Tips and tricks to starting solids
Joanna Bounds outlines the key steps along the route of introducing solid food to your child
Starting solids

When to start

The recommended time to try babies on their first solids is around 6 months - much earlier and there is a risk of casuing food allergies in your child. Conversely if you leave it too late milk (breast or formula) alone will no longer be adequate nutrition for your child. 

Most parents and experts recommend you start with rice cereal mixed with a little cool boiled water, formula or expressed breast milk. It needs to be quite runny because your child has only had liquid until now so may reject something much thicker. Start small - just half a teaspoon after your baby’s lunch-time milk feed. Build up to a couple of teaspoons over a few days.

Next step?

Once you have established the rice cereal, you can start on a warm pureed vegetable, such as carrot, sweet potato or pumpkin. For convenience, try pureeing your chosen vegetable and then freezing it in ice cube trays. Introduce veges before fruits as babies already have a sweet palate, which was formed from drinking breast milk and formula. Pureed pear, apple or peach are good first fruits to try.


Be sure to only introduce one new food every few days to check your baby doesn’t have a reaction to it.

Try and try again

Offer the same new food for a few days, even if your baby turns it down at first. Research shows that babies often need to try a new food 10 times before they will accept it.


This article was written by Joanna Bounds and adapted for Kidspot, New Zealand's favourite parenting resource for Early Life Nutrition.
Breastfeeding is best for babies and provides many benefits. Combined breast and bottle feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of your own breast milk. Always consult your doctor, midwife or health care professional for advice about feeding your baby. This post is part of the Early Life Nutrition story.
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