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An Action Plan to Introducing Solids

Introducing solid food into your baby’s diet can be a daunting task for some parents but keep in mind that you are about to teach your baby to eat and enjoy food, one of life’s great pleasures. Try and make every meal enjoyable for both of you – below we offer some information to help make the introduction of solids fun.

Getting Started

  • How Much
It is difficult to determine the correct amount an infant will eat, as each baby's appetite differs.  Below is a guideline but many infants will exceed these amounts.  Initially in the first day or so of introducing solids an infant may only take a very small amount (less than a teaspoon) once a day.  Others will readily accept several teaspoons of their new foods.  Remember, in the early stages milk is still baby's main source of most nutrients.

Start with a new food each day: using pre-prepared food frozen into trays can be an excellent measure of a variety of foods (see our freezer tubs or solids starter kits).  As a child demands more, increase the amount offered.  Let baby take the lead.  From six to nine months offer an additional solid feed into the day so that by nine months most children have three solid meals a day.  The pattern of breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus snacks, is generally established around seven/eight months and clearly in process by nine-eleven months.

It generally takes about a month from the time of the first introduced food for babies to work up to taking more than 10 ml a day (just over 2 teaspoons), and a month and half to be able to consume more than 100 ml a day.
Babies who were started on solids at a younger age seem to take longer to get to these amounts; hence introducing solids at 6 months appears to shorten the time.

Parents should not get too hung up on numbers or comparisons to other infants, go with what your child wants, they are the best at regulating the actual amount they require for their energy demands and development - healthy children rarely ever starve themselves.  Below is a rough guide.

Food Quantity and Frequency for introducing solids
Age in months Quantity Frequency
4-6 months 1-2 teaspoons Once a day
6-9 months 1/2-1 cup per meal Working up to three a day
9 months 3/4 - 2 cups per meal Three to five times a day
12 months As per their demand Three meals plus 2 -3 snacks per day made available
  • Texture

First feeds should be pureed and/or very runny in consistency.

  • When 
For details including what age to introduce solids and the signs of readiness see article - When to Introduce Solids.  Always offer solids following a breast milk or formula feed. Breast milk or formula are a priority up until 12 months.

Begin with a once-a-day feeding, whenever it's convenient for you and your baby, but not at a time when your baby seems tired.

  • What 

Start with a single food.  Until recently, the advice given was to introduce each food separately, waiting for three days before introducing another new food.  However, unless there is a history of allergies or you are concerned about your baby's reactions to a certain food, there is no reason why new foods should not be introduced on consecutive days, provided you keep to foods mentioned in the below list. Watch for signs of intolerance or allergic reactions such as vomiting, diarrhoea or rashes, which don’t always show up straightaway. Most babies will not have any problems with new foods. 

Foods to Start with…

Iron fortified rice cereal – this is gluten-free and less allergenic than some other foods. 

Best first fruits
  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Banana*
  • Payaya*
Best first vegetables
  • Carrot
  • Potato
  • Swede
  • Parsnip
  • Pumpkin
  • Butternut Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potato/Kumara

* Banana and papaya do not require cooking provided they are ripe.  They can be pureed or mashed on their own or together with a little breast or formula milk.  Bananas are not suitable for freezing.

Note that, breast milk, formula or cool boiled water can be added to get the consistency right.  If you feel that your baby is not beginning to eat properly by seven months of age seek professional advice.


Introducing More Nutritious and Interesting Foods

At seven or eight months your baby will be ready for food with more texture (coarsely mashed or minced foods).
  • Some options:-
Continue to expand the range of fruit and vegetables
Ground up meat (great for iron) chicken and boned fish can be given. For vegetarian children, offer cooked dried beans, peas, or lentils instead
Cereals such as whole rice, couscous and pasta (unless your family has a history of wheat or gluten allergy)
Age appropriate commercially prepared foods
Add variety into the diet by mixing or combining foods together. 
  • Finger Foods

When small lumps can be managed, provide finger foods such as pieces of steamed/baked vegetables, toast or bread fingers, and pieces of cooked meat.  For more information see article on Finger Foods.

  • From 12 months
Cow’s milk can be introduced as the main drink when your baby is 12 months old.  Before that, the only two appropriate options are breast milk or formula, and the nutrients in these remain an important part of her diet. At 12 months of age baby will be experimenting with self feeding and a range of finger foods. From 12 months your toddler can now eat pretty much what the rest of the family eats (it may require a bit of modification with flavours or textures).
  • Salt, Seasonings and Sweeteners
The longer you can avoid salt and sugar the better.   Additives (even natural ones) are simply not necessary - salt, seasonings and sweeteners can overwhelm a little one’s delicate palate and if you use them from day one your baby will become reliant on them to make all food taste good.

Foods to Avoid

  • Honey – up until 12 months as cause botulism
  • Allergenic foods - such as peanut butter, cow's milk, citrus (including juices), and egg whites avoid up until 12 months. Egg yolks should be avoided until 9 months and shellfish (2 years).  If there are any indications of allergies (family history) always seek advice from a professional before introducing any high risk food.
  • Whole nuts and boiled sweets – avoid until 5 years as these are a significant choking hazard.
If there is a history of allergies in your family, seek professional advice prior to introducing solids.


Food Safety
Transfer your babies meal into a dish before the meal and discard any leftovers. Saliva from baby’s mouth introduces bacteria (via the spoon) back into the food so it is not safe to keep. Keep food in the fridge and covered in appropriate containers.
Whatever foods you decide to introduce first, make sure you observe your babies reaction. Don’t exclude any food just because you don’t like it, variety is the key to a healthy balanced diet and the development of healthy attitudes. If your baby clearly doesn’t like something, don’t pressure them to eat it, keep offering it and think of alternative ways to ensure they are getting all they need. Always avoid any foods that might cause an allergic reaction early on or are a choking hazard.


The introduction of solids means your baby’s poos’ will change….in both colour and odour. This is particularly noticeable for babies that have previously been exclusively breastfed. Your baby’s bowel motions are a good insight into how their system is coping with solids. The frequency and consistency is important to monitor for instance bananas and rice cereal may cause constipation for some infants so by offering a little pear or oatmeal…you can help to relieve this.

Respect Baby's Appetite

Your baby's appetite will vary from one feeding to the next, so don’t expect them to eat the same amount every day. Look for behavioural cues to indicate your little one has had enough…leaning back in the chair, turning head away from food, playing with the spoon, or refusing to open up for the next bite are all examples of baby saying…hey enough already!!
If there are any problems with the introduction of solids– make sure you seek advice and professional opinion. 
Yum Yum Tips
  • Use the cooking liquid to make purees so that no nutrients are lost and freeze them in ice cube trays to use later.  The Bebebelice is a fantastic tool to make purees for baby.
  • Required Equipment. A highchair or equivalent (such as the Me Too Chair) that meets safety standards with a  safety harness. When solids are first introduced it may be more comfortable for baby to sit on your knee but down the track a high chair is essential. For mess - a bib, a plastic dish with a suction bottom, and a floor mat or newspaper on the floor are a must.Use a soft rubber-tipped spoon such to avoid injuries to gums and these spoons are fabulous as they are designed to be sterilised under high temperatures for your babies safety.
  • Initially your baby may not be comfortable in a highchair so feed them on your knee or in a bouncer so you can see whats happening.
  • Some vegetable purees are low in calories so to increase the energy intake combine potato, sweet potato or avocado with them (once you have tested each of the foods independently).
  • Eat with your baby…right from the start. Eat at home, as a family and without other distractions (such as TV). This not only is this very entertaining but it shows your baby good mealtime habits, the importance and the social aspects of food. The Me Too Highchair or Little Beetle are fantastic as they allow your baby to sit with the rest of the family…even when you go out!!
  • Offer variety and a nutritionally balanced diet. Yum Yum Kids has great books that help with the introduction of solids .
  •  Avoid processed foods and foods full of additives as long as possible. Choose whole, seasonal, organic, homemade options when possible.



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