At 6 months babies are interested in what is going on around them, at meal times seeing family eating and talking. They are curious about what you are eating and ask in their own way for food.
- Babies are able to hold their head steady.
- Babies will be able to sit or sit supported.
- Babies can take food off a spoon using his upper lip and move food to the back of their mouth, and swallow it.
- Babies can reach out for things and put things in their mouths.
- Babies can pick up and hold finger food and put it in their own mouth.
- Babies may be able to hold a spoon but will not be able to guide it well enough to feed themselves.
Babies will make a mess when eating both down their front and around them
Baby led weaning
- Some babies will like soft foods and some prefer finger foods and it may take a while for them to accept one or the other. You can try either method or both together. If they don’t take food one way try the other and it they take neither leave it a few days and retry.
- Babies weaned after 6 months are far less likely to choke and gag on food as they sit up for their food.
- Baby led weaning can be enjoyable if approached without expectation and is relaxed.
- Finger foods to include easy to eat food that they can pick up and eat by themselves, that will mush easily, melt in the mouth but can be gummed, for example :-
Small chunks/fingers of cheese, lightly toasted bread or bagels. Well cooked -cauliflower, broccoli florets, potato, sweet potato, carrot, butter nut squash, parsnips. Soft fruits like pear, cooked apples, banana, mango, plum-ripe, papaya, avocado- seedless and peeled.
Spoon fed method
- Use a soft tipped spoon, bib and non- breakable dish
- Babies can start on mashed food, either cooked vegetables or fruit mixed with breast or formula milk.
- Don’t force them to take the next spoonful, allow them to open their mouth before offering more food.
- Babies will only take a few teaspoons once in the day to start with. This will slowly increase until they are eating three meals a day.
Introducing a free flow cup or preferably an open top cup with water at mealtimes will encourage your baby to learn to sip rather than suck, which is better for their teeth. The use of a bottle is not recommended after your child is one year old. Teats, spouts and straws encourage children to suck for long periods of time and if they contain drinks other than milk or water this can lead to tooth decay as they have increased contact with their teeth. Non spill cups can be convenient but it is important to teach your child to sip, not suck. It is not advised to add food products to a milk drink.
Drinks under 6 months
- Breast and formula fed babies receive enough water in their feeds.
- The only time water is advised is when it is hot weather and this is for formula fed babies. Any water given to a baby under 6 months should be boiled and cooled before offering to your baby.
- Breastfeeding Mothers are advised to drink more water rather than give it to their babies.
Click here to read the Unicef Start for Life Introducing Solid Foods Leaflet