Time when your kids are little is so special – there is no experience quite like getting to watch them develop, learn, grow, and giggle. But we know that this time can also be stressful, when all the challenges of parenthood start to come your way, including navigating baby food stages. To help make this feeding journey a little easier we’ve broken down the food stages your baby will go through, so you can get back to simply cherishing the special moments with your bub:
6 Months Old
Up until 6 months old, breastmilk or formula is all your baby needs, as they can only suck and swallow their nutrients. However, once they reach 6 months old it is time to start looking out for signs that your baby could be ready for their first solid foods.
What to Look For
Once your little one reaches roughly 6 months old, they will start doing things that show they are ready for their first solid foods. These signs to look for include:
- Holding their head up by themselves
- Sitting up with support (E.g., in a highchair or on your lap)
- Bringing toys toward their mouth
- Reaching for food
- Showing excitement when watching others eat
- Opening their mouth when food or a spoon touches their lips
Once you notice some of these signs, it’s time to let your baby try their first solid foods. At 6 months old, your baby can start to try soft and smooth foods, that have been well-cooked. Some examples of this type of food include anything blended into a puree, such as meat and vegetables. Another great example is our Soft Cereal Biscuits, which can be mixed with water or milk to create a paste that is perfect for babies to eat whilst in this food stage.
At this stage it is important to remember that your little one is trying solid food for the very first time, meaning they may refuse food at first, or only take one spoonful. This is absolutely okay – their interest in food will increase over time with practice and patience.
At around 6 months old, breastmilk or baby formula is the only drink your little one needs. It’s important that you keep either breastfeeding or infant formula up while you introduce their first solid foods.
8 Months Old
Once your baby reaches 8 months old, it’s time to start giving them the opportunity to feed themselves! This includes giving them finger foods to hold and letting them feed themselves with a small spoon. Remember that your bub may need help at first with this stage.
When giving your little one finger food, it’s important to make sure it is still soft as they are only just learning to chew. When spoon-feeding your baby at this age, they can now enjoy foods with different textures, such as things that are mashed or in pieces. A great example of finger food your bub might like are soft pieces of cut-up fruit and vegetables, toast fingers, and other foods that are easy to hold like Teething Wafers.
It’s important to continue breastfeeding or giving your baby infant formula until they are 12 months old, however, at 6 months old you can start to introduce them to drinking water from a cup.
12 Months Old
At around 12 months old, your little one is free to eat the same, healthy food as the rest of the family, as long as it is chopped into small pieces. This is a great age to really encourage your baby to start eating independently.
Examples of food your little one might enjoy once they reach this age are pasta bake, mince and vegetables and finger foods, like our Smoothie Drops. Kids will still love to explore new shapes, tastes, and textures of food at this stage, so keeping that in mind is key.
Once your baby is 12 months old, you can stop offering them bottles and formula and instead give them water in a cup as their main drink. If you are breastfeeding, it is now a personal choice as to when you stop feeding your baby breastmilk. Once your little one reaches 12 months old, you can also now offer them full-fat cow’s milk.
Food to Always Avoid
Whilst going through these stages of feeding, it is important to remember that there are some foods that should never be given to a baby for various reasons, including risk of choking and containing too much sugar, salt, or fat. Below is a list of foods that you must not feed your little one:
- Whole sausages
- Sausage skin
- Whole grapes
- Cherry tomatoes
- Pieces of uncooked apples or carrot
- Whole nuts & nut bars
- Gravy mixes
This is such a special time for you and your family – by knowing the ins and outs of your baby’s feeding stages you can safely get back to stressing less and taking time to enjoy the little moments more.