growth of your baby.

Amounts and types of foods in the first 12 months

Recommended food group and serve size intakes for healthy infants (7-12 months)

Food* Serve size Serves a day Serves a week
Vegetables and legumes/beans 20g 1 ½ -2 10-14
Fruit 20g ½ 3-4
Grain (cereal) foods 40g bread equivalent 1 ½ 10
Infant cereal (dried) 20g 1 7
Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, legumes/beans 30g 1 7
Breastmilk or formula 600ml 1 7
Yoghurt/cheese or alternatives 20ml yoghurt or 10g cheese ½ 3-4

* There is also an allowance for 5g of unsaturated spreads or oils or nut/seed paste. Whole nuts and needs are not recommended for infants as due to the risk of choking.

Reference: The Australian Dietary Guidelines

Unsuitable foods and beverages

There was foods which are not recommended for babies under 12 months as per the Australia Dietary guidelines. These include:

  • Nuts and other hard foods like raw carrot and celery sticks
  • Any unmodified milk. Pasteurised milk can be given in small amounts but should be avoided as a main drink before 12 months
  • Honey
  • Sweeteners
  • Salt
  • Low-fat and reduced-fat products
  • Non-milk beverages
  • Fruit juice and fruit drink
  • Caffeinated and sugar-sweetened
  • Raw eggs, unpasteurised milk and milk products, fermented meat, raw or undercooked meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, deli food and leftover food