WHEN DO I START MY BABY ON SOLIDS?
- A a general guideline start introducing solids between 17 and 26 weeks of age
- The recommendation is that breastfed babies should start being weaned at 6 months and bottle fed babies between 4 – 6 months
- Introduce savoury before sweet (vegetables before fruit)
- Start with one spoon of a particular food per day, once your baby is taking 6-7 spoons per meal, you can move on to a second type of food
- Between 17-26 weeks the foods should be hypoallergenic – rice, fruit and vegetables are ideal
- Foods that may cause allergies include: Eggs, wheat, fish, peanut and tree nuts, soy and sesame
- From 6 months of age all foods can be introduced including wheat, meat and eggs (well cooked). These guidelines have changed from the slow introduction of allergenic foods only after 1 year as in the past
- From 6 months onwards, your baby’s iron stores are depleted and need to be replaced through the diet, so don’t be afraid to move on to beef, chicken, lamb and fish
- If the mother breastfeeds after 6 months it is desirable to introduce wheat, fish and eggs while she is breast feeding as this helps to reduce allergies through passive immunity passed through breast milk
When should weaning begin?
- Weaning is a gradual process of introducing solids into your baby’s diet so that your little one is eating family meals by 12 months of age.
- The recommended age to start is between 17 weeks and 26 weeks
- If you start weaning your baby at 6 months, you can move through this stage more quickly
- Introduce one new food every 2-3 days
- The texture is a runny, semi-liquid consistency with no lumps
- Foods to introduce: Baby rice, root vegetables, ripe fruit and natural yogurt
- Did you know?
- Infants have a natural preference for sweet foods. Introduce savoury before sweet foods to encourage acceptance.
- Aim for 2-3 meals per day
- The consistency is slightly thicker (add less liquid)
- Foods to introduce:
- Potato and stronger tasting vegetables like broccoli, peas, courgettes and spinach
- Fruit: Avocado, kiwi and melon
- Add meat and meat alternatives such as legumes
- Wheat based products (cereals) can be introduced from 6 months
- Did you know?
- Food preferences are shaped by repeated experience: Research has shown that it could take up to 10 tries to get a baby to accept a particular food – so don’t give up when your little one refuses the broccoli!
- Now is the time to bump up the flavour and the texture! Don’t be afraid of adding “adult flavours” like herbs, garlic, onion etc. This will ensure that your little one is well used to this when it’s time to move on to family meals.
- Texture is paramount at this stage to encourage chewing and development of self feeding skills.
- Tips for finger foods:
- Ripe, peeled fruit
- Soft cooked vegetables
- Buttered toast fingers
- Well cooked pasta shapes
- Did you know?
- It is more difficult for babies to accept lumps after 9months if they haven’t been exposed to it before.
- Introduce finger foods between 7-9 months; this helps babies to accept new foods as they have more control over what they eat.
- Your baby is now ready for further variety and can eat family meals, without added salt.
- What about salt?
- Salt should be limited in you infant and toddler’s diet. As your little one moves onto more adult foods, their salt intake will also increase.
- You can limit the intake of salt by avoiding packet and processed foods which are very high in salt.
- When can I introduce regular cow’s milk?
- Regular full fat cow’s milk can be introduced form one year of age as a main milk drink.
- Aim for 400-500 ml/day
How to introduce spoonfeeds
Start with one spoon feed per day, once your baby is taking 6-7 spoons per meal, move on to a second spoon feed
If there is a family history of allergy and you are concerned that your child might be at risk, please follow the guidelines below.
- It is best to not wean your baby before 4 months
- Between 17-26 weeks start with the least allergenic foods (rice cereal, fruit and vegetables)
- From 6 months all foods can be introduced including wheat, meat, eggs (well cooked). There is no evidence to suggest that there is any benefit in delaying the introduction of allergenic foods
- If foods are delayed or you are restricting your baby’s diet, a dietitian should be consulted to ensure your baby’s diet is nutritionally adequate.
Vegetables: Fresh, organic where possible
Fruit: Fresh, organic where possible
Meat (red): Free-range, organic where possible
Chicken: Free-range, organic where possible
Dairy: Milk and cheese