Introducing solid foods

Continue to breastfeed where possible when introducing solid foods to your baby.

Feed your baby their first foods when they are ready – usually around 6 months, but not before 4 months.

Solid foods should not be introduced before 4 months of age.

How do I know my baby is ready for solid foods?

Signs that your baby is ready to start eating solid foods:

Your baby has good head and neck control and can sit upright when supported.

Your baby shows an interest in food. For example, they look at or reach out for your food.

Your baby opens their mouth when offered food on a spoon.

Your baby has an increased appetite, is feeding more often, and wants more breast milk or formula at the end of their usual feed.

If your baby is not eating solid foods by 7-8 months of age, see your child health nurse, doctor or dietitian.

Continue to breastfeed where possible when introducing solid foods to your baby.

Breastfeeding while introducing solid foods

Breastfeeding is recommended for at least 6 months, and beyond that for as long as mother and baby wish to continue.

Breastfeeding may not prevent food allergies but is recommended for the many other benefits it provides to both mothers and babies.

If possible, continue to breastfeed while you introduce solid foods to your baby.

If breastfeeding is not possible, a standard cow’s milk-based infant formula can be given. Current research shows that soy or goat’s milk formula does not reduce the chance of allergies developing when compared to standard cow’s-milk based formula.

Current research shows that the use of partially hydrolysed formulas (usually labelled ‘HA’ or Hypoallergenic) or extensively hydrolysed formulas does not reduce the chance of developing eczema, food allergy, asthma or hay fever (allergic rhinitis) in babies or toddlers.

Regular cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or other mammal derived milks, soy milk, nut and cereal beverages such as oat milk and almond milk are not recommended for babies as their main source of milk before one year of age as they do not provide the same nutrition as breast milk or infant formula.

For more information about infant feeding, you may wish to visit the Raising Children’s Network.