When should I introduce a cup?
If you are bottle feeding, comfort sucking on a bottle can become a habit that is hard to break. Introduce a cup from six months and aim to have your baby off the bottle by their first birthday.
How much and how often?
When you are both ready you can start to increase the amount of solid food you give. Try to react to your baby's appetite, if he seems hungry offer more. Progress from offering solid foods once a day to solid food at two, then three feeds. Offer different foods at different times to give your baby variety.
You will find as your baby eats more solid foods the amount of milk your baby wants will start to reduce. Once your baby is eating plenty of solids several times a day you can drop a milk feed but continue to breastfeed or give 500-600ml of formula a day until at least 12 months.
What to give and when
From 6 months it's safe to offer your baby dairy in the form of yoghurt or cheese, Starchy foods such as pasta or cereals and also meats, fish, pulses, fruits and vegetables.
Before six months don't feed your baby wheat based food (these contain gluten and can cause allergies later in life), eggs, strawberries, fish or nuts.
Before 12 months it's not safe to offer your baby cow's milk or honey.
NEVER offer the following foods to any baby or toddler – whole nuts (risk of choking), added salt, high salt foods such as stock cubes or gravies and packet sauces, low fat diet foods, tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
Eating as a family
Sit your baby in a highchair at the table, smile and talk to them to make them feel included. Eventually your baby should eat the same food as the rest of the family – even if it has to be mashed up first. Always encourage your baby to feed themselves with finger foods and let them decide when they have had enough.
Coping with a fussy eater
If your baby is a fussy eater here are some things you can do to help.
- Praise your baby when they eat well and don't get frustrated or angry if they don't.
- Don't worry if your baby doesn't seem to like certain foods, leave it a week or so and try again.
- Set a good example and let your baby see you eat a good variety of foods.
- Don't worry if your baby doesn't seem to eat much one day. Appetites vary it's more important what your baby will eat over the course of a week.