What to Feed Your Baby
– Start with a texture that your baby is comfortable with – either puree semi-solid foods finger foods.
– Give iron-rich foods first and then introduce a variety of other foods from the 5 food groups.
– The majority of nutrients is provided by breast milk/formula during this time
– Treat the guidelines as a rough plan for what you provide – Meeting the guidelines is up to them!
– Don’t give small foods that could be a choking risk and don’t add sugar, salt or butter to your baby’s food
– Never pressure your child to eat and provide a stress-free environment for them to eat in.
Your baby is 6 months old. You’ve checked they’ve met the checklist showing they’re ready for solids. You think your baby is ready to start solids but now you’re wondering “what do I feed them?”
Every baby is different, some may prefer pureed foods and other may prefer semi-solid or finger foods. Some may use a spoon and other may use their fingers! If you do start with smooth or pureed food, increase the texture to mashed and soft pieces over a couple of weeks. This will help your baby to be exposed to a variety of textures. You can use a combination of textures at the one sitting i.e. finger food and semi solid or puree foods. But make sure not to combine textures in one mouthful as baby won’t be ready for the texture change e.g. chunks within a puree.
It’s important to let them guide you! Focus on what they CAN do (developmental maturity) rather than focusing on what they “should do” based on their age.
(silky smooth texture & no lumps)
|Semi solid foods
(lumpy and mushy texture)
(easy for baby to pick up)
For puree, mashed and finger foods recipes, Click here!
- Change the texture of foods in line with your child’s responses.
- Once bub is used to a texture, it’s OK to progress to them to the next texture level
- Increasing the texture level helps your baby to develop muscles they’ll use later for talking.
- Only introduce one new food at a time
- Be relaxed about introducing foods and see it as a learning opportunity for your baby.
- Give your baby a spoon to practice with
Iron and Zinc are very important for healthy growth and brain development. At around 6 months, bub’s iron and zinc stores start to deplete, and so it is important to start introducing iron-rich food. Some examples of iron rich foods include meats, poultry, fish, tofu, eggs, legumes or iron fortified cereals. After you introduce iron rich foods, what you choose to introduce next is up to you! For more information on Iron-rich foods, Click Here.
Following a vegetarian diet comes with an increased risk for iron deficiency due to low intakes of animal foods. Click here for tips on following a vegetarian diet to make sure your bub gets what they need for healthy growth and development!
Introducing vegetables before fruits may improve bubs acceptance of them! This is because veggies tend to be more bitter and fruits are much sweeter.
Offer your baby tastes of the food that you are eating so they get used to flavours of home-cooked meals – all you need is a food processor or small blender to make it baby friendly! For more tips on how to modify the texture of your baby’s food, click here.
Be sure to avoid any foods that might cause choking such as whole nuts, grapes and popcorn. This is also a good time for you to think about the foods you eat and enjoy healthy foods together as a family.
The amount your bub will eat at first might be tiny (i.e quarter of a teaspoon or a bite of finger food) but don’t stress, bub will still be meeting their nutritional needs from breastmilk or formula. With time they will eat more as they get used to different flavours and textures. Offer foods that your baby seems interested in!
Always be sure to follow the basic rules of food safety. Wash your hands, cook and store food appropriately and discard uneaten food.
Babies are just little versions of us, and so you should feed them what you eat!
The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating provides a rough guide to serving sizes, however the amount they really eat will vary greatly!
Treat the guidelines as a rough plan for what you provide – meeting the guidelines is up to them!
You are responsible for the WHAT, WHERE, WHEN when it comes to eating and your child is responsible for WHETHER and HOW MUCH they eat. Check out the page on feeding roles.
1 1/2 – 2 servings of veggies a day- 1 serve is:
20g or 2 tablespoons
1/2 a serve of fruit a day– 1 serve is:
20g or 2 tablespoons
1 1/2 serves of grains a day (wholemeal options best!) – 1 serve is:
40g or 3 tablespoons
1 serve of infant cereal a day – 1 serve is:
20g (dry weight) or 2 tablespoons (dry)
Lean Meats/Meat Alternatives
1 serve of protein a day – 1 serve is:
30g or 2 tablespoons
Breast Milk or Formula
Remember this is a guide only and the amount of breast milk expressed every day will vary.
1 serve a breast milk or formula a day – 1 serve is:
Cow’s milk should not be given as a main drink to infants under 12 months of age. Cows’ milk may be served in small quantities in foods, with cereals and as plain custards without added sugars.
1/2 a serve of Dairy per day- 1 serve is:
20ml or 10g
From around 6 months, small amounts of cooled and boiled water can supplement breast milk or infant formula. Consuming any other drinks in the first 12 months may interfere with an infant’s intake of breast milk or infant formula and is not recommended.
Learn more about the Five Food Groups at Eat For Health
Honey- the bacteria in honey can be harmful to babies under 12 months.
Salt, sugar, butter or margarine. Babies have sensitive taste buds and don’t need these extras.
Whole nuts due to choking risk.
Drinks to Avoid
Soft drink, cordial, energy drinks, flavoured milks and fruit juice as these are high in sugar and don’t provide any nutritional value to your baby and can lead to fussy eating behaviours and dental issues.
Cow’s milk until 12 months of age. Small amounts of cow’s milk can be added to foods but should not be a replacement for breast milk or formula.
Teas, coffee and chocolate drinks.
For recipe ideas for bubs aged 6-12 months, Click Here!
Current research shows that introduction of allergen foods from 6 months of age and before 12 months may reduce the likelihood of developing an allergy. From 6 months, be sure to include common allergenic foods such as well cooked eggs, small amounts of cow’s milk, smooth nut butters, fish/shellfish, soy and wheat whilst looking for signs of reaction. If the food is tolerated and no reaction occurs, the food is generally considered safe and should be given on a regular basis (twice weekly) to maintain tolerance. Make sure to only introduce one potential allergen food at a time and wait a few days before introducing another one.
Some babies may still develop an allergy despite following this current evidence based advice. If your baby has a reaction, stop giving that food and seek medical advice immediately.
For more information on including allergen foods in your baby’s diet, refer to the Australasian Society Of Clinical Immunology and Allergy
- Always supervise babies and young children when they’re eating solid food
- Sitting with your baby while they’re eating not only prevents choking but also encourages social interaction and helps them learn about eating
- Skip to Common Feeding Q & A’s for more information regarding choking.
The amount of fluid in breast milk or formula will usually be enough, but tap water (boiled and cooled) can be given with solid foods. However, infants easily and quickly become dehydrated under certain conditions, such as if the infant has a fever, is vomiting a lot, or if the climate is very hot. Re-hydration is also crucial if infants have diarrhoea.
Signs your baby is dehydrated:
- Dark yellow urine
- Fewer wet nappies or nappies not as wet as usual
- Decrease or absence of tears
- Increased thirst
Around 6 months infants should move to drinking from a cup as soon as they are ready. Cups should have an open top or free flowing spout. Baby cups can be useful for this!
A small cup (such as a 20ml medicine cup) can be helpful with learning to drink while reducing the amount that is spilt.