Moving from breastmilk or formula can be a trying time, especially for new parents. These are just some of the tips I've collected over the years on introducing babies to solids - feel free to add anything in the comments if I've missed anything!
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Most babies are not ready to eat solids until the age of 6 months or more. By this age your baby will need extra nutrition from solid food along with breastmilk or formula.
Make sure solids are appropriate for your baby's age
The first solids introduced should be baby cereals made specifically for his age group. Add the recommended amount of warm boiled water, breast milk or baby formula and pop a small amount into baby's mouth from the end of a teaspoon.
If you choose a time when baby is hungry, he should accept this new taste and texture without too much trouble. It is quite normal for baby to spit out his first few tastes of solid food. He is experimenting with both the texture and taste. Simply scoop it up from his chin and push it gently back into his mouth.
Don't panic if your baby spits out the food first time around
It doesn't matter if baby does not swallow any of his first meal or two. The important thing is that he has tasted it. If you are sure he needs the extra sustenance you can offer the breast or bottle immediately after placing some solids in his mouth. This way he is more likely to suck instead of spitting. It is important that the texture of the new food should be quite runny at first. This will more nearly resemble what he is used to and make it easier for him to swallow.
Offer a variety of taste and textures once baby is eating
When he is happy to eat cereal, then you can gradually introduce other soft foods such as mashed fruit. Mashed banana is easy to prepare and someone else can eat the rest so that there is no waste. Harder fruit (e.g. apples) should be cooked, of course.
Introduce your baby to your cooking
The long-term goal is to get baby eating the same foods the rest of the family eats, so it is important to offer him small portions from your own cooking and not depend on tinned baby foods. Carrots, potato and pumpkin can easily be mashed with a little baby formula or water to make them smooth.
Below are some sites offering information on feeding babies and small children - again, feel free to add more in the comments if you have any great pages bookmarked!
Eating tips for young children Iron deficiency in children Baby feeding tips Food for babies