A guide to introducing solids by Dietitian Melanie McGrice - Little Étoile

A guide to introducing solids by Dietitian Melanie McGrice

4-6 months

What an exciting time!  Your little one is ready for their first mouthfuls of food!  You will know when they are ready once you notice that your little one can hold their head up straight, watches you carefully as you eat and reaches out for your food.

Texture: Silky smooth

Melanie’s tips:

  • The focus at this stage is to introduce your baby to new flavours, so provide them with pureed foods after their milk
  • Try to include some iron-rich foods such as pureed meat, legumes or an iron-fortified porridge
  • Watch your baby’s signals carefully. Your baby will turn her head or stop opening her mouth when she’s had enough.
  • Try to include common allergens (such as nut butters, wheat-based cereals and pureed fish) to build up their immune tolerance

Try: Lentil & potato puree – cook 50 grams of red lentils and one medium potato, then puree together with leftover liquid for a nourishing, iron-rich first food.

6 – 8 months

Now that your little one is getting the hang of eating, you can create a new routine when you sit down together to eat at breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner each day.

Texture: Lumpy mushy

Melanie’s tips:

  • Eating meals together helps you model how to eat to your little one. They love copying you!  It will also ensure that you are eating well too.
  • Allow some lumps and bumps in your baby’s food to help them get used to different textures
  • Don’t be surprised if your baby spits food out or gags (as long as they don’t choke), it’s all part of learning
  • Invest in a smock and a mat to cover the floor so that your little one can attempt self-feeding and make a mess without guilt

Try: Cottage pie – brown 100grams of minced meat with diced onion, add frozen peas and diced carrot, then serve with mashed potato. Your little one will love experiencing the variety of different textures in this dish!

8-10 months

Your little one is now enjoying a wide variety of foods!  When you feel that your baby is eating well, you can swap the order so that you provide meals first, then top up with breastmilk or formula.

Texture: Finger food

Melanie’s tips:

  • Try giving your little one cold baby cucumbers or slices of apple to snack on to assist with sore gums as new teeth come through
  • When you and your baby are ready, introduce some soft whole foods such as slices of banana, soldiers of wholemeal toast and/or cooked sweet potato
  • Put water in a sippy cup and encourage your little one to take regular sips during and between meals and snacks
  • Don’t be surprised if your baby’s poos change now that they’re eating more solids. You may even see bits of food in your baby’s nappy!

Try: Egg bites – Dice vegies such as kale and capsicum then place inside holes in a mini-muffin baking tray.  Whisk 6 eggs with ½ cup of milk and pour over the vegies, then cook in a moderate oven for approximately 10 minutes.  Your baby will feel like a big kid holding on to these themselves!

10-12 months

As long as your baby can chew well without choking, they are now ready to eat the same meals as your family – just in smaller portions!

Texture: Solid foods

Melanie’s tips:

  • Try not to react when your baby drops food onto the floor or they’ll think it’s a game and keep doing it
  • Your baby may become more fussy at this age. Try not to reward or bribe them, but instead, continue to consistently offer healthy foods until they become used to them
  • Ensure that your baby is offered all of the core food groups (lean proteins, fruit, vegetables, dairy and grains) each day
  • If you have any concerns, book a consultation with a paediatric dietitian

Try: Pumpkin, mushroom and spinach pasta – mix cooked pumpkin, mushroom and spinach with parmesan cheese and rigatoni pasta for a delicious meal that the whole family will love!