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How do you know if your baby is ready to start solids? It can be a tricky one. 

There are (shockingly) a lot of opinions about the how, why and when you should pull out that little airplane spoon, and we thought it would be handy if we waded through the noise for you. 

It’s the least we can do as you’ve probably been up eleventy times overnight.

At what age should my baby start solids?

In the not-so-distant past, Aussie parents used to introduce solids (rice cereal only) at 12 weeks. Ok, it was a while ago - but talk about WILD. 

Now, the recommendations for starting solids in Australian states are all pretty aligned at six months. The World Health Organisation (WHO) agrees so, that age seems like a pretty safe bet. 

Have you heard of Baby Led Weaning?

It’s a theory that encourages parents to offer bub finger foods rather than puree. Baby Led Weaning theory suggests that as soon as your baby can pick up food and put it in their mouth, they’re ready to start eating. Which to be honest makes complete sense. But it’s probably a good idea to follow the WHOS suggestions.

And either way, this usually happens around six months anyway. One of our little koalas decided to go for it at five months. After much deliberation (we presume) he launched himself from the hip he was sitting on, face-first into a cupcake that was being held within reach. Buttercream icing isn’t the recommended first food, but he was chuffed. And we can report that he’s now nine and going swimmingly. He does NOT like buttercream though.

Should I do Baby Led Weaning or purees?

You know, this is really up to you.

The Australian recommendations are slightly inconsistent from state to state, some say to start with smooth and soft foods and progress to family foods while others say that finger foods, like well-cooked carrots, bananas and cooked lean meat are the perfect introduction. 

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Most Aussie health professionals are pretty open to either Baby Led Weaning, a spoon-fed approach, or a mixture of both. So it’s really up to preference. 

A lot of parents choose this mixed approach to starting solids because convenience matters. Sometimes it’s a steamed-organic-broccoli kinda day, and sometimes a squeezy pouch is what everyone needs from life. 

Just remember that introducing solids is just an introduction. Your kid might not be besties with food for a while. And that’s ok.

What should I feed my baby?

Heaps of stuff! 

You only have to take a quick glance at recommended first foods around the world to see that healthy babies can eat a lot of things. In South Africa, the first foods is often corn soup and fish. In Germany, it’s pureed potatoes. In Thailand, it’s rice soup and in the Middle East, it’s often hummus. 

But what’s on the menu when you’re starting solids in Australia? Fairy bread mostly. 

Kidding - please do not feed your baby fairy bread as their first meal. Instead, opt for iron-rich foods like veggies, beans, fish, meat and fortified cereals.

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Foods to avoid when starting solids

Well, number one is fairy bread, closely followed by buttercream icing. 

But there are a few other things you should also steer clear of. 

  • Small hard foods like nuts (nut spreads are fine*)
  • Honey - as it can have bacteria that may make your baby sick. 
  • Tea - this can reduce your baby’s ability to absorb essential nutrients. 
  • Cow’s, goat’s and sheep milk - under 12 months it’s best to stick to breastmilk or formula. 
  • Sweet drinks like fruit juice, cordial, soft drinks etc. These are a hard no. 
  • And anything sweetened with salt or sugar, they just don’t need this. 


*It’s important to be aware of allergies, but unless you have a family history of them - there’s no need to avoid common allergens. You can read all about how to safely do this here.  

What do I need to buy before we get started?

Literally nothing. Baby shops will have you believe you need plastic bowls that suction to tables, spoons that can be loaded with puree, baby hazmat suits and food catchers that connect to the high chair. 

In reality, all you need is a highchair (or low chair) and some small spoons. 

We do highly recommend those rubber scoopy bibs that catch falling food, those things are gold. 

Also, having a dog in the house who cleans the floor is bloody great. But again, not a necessity.

Choking first aid

This paragraph is not here to scare you, and introducing foods to your baby is both a necessity and something that is very safe to do. 

But familiarising yourself with choking first aid is just good sense. Babies are mayhem prone in general. 

There are a lot of first aid courses that cover this, and this fact sheet is a great resource to print out and pop on your fridge.  

You can also read all about choking v’s gagging as well as some great tips on safe feeding practices here. 

Have some fun with it

Around the time you introduce solids your baby really starts to become a real human. It’s not just about their needs anymore, you get to see their joys and preferences too. It can be a super fun time for the family with so many crazy reactions to first tastes and general spaghetti-hat-tomfoolery.

In saying that, it’s a good idea to lower your standards of floor cleanliness and retire your white clothing for 2-4 years. We also recommend making sure to get video proof of them eating broccoli because one day they’ll swear blind they’ve never done anything so disgusting.

Oh, and hold your cupcake on the opposite side to your bub.

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