Starting Solids: A Step-by-Step Guide for New Parents

Introducing your baby to solid foods is a significant milestone that lays the foundation for healthy eating habits. This journey from exclusive breastfeeding or formula feeding to incorporating solid foods into your baby’s diet is often referred to as weaning. Here’s a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help new parents navigate this exciting phase with confidence.

Step 1: Recognising Readiness

Before you embark on this journey, it’s crucial to ensure your baby is ready for solids. Most babies show signs of readiness around 6 months of age, but it’s important to look for these key indicators:

  • Ability to sit up with minimal support.
  • Good head and neck control.
  • Showing interest in food, such as looking at what you’re eating.
  • Opening their mouth or leaning forward when food is offered.
  • The ability to reject food by turning their head away.

Step 2: Preparing for the First Feed

Choose a time when your baby is not too tired or hungry. You might want to offer a little breast milk or formula first, so they’re not too hungry to be patient with this new experience. Equip yourself with the right tools—a small, soft-tipped spoon, a bib, and a high chair that supports your baby in an upright position.

Step 3: Choosing the First Foods

Iron-rich foods are a great choice for your baby’s first solid food. Options include:

  • Pureed meats and legumes.
  • Soft cooked and finely mashed vegetables and fruits.
  • Check our Meal Guides Section for suggestions

The goal is to introduce your baby to a variety of tastes and textures, not to replace breast milk or formula feeding.

Step 4: How to Offer Solids

If you are feeding the baby, start with a small amount of food on the tip of a soft spoon. Allow your baby to smell and taste the food, and don’t be surprised if the first few attempts end up everywhere but in their mouth! This is a learning experience. 

Step 5: Establishing a Routine

Gradually, you can start to establish a feeding routine, offering solids once a day and slowly increasing as your baby shows interest and appetite. It’s important to continue breastfeeding or formula feeding, as it remains your baby’s primary source of nutrition until their first birthday.

Step 6: Advancing Textures and Varieties

As your baby becomes more comfortable with eating, you can start to introduce a wider variety of foods and textures. Move from pureed to mashed by 7 months, then to finely chopped foods by 9 months, offering a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein sources.

Step 7: Encouraging Self-feeding

By around 8 months, many babies show interest in self-feeding. Offering finger foods that your baby can pick up and explore can help develop their fine motor skills and independence. Always supervise your baby during meals to ensure safety.

Step 8: Watching for Allergies

Introduce allergenic foods like peanuts, eggs, and dairy products one at a time, in small quantities, and watch for any signs of an allergic reaction. Early introduction of these foods can help reduce the risk of developing food allergies.

If you need help with BLW, take our 1:1 SupportMasterClass Or Meal Guides