Solids for baby: All about introducing solids

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Breastfeeding, introducing solids to compliment breast milk and weaning your baby are all important aspects of baby feeding. But it’s not always easy to work out what you should do. Baby feeding guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months in the vast majority of cases, however there are exceptions in which solids should be introduced early.

If you’re trying to work out whether or not your baby is ready to make the transition from breast milks to complementary solid foods, be familiar with what guidelines say and find out about the signs babies exhibit to show they’re ready for solid food.


How to feed a baby

baby-solids-1 Despite baby feeding guidelines, knowing exactly how to feed a baby can be a challenge. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first 6 months of life, and solids for baby should be introduced to compliment breast milk from 6 months. There are many important health reasons why feeding a baby correctly is important.

Find out more about how to ensure your baby gets the best possible nutrition.

When to give baby solids?

baby-solids-2 6 months is the right age for introducing solid foods to compliment breastfeeding. However if your baby is approaching six months of age, you may be looking for some signs that they’re ready. If your baby is still hungry after breastfeeding, it’s a good sign that it’s time to start solids for baby, but you’ll also need to check they are physically and emotionally developed.

Find out more about signs that your baby is ready for solids.

Is introducing solids before baby is 6 months okay?

baby-solids-3 Introducing solids early (before 6 months) is only recommended in exceptional circumstances. However if your baby was born premature or iron deficient or you have nutritional problems, weaning the baby early may be recommended.

Find out more about when solids for baby should be started early.

Introducing solids before 6 months – disadvantages

baby-solids-4 Solids for babies are important but there are disadvantages to introducing solid foods early, that is before 6 months of age. Baby feeding is complex and your baby needs to have developed emotionally and physically before they can cope with such things as holding a spoon, swallowing food or sitting up to eat. Starting solids before baby is ready has disadvantages.

Learn more about the disadvantages of introducing solid food to 6 month olds.

Introducing solids after 6 months – disadvantages

baby-solids-5 Introducing solids too late can delay physical and emotional development, and also make it difficult for your baby to get all the nutrients they need. Solids for baby are an important source of zinc, iron and other micronutrients and the process of eating solid food help with physical and emotional development.

Find out more about the disadvantages of starting solids too late.

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  1. World Health Organisation. Guiding principles for feeding of the breastfed child. 2003. (cited 13 September 2013). Available from: (URL link)
  2. Samour PQ, Helm KK. Handbook of Pediatric Nutrition. 3rd Ed. Jones and Bartlett Publishers. 2005. (URL link)
  3. Queensland Health. Introduction to Solids. 2008. [cited 1 October 2012]. Available from: (URL link)
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Date Created: October 7, 2013 Date Modified: July 3, 2018