Importance of complementary
feeding
 
  Important information
        •   0 - 6 months
        •   6 - 8 months
        •   9 - 12 months
        •   12 - 24 months
 
Hygiene

 

Babies aged 6 - 8 months

From 6 months of age, new foods can be introduced every few days, while continuing to give breast milk between or with meals.

At 6 months of age babies are ready to learn to eat foods with different textures, consistencies and tastes. At this age babies: 

Good choices for complementary foods are those rich in energy, protein, essential fatty acids and micronutrients (particularly iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C and folate). These will be supplied when breast milk and a variety of suitable complementary foods are given to a baby.  Suitable foods include chicken, fish, meat, eggs and liver; dry beans and soya; enriched cereals; orange and dark-green leafy vegetables, and peanut butter.

The taste of a new food may surprise a baby; therefore, introduce new foods one at a time, every few days. The new food may have to be offered several times before it is accepted; it can be mixed with a favourite food initially to encourage the baby to try it.

At this age babies should receive 2–3 meals per day, as well as breast milk. The meal size will initially be small, usually 2 or 3 teaspoons of soft foods. By the time your baby is 8 months old, though, the volume will be about half or two-thirds of a cup.  Depending on the baby’s appetite, 1 or 2 snacks, such as fruit pieces, yoghurt or bread, may be given.

The consistency and texture of foods used should be changed from soft and smooth to include lumpier and firmer foods. Learning how to chew and swallow these foods fits into your baby’s developmental process before the age of 10 months and therefore should not be delayed.  It may seem easier to continue to use soft foods, but for optimal child development it is important to gradually increase the solidity of foods. A soft complementary food should be thick enough to stay on a spoon, without dripping off.  Foods that can cause choking (e.g. peanuts) should be avoided.

Finger foods can be started from about 8 months of age.