Solids: the next steps

Content supplied by NHS Choices

When you and your baby are ready, you can start to increase the amount of solid food your baby is getting. Your baby is the best guide to how much solid food you need to give.

Aim to increase solid food from one feed a day to two and then three feeds. Offering different foods at each meal will give your baby more variety and get them used to different tastes.

Getting into good habits

The aim is for your baby to get used to eating a wide variety of ordinary foods and to your pattern of eating, say, three meals a day with a drink at each meal and two or three small, healthy snacks. Giving them a wide variety of foods that you and your family usually eat will help reduce the risk of them being fussy about what they eat later on.

Giving your child a small mashed-up portion of whatever you’re eating is a cheap way to feed them, and you’ll know what’s gone into their food (especially important if, for example, your family only eats halal meat). Preparing larger quantities than you need and freezing small portions for later can save time and effort.

Your baby’s diet should consist of a variety of the following types of food:

  • fruit and vegetables,
  • bread, rice, pasta, potatoes and other starchy foods,
  • meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein, and
  • milk and dairy products.

Red meat (beef, pork and lamb) is an excellent source of protein. Eggs are a quick and nutritious source of protein, but they must be cooked until both the white and yolk are solid.

From about nine months onwards, you can give your baby:

  • three to four servings a day of starchy food, such as potato, bread and rice,
  • three to four servings a day of fruit and vegetables (the vitamin C in fruit and vegetables will help your baby absorb iron, so always serve them with other foods), and
  • two servings a day of meat, fish, eggs, dhal or other pulses (beans and lentils).

If you have decided not to give your baby meat or fish, they’ll need two servings a day of protein-rich foods, like pulses (dhal, split peas, hummus), tofu, textured vegetable protein (TVP) or eggs.

Your baby may still like some breast or formula milk and healthy snacks, such as fruit or toast, between meals.


NHS Choices

Published Date 2010-12-11

Last Review Date 2009-07-28

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