- From 6 months old for babies it is recommended to give a small amount of food prior to their milk, but if they are very hungry it is best to offer the milk and attempt giving food at another time. The pace of eating should be determined by the baby and they will let you know when they don’t want anymore. They may also be fussy about the tastes and textures they will eat, so any food a baby refuses can be tried again on another day, as it does not mean they will not eat this food in the future. Babies enjoy holding food and baby utensils, and sitting up they start leading the meal time activity, though usually messily. It is reported that babies who are solely spoon fed tend to eat more than those using the ‘baby led’ method and can be fussier eaters. However, a combination of spooned and finger foods can give parents the confidence that their baby has the right nutritional requirements for their age.
- By the time a baby is 7 to 9 months they may well be taking three meals a day but still have about 600mls of milk. Water can be offered in an open cup or free flow cup with meals from 6 months old. Their supply of iron and zinc that was built up in pregnancy will start to dwindle at this age so it is important to offer foods that contain these.
- At aged 10 to 12 months the babies may still be taking 450mls of milk a day, but the majority of nutrition will now come from food. Babies like and benefit from social interaction so including them in family meals times will support their eating habits, with them copying behaviours at the table.
- By the time your baby is 12 months old they will have reduced the amount of milk they drink be drinking no more than 350mls of milk and it is at this time that they can be offered full fat cow’s milk as a drink. There is no research evidence to say that follow on milks are required by children.
- At the age of 2 a child can be gradually introduces to semi-skimmed milk if they have a good balanced diet, but it is not until they are 5 years old that skimmed milk is recommended. Whereas breastfed babies can continue breastfeeding until they or you want this to stop, and it is often a natural decrease.
Click here to read the Unicef Start for Life Introducing Solid Foods Leaflet