Introducing Solids to Your Baby: Teach Your Baby How to Eat

on August 16, 2021

Introducing solids to your baby sounds hard, right?

After all, you have to be careful because of their still growing teeth and tummy.

However, here are the facts: 

  • Introducing solids to your baby is something you’re going to have to do
  • Introducing solids to your baby is a fun time in your baby's development
  • Introducing solids to your baby is easier than you think

As a baby grows, they start to need more from their diet. Before you know it, breastmilk and formula just are not going to be enough.

But that’s where the fun begins. Suddenly, your baby has a wide range of foods to choose from. Not only do you get to show your baby some of your favourite foods, but you also get to teach your baby how to eat, bringing you even closer.


What are the best first baby foods?

Baby Food comes in stages, and you have officially entered Stage 1. This exciting milestone not only means you’ve successfully survived these 4 months in one piece, but also that your baby is ready for liquid purees.

As long as the foods you use can blend into a very smooth consistency, you can introduce your baby to:

  • Fruits (e.g. bananas, avocados, peaches)
  • Vegetables (e.g. sweet potatoes, baby carrots)
  • Meats (e.g. chicken, turkey)
  • Grains (e.g. barley, oats, wheat and rice)

Another food that’s now available for your child is baby rice cereal. With Sweetpea Foods, your baby will now have the joy of sampling the magnificent flavours of:

  • Banana porridge
  • Mushy spuds, peas and corn
  • Baked beans
  • Pumpkin risotto

All you need is a little bit of warm water and the right amount of Sweetpea baby rice cereal and voila. Bon appetit.


When should I introduce solid foods to my baby?

Is your baby 4-6 months old? Yes? 

Well, pay attention to their behaviour. If they start doing any of the following:

  • Being able to stay steady in a sitting upright position when supported
  • Demonstrating good head and neck control
  • Reaching out for your food
  • Showing an interest in food (i.e. looking at people’s plates, etc.)
  • Swallowing their food instead of spitting it back out
  • Opening their mouth when you offer them food on a spoon

Then get those baby foods ready and get hyped, because you’re about to take your baby on a food odyssey. Your kitchen is about to become one of those food shows, starring you and your baby.

Is it better to start solids at 4 months or 6 months?

The simple answer to this question is that babies are not hard-wired like that. You shouldn’t wake your baby up on its 4th or 6th month with a la carte menu of solids, telling it to dig in.

When it comes to introducing solids; you want your little one to grow up big and strong so you don’t want to leave it too late, but you don’t want to make them sick so you don’t want to do it too early. 

The best tip is that instead of trying to focus on numbers and how many months you should wait, just pay attention. Your baby will let you know when they are ready to have solids with its behaviour (and then you can break out the a la carte menu).

How do I introduce solids to my 4 month old?

Once your baby demonstrates that it is ready to try solid foods, there are three ways to introduce solids to them:

  • Changing the consistency of their purees by making them slightly thicker.
  • Introducing them to slightly chunkier (but still soft) foods.
  • Using pre-made baby food that is both wholesome and tasty

How much solids should a six month old eat?

It is recommended that, when introducing solids, you start with just a few small spoonfuls at a time. As the baby grows more confident, and is looking to eat more, the goal should be to work up to 3-4 tablespoons per feeding.

When starting out, it’s a good idea to introduce solids once a day for a week or two, then it’s a good idea to work up to twice a day afterwards. When introducing solid food your baby hasn’t had before, wait at least three days in a row before trying another new food. It will help you discover any allergies or intolerances your baby might have.


What do babies do when they taste new foods?

Think about your favourite food, and what it would have been like when you were first introduced to it. When babies are introduced to new foods, they do all kinds of things because they’re being introduced to all kinds of tastes for the first time and it’s blowing their little mind.

As they try to process the tastes that have been introduced to their little taste buds, babies will do the following:

  • Banging on the table
  • Gagging
  • Making faces
  • Shivering
  • Shuddering
  • Smashing or throwing food
  • Spitting food

A lot of parents see this and immediately think that’s a sign that the baby doesn’t like the food. But babies are babies, not food critics. It’s more likely that they are trying to communicate:

  • “I’m full”
  • “I’m chewing and swallowing, this is insane”
  • “What even is this taste?”
  • “This is a bit much for me at the moment”

Instead of:

  • “This dish lacks cohesion, signifying inadequate preparation. Between gauche presentation, a flavour that would be unpalatable for a medieval serf, and portion sizes that would barely pass for an amuse-bouche, let alone a main course; I find myself unsatisfied with this misguided attempt at heightened cuisine. Back to breastmilk for me!”

    What foods should you avoid when introducing solids?

    While it’s tempting to go wild and introduce your child to every food under the sun, there are some you should avoid.

    For example, honey should be avoided until at least 12 months of age, as it can result in infant botulism. Raw or runny eggs should also be avoided, as it contains bacteria that can be harmful to babies. It’s always good to consult a doctor about introducing solid food if you’re uncertain.

    The following foods should be avoided, as they’re a bit too solid for your baby at this point:

    • Hard fruits such as apples
    • Hard vegetables such as celery and carrots
    • Large chunks of meat, poultry and cheese
    • Lollies
    • Popcorn
    • Seeds
    • Sticky foods such as peanut butter
    • Whole grapes and cherry tomatoes
    • Whole nuts

    Can you overfeed a baby solids?

    The easiest way to avoid overfeeding is to pay attention to the actions of your baby. If they are doing everything they can to not eat, it’s likely because they are full.

    Alternatively, parents’ behaviour can be skewed by unrealistic eating and weight expectations, causing them to overfeed their baby when it doesn’t meet their pre-established criteria.

    If a baby is overfed, it will display the following behaviour:

    • Burping
    • Choking
    • Fussiness
    • Gagging
    • Gassiness
    • Irritability
    • Regurgitation

    How do I know when my baby is full on solids?

    If a baby does any of the following after you have fed them, it could be because they are full, and feeding them any more runs the risk of them being overfed.

    • Arch their backs
    • Express distaste towards their food
    • Extend or relax their fingers, arms and legs
    • Fall asleep
    • Fuss or squirm
    • Push their food away
    • Spit out food
    • Turn away from their food

      When can I give my baby finger foods?

      When you introduce regular solids to your baby, you can also consider finger food as well (after all, who doesn’t love a bit of finger food?). It’s a great way to teach your child to feed themselves.

      All you have to do is make sure the food is soft and mashable between the baby’s gums, and supervise your child as they are feeding themself. Give it a month or so, and your baby will be able to add finger food to their growing diet.


      Can I give my baby allergy foods?

      Allergy foods should be introduced to babies by the time they are 12 months of age. This includes peanuts in the form of smooth peanut butter and well cooked eggs. Typically, this should be done twice weekly, so that a baby can become accustomed to these foods. Introducing these foods too late leaves the baby at a higher risk of developing food allergies.  

      If you’re looking for a wide range of baby rice cereal with many different flavours look no further than Sweetpea Foods. Our foods are nutritious, Aussie grown, easy to prepare and, most importantly, very tasty.

      Nutritionist, Claire Power, wishes that Sweetpea’s products had been around when her children were starting solids.

      Claire Power Nutritionist

      “It can be overwhelming for new parents with so many options and different styles with purees or baby led weaning. From 4 to 6 months old I recommend starting with smooth purees and increasing texture and flavours rapidly. Vegetables and fruits should be some of the first foods babies try along with an iron-fortified meal such as in the Sweetpea mixes, because iron is a very important mineral for little ones to have a healthy development,” says Claire.

      “Full of good stuff, made in Australia and with no nasties, Sweetpea’s baby meals are the ideal first foods for babies. I especially like that they’re a dry food that only requires warm water to instantly become a convenient, delicious and nutritious plant-based meal with wholegrains, protein and iron.”

      Adds Claire: “The Sweetpea range is also great for including different tastes and textures which is important for babies to be exposed to. As a mum and nutritionist, their banana porridge, baked beans, mushy veg and pumpkin risotto are the perfect healthy and quick snack for little ones starting solids that are also ideal for busy parents.”