1. Variety, variety, variety

    The early days are a great time to introduce a wide variety of food, while children are more receptive to it. So, start with foods like fruit, vegetables, cereals (e.g. rice or millet), followed soon after by protein (e.g. beans, lentils, chicken and fish), dairy (e.g. cheese and yoghurt) and finger foods – if you’ve chosen baby-led weaning.

  2. New flavours

    Up until this point they’ve only been exposed to milk, so it’s a big learning curve for them. As we are born with an innate preference for sweetness, it’s a good idea to offer vegetables before fruit, introducing bitter flavours (like broccoli, cauliflower and spinach). It can take at least 10 tries to introduce a new vegetable until they accept it. So, to help them distinguish individual flavours, get them to try small amounts of different foods first.

  3. New textures

    Trying new textures, whether that be from whole cooked or soft raw foods (if following the baby-led weaning approach) is what this journey is all about. If offering purees first, then your little one will progress from eating runny, thin and thicker purees through to mashed, lumpy, minced and chopped food.

  4. Perseverance pays off

    If your baby pulls a face when trying out new food, remember that the whole experience is new to them. If they continue to be resistant, don’t force them, just wait and try again at the next meal or the following day. Let them lead you. They might not be hungry or might be tired. It can take multiple attempts – particularly with vegetables – to get your little one to accept, embrace and enjoy them. Repeated exposure is key!

  5. Learning to use cutlery

    If they grab at the spoon when you’re offering them food, try and encourage their independence and let them have a go at feeding themselves (even if it gets messy). If they aren’t actually feeding themselves much food, why not try feeding them with another spoon in between their attempts.

  6. Make meals an occasion

    The social aspect of eating together at the table is a new, exciting event to your little one. They’ll be more likely to enjoy eating their food if they have the opportunity to learn through watching you eat a meal at the same time. They are so influenced by their parents or carers and watching you eat well can positively influence them to do the same.

  7. Keeping hydrated

    Babies need extra fluids in their diet, not just from milk alone. At around 6 months your little one will start to use a beaker or cup, another skill they will master with their increasing dexterity. Water is the best drink and is an essential accompaniment to food at mealtimes to help replace fluid lost through urine.

  8. Be food label savvy

    If buying pre-prepared baby food, always read the ingredient list on the pack. This will make sure you aren’t misled. Sometimes what’s described on the front of pack isn’t representative of the recipe. In fact, it can be predominantly sweet even when the label indicates it is savoury, particularly when there is lots of fruit content tucked away in the ingredients list.