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Your baby has reached the 6-month mark, and your doctor has given you the nod to start giving your little one solid foods. That’s great news! Here’s a guide on how to get your baby started on solid food.
By Health Promotion Board in collaboration with A/Prof Mary Daniel Lourdes, Head & Senior Consultant, Clinical Services, Department of Child Development, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
You should start introducing baby weaning foods after your baby is 6 months of age. However, there’s no need to stick stubbornly to this age for babies to start eating solid food. Your baby is the best person to let you know when to start solid food for babies.
Here are some signs baby is ready for solid food:
If the little one keeps pushing the spoon out with his tongue or has difficulty swallowing solids, then it’s not time to start feeding your baby solids just yet! Try again in a week. It’s normal for food to spill out from the sides of your baby’s mouth initially. This will improve as he develops better control of his oral muscles.
Help Your Baby Develop
Once your baby starts exhibiting all the above signs that baby is ready for solid food, what should you do next?
Milk, whether breast milk or formula milk, should remain the main component—and the main source of nutrition—of your baby’s meal plan for the time being, until he is about 10 to 12 months old. When your baby is about 6-9 months old, solid foods are supposed to complement your baby’s milk feeds and not replace them just yet!
An Eating Guide for Breastfeeding Mothers
1 to 2 teaspoons are enough when you’re just starting out. This is the first time your baby is eating something new, and the aim is to give your baby just a tiny taste of what’s to come.
Slowly increase the amount of solid food to 1 to 2 tablespoons, 2 to 3 times a day. As your baby gets used to the weaning, you can gradually increase portion sizes to a full meal, which can replace one of his milk feeds. Once your baby turns about 10-12 months old, you can offer him three full meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) of solids per day.
Don’t rush the process! Let your little one decide how much milk (breast milk or formula) or solid food he wants.
Healthy Start For Your Baby
When your baby is ready for a few more mouthfuls, refer to the table below for the recommended number of servings of each food group your baby should have per day.
Recommended Number of Servings Per Day (6 to 12 months old)
Recommended number of servings per day
Brown rice and wholemeal bread
1 — 2
Meat & Others
If you’re unsure on what counts as one serving, here are some examples!
Rice & Alternatives:
Meat & Alternatives:
Baby’s First Food Journey
6 to 9 months: When you first start weaning your baby onto solids, the food you feed him should be smooth, soft, and fine in texture. As the little one grows older and gets better at chewing, you can gradually feed him food that is thicker and coarser—for example, a thicker puree.
10 to 12 months: At this stage, the food you feed the little one needs to only be mashed, chopped or cut into small pieces.
Your Growing Baby
Here are some handy materials and tools you can use to prepare his food:
If you’re making your own baby food, make sure to prepare it without oil. Some great cooking methods are steaming, boiling, baking, or microwaving. No stir-frying or grilling yet for the little one!
Remember to skip the sugar, salt and any other seasonings (e.g. soy sauce) when preparing the meals. Your baby’s delicate taste buds don’t need them!
Here’s another tip: freeze fruit or vegetable purees in ice cube trays, and keep them up to a month. They’re convenient for busy mums and dads, just pop one cube out and defrost and reheat it in the microwave! Do remember to label your baby food with the preparation date.
Early Childhood Nutrition
These are just rough guidelines for preparing purees. For the best results, you might want to do a quick search on the internet for the best cooking and blending method for the specific food you are preparing.
For example, sites might advise you to avoid boiling vegetables because the method causes a loss in vitamins and nutrients.
5 Recipes for Healthy Eating
Something simple to start your little one on solids would be a teaspoon or two of iron-fortified brown rice cereal mixed with breast or formula milk.
Your baby needs iron at this stage, and most infant rice cereal is iron-fortified. Other iron-rich foods include dark green veggies like spinach and broccoli, and finely minced or flaked meat (chicken, pork, fish or beef).
Help your baby better absorb iron by giving him a variety of foods high in Vitamin C, such as vegetables and fruit. Suitable food choices include porridge blended with mashed or pureed vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato and carrot.
Here are some yummy foods you can puree or mash:
Brown rice & wholemeal bread
Brown rice/White riceIron-fortified Rice CerealsSweet PotatoPotato
Meat & Others
Benefits of Vegetables
There is no “correct” order to introduce the little one to new food or food groups. Let your baby slowly explore new flavours: there’s no rush to give your baby everything at once!
Introduce a new food every 3 to 4 days before gradually giving your baby a variety of food from all the basic food groups.
When you’re trying to feed your baby dark green veggies like spinach or chye sim, they might refuse because of the slightly bitter taste. One way is to persist over several meals until your baby takes a mouthful or chop it up finely and mix it into his food. If this doesn’t work, you can always start him out with sweeter veggies like pureed corn or carrot.
Smart Ways to Fill Up on Fruit and Vegetables
Observe your baby for signs of food allergy after you introduce him to a new food. These include:
Relatively rare but serious symptoms include:
Bring your baby to a paediatrician immediately if your baby displays any of these reactions!
When Allergies Occur
Do not feed your baby:
Avoid food that can be a choking hazard:
Important Nutrients: What Should You Eat More Of?
Routines are great not just for you, but for the baby too. It doesn’t matter at what age your baby starts to eat solid food. You should try to establish a fixed time for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time, and get your baby used to the schedule as soon as you can. All meals should be taken preferably at the same place, such as the dining table. The routine helps your baby get used to eating solids.
You are going to need both your hands to feed your baby, so keep your baby sitting upright, safe and secure in a high chair.
Keep a watchful eye to make sure that there are no risks of choking.
Baby Up and About Safely
Your baby has one job to do: eat. Let’s help your baby get the job done by switching off the television and keeping the toys away. There will be plenty of time to play after the meal.
Feed your baby in a calm and quiet environment so he is relaxed and happy. Don’t rush or scold the little one! To make mealtimes more fun, you can also try mimicking the sounds of an airplane, with the baby spoon hovering in the air waiting to make its way into your baby’s mouth.
Stimulate Your Baby’s First Year Brain Development
Bring the baby spoon to your baby’s mouth and wait. If your baby opens his mouth, you may begin to place the food gently at the back of the tongue. Give your baby enough time and see if he is able to swallow.
If your baby isn’t interested, do not force it. Switch to milk (breast milk or formula) and try again during the next meal. It might take 10 or more tries before your baby opens up, so keep it up, mummy and daddy!
There’s no need to force your child to finish everything on his plate! Stop feeding him if he rejects the food, and try again during the next meal. Right now, your baby knows best about how much he wants to eat.
For more information on early nutrition and weaning recipes for your little one, visit
Early Childhood Nutrition.
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This article was last reviewed on
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
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