Starting baby on solids too early or late will have a negative effect on his intake of nutrients and his growth. Six months is just the right age for baby’s first solids and you will have a successful transition, especially if you take note of the following …
- Signs that baby is ready for solids.
- Choosing suitable first foods.
- Continuing to breastfeed on demand
Your baby is ready for his first taste of solids after he has reached 6 months old. Research has shown that from this age, milk alone will not meet his nutritional needs for certain vitamins and minerals, for example, iron.
Furthermore, most babies are, from 6 months of age, developmentally ready for foods other than milk.
- Signs that baby is ready for solid food:
- Can control his tongue and neck movements better
- Start to make up-and-down ‘munching’ movements
- Can sit up with minimal support
- Likes to put things into his mouth
- Shows interest in what you’re eating
It doesn’t matter what baby’s first solid foods are.
Traditionally, single grain cereals are introduced first but there is no evidence that introducing solid foods in any particular order has an advantage for your baby.
Some may recommend starting vegetables before fruits, but there is no evidence that your baby will develop a dislike for vegetables if he tries fruits first.
- You can start off with giving your baby a variety of energy rich foods such as
- Cereals: porridge rice, bread and others
- Tubers: potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam or others
- Other examples of first foods include
- Mashed or soft-cooked fruit and vegetables, like carrot, apple or pear, all cooled before feeding time.
- Soft local fruits like melon, ripe bananas, ciku, dragon fruit and papaya or avocado, also mashed.
Start with a few teaspoons of solids and gradually increase the amount.
If, at first, your baby is not too keen to try new food, try adding breast milk to his foods to help him get used to the taste.
If you have a family history of allergies, you may want to introduce only one new food at a time and wait for several days (4-day-wait rule) before you add another new food to make sure your baby does not have a negative reaction to each food type.
Remember to continue breastfeeding your baby on demand until up to 2 years of age, as breast milk is still your baby’s main source of energy.
Solid foods are still just practice sessions for the future and are insufficient to meet baby’s nutritional needs.
Breast milk remains his major source of energy and nutrients as he starts to try a variety of new foods.
It’s important to make sure baby continues getting enough breast milk to meet his nutritional needs for healthy growth.
Ideally, breastfeeding should continue until baby is 2 years old.
For further information on infant and child nutrition, please refer to
- MINISTRY OF HEALTH MALAYSIA (2013) Malaysian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents. Putrajaya: Technical Working Group on Nutritional Guidelines (for National Coordinating Committee on Food and Nutrition).
- NUTRITION SOCIETY OF MALAYSIA (2011) Baby’s First Bites. Petaling Jaya: Mother’s Smart Choice.