Learning to eat regular food is a gradual process that usually starts at 6 months. In the beginning, it is mostly about getting your baby used to new textures, more flavors, eating from a spoon and learning chewing movements. Here we tell you everything you need to know about introducing baby food from the age of 6 months.
There are no 'rules' about what to start with and it is fine to try different foods at the same time. The important thing is that the food has a soft texture so that the child does not choke.
Tips for baby food from 6 months
You can mash a piece of cooked potato or some rice with a fork and add breast milk or formula to make a loose mash. Similarly, you can make mashed root vegetables and vegetables. Or let your baby pick up small, soft pieces of food.
You can also give cooked, mashed or blended chicken, eggs, fish, minced meat, beans, lentils and tofu. Meat, beans and tofu are high in iron, which your baby needs.
Bananas, apples and pears are easily mashed by gently scraping the fruit with a spoon. Keep in mind that your baby needs to get used to gruel and porridge slowly. For the first few weeks, a few teaspoons of gruel or porridge is fine, then increase the amount gradually.
Let your child slowly get used to foods containing gluten, such as bread, sandwich wafers, pasta and bulgur. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye - read the packaging. However, there is only a small amount of gluten in oats. Slowly increasing the amount of food containing gluten can reduce the risk of your child developing coeliac disease (gluten intolerance).
Even if you yourself have coeliac disease or are allergic, or if your child has eczema, it is good to introduce all food groups in the first year of life - including foods with gluten, fish, eggs and peanuts.
Continue to breastfeed or give formula as usual during this period. Because breast milk and formula are so nutritious, don't worry if your baby wants to progress slowly.
Young children are vulnerable to bacteria and viruses that can cause stomach upset, so it is particularly important to be hygienic when cooking for your child.
How to give tasting portions?
If you have tried giving tiny samples, you can slowly increase the amount. For the first few weeks, a few teaspoons is enough. If you haven't started tasting before, you should do so when your baby is 6 months old. Start with small amounts so that your child gets used to it gradually. For the first few days, a few teaspoons is enough, then slowly increase the amount.
Check that the food is not too hot and feed the child with a small spoon or let the child pick up small, soft pieces of food. Most children have difficulty getting food into their mouths and swallowing it properly. If the food comes out again, it's usually not because the child doesn't like it, but because they don't know how to do it and are not used to the texture. Regular food is also not as sweet as breast milk or formula, and the new flavors can take a while to get used to.
Some children are quick to accept, while others are more skeptical and need to try new foods many times. You can help your child by tasting it yourself and showing them that you like it. However, if your child shows reluctance, it is better to wait a few days and then try again.
It doesn't really matter at what time of day you give the tasting portion. Some people find it easiest to give it at lunchtime, while others find that dinnertime or somewhere in between is better. The most important thing is to offer it when your child is not too hungry, too full or too tired. You have to experiment to find out what works best.
How much baby food does a child need to eat at 6 months?
It is not possible to say exactly how much food young children need. Some children always want more while others barely want to taste the food. As a parent, both can be frustrating. In the vast majority of cases, your child will make sure they get enough food by showing you when they are hungry. Sometimes it can be easier to get your child to eat if you eat with them. If your baby eats little food but gets a lot of breast milk or formula, that nutrition goes a long way. And remember - if your baby is growing and developing well, there's no need to worry!
If you have a baby who wants to eat a lot, it can be difficult to know when to stop. If your baby is still hungry, it may be better to supplement with breast milk or formula than to increase the amount of food too quickly. The same goes for formula and porridge - increase the amount slowly.
Here you can read about baby food from 8 months!