Updated: Sep 14, 2020
At about 6 months of age, babies will be ready for solid foods alongside the breast milk or infant formula that still provides most of their energy and nutrients. Some babies will happily eat finger foods and mashed foods, and may progress swiftly to a range of tastes and textures. Other babies may progress more slowly and start off on smooth foods given on a spoon alongside foods they can hold themselves, with the aim of moving on to mashed foods and other textures as they become more confident eaters.
Smooth foods can be prepared by cooking foods well, pushing them through a mesh, or blending them with a little breast milk or infant formula – or unsweetened calcium-fortified soy milk alternative if baby is over 6 months old. Some foods can be easily mashed to a smooth consistency. Smooth foods should have no big lumps, pips, seeds or skin.
Mashed foods are simply raw or cooked foods mashed to a smooth but slightly lumpy
consistency. This can usually be achieved easily by mashing the food with a fork, using some breast milk or infant formula – or unsweetened calcium-fortified soy milk alternative if baby is over 6 months old – to aid the mash where needed.
Finger foods are pieces of food that babies can hold and use to feed themselves. Babies will often show their readiness to start having complementary food by showing an interest in holding foods and putting foods to their mouth, and it is important to encourage independence in eating. Babies are able to pick things up with their whole hand after 6 months and the best finger foods to offer are ones that are soft and easy to bite and chew. It can be useful to make the finger foods slightly bigger than a baby’s hand, so that they can grip things in their fist. The size of an adult finger is a good