What to feed your baby
From around 6 months
To start with, your baby only needs a small amount of solid food, once a day, at a time that suits you both.
You can start weaning with single vegetables and fruits – try blended, mashed, or soft cooked sticks of parsnip, broccoli, potato, yam, sweet potato, carrot, apple or pear. You could also try baby rice mixed with your baby's usual milk. Make sure any cooked food has cooled right down before offering it to your baby.
It's important to introduce foods that can trigger allergic reactions one at a time, in very small amounts, so that you can spot any reaction. These foods can be introduced from around 6 months as part of your baby's diet, just like any other foods:
- cows’ milk (in cooking or mixed with food)
- eggs (eggs without a red lion stamp should not be eaten raw or lightly cooked)
- foods that contain gluten, including wheat, barley and rye
- nuts and peanuts (serve them crushed or ground)
- seeds (serve them crushed or ground)
- shellfish (don't serve raw or lightly cooked)
Once introduced and if tolerated, keep offering those foods as part of your baby’s usual diet (to minimise the risk of allergy). Read more about food allergies and what signs to look out for.
Smooth or lumpy?
To help your baby get used to different textures and tastes quickly, try moving on to mashed and finger foods (from purées or blended) as soon as they're ready. This helps them learn how to chew, move solid food around their mouth and swallow solid foods. Give your baby a spoon and let them try feeding themselves – you might need to stick a mat under the highchair though!
Babies take different amounts of time to get used to lumps, but it's an important skill they need to learn. Just keep offering them lumpy textures from around 6 to 7 months, and stay with them so you can be sure they are swallowing it safely.
Finger foods help get them used to different textures, they love picking bits of food up and feeding themselves – this is also good for developing their hand-eye co-ordination.
What is baby-led weaning?
Baby-led weaning means offering your baby only finger foods and letting them feed themselves from the start (rather than spoon feeding them puréed or mashed foods). You can offer a range of small, finger-sized pieces of food.
Some parents prefer baby-led weaning to spoon feeding, while others combine a bit of both. There's no right or wrong way – the most important thing is that your baby eats a wide variety of food and gets all the nutrients they need.
Should I still give my baby breast milk or first infant formula?
Yes. To begin with they will still be getting most of their energy and nutrients from breast milk or first infant formula. Breast milk or first infant formula should be their main drink during the first year, you can continue breastfeeding for as long as you both want. Remember your baby’s tummy is tiny and fills up quickly – so offer milk feeds after solids.