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Moving on from milk

So your baby is coming up to 6 months old and you’re starting to think about solid foods. For the past 6 months you've only been feeding your baby with only breast milk or formula milk, this is completely new – so naturally, you may have a lot of questions!

The main questions we find that we’re often asked are:

  • How do you fit all these meals in?
  • How do you balance milk feeds with solid foods?
  • When do you start introducing cow’s milk?

How to fit in all these new feeds

When you first start introducing solid foods, it’s mostly about your baby getting used to new tastes and textures and the idea of eating. They will still be getting most of their energy, calories and nutrients from breast milk or 1st stage formula milk. So don’t worry too much about the amount of food your baby eats.

Babies tummies are tiny and they fill up quickly. So it’s a good idea to offer foods before milk. This way they won’t be too full up to eat. But make sure they’re not too hungry either as they won’t be interested in trying the foods- they understand that milk fills them up but food is a completely new sensation.

When introducing solid foods, make sure your baby is settled and calm. Pick a time that suits you both, and try little amounts.

Balancing milk and solids

Every baby is different and how your baby takes to solid food will be different to the next baby. When you start, you’ll be offering small amounts of food and your baby will probably continue to have a full milk feed after.

It’s recommended that you to continue to breastfeed your baby responsively, or to give your baby at least 500ml of 1st stage formula milk a day from 6 months. If your baby’s having less than 500ml it’s worth giving a vitamin supplement containing vitamins A, C and D.

As the amount of solid foods your baby eats increases, the number of milk feeds they have will gradually decrease. By around 10-12 months they may be on around 3 milk feeds a day.

Cow’s milk

Cow’s (or sheep’s or goat’s) milk should not be given as a drink until your baby is 12 months old. But you can use it in cooking and on cereals from 6 months.

Starting on solid foods can feel a bit daunting at the beginning and you may feel like your baby is constantly feeding! But as with all stages of parenthood, you’ll all soon get used to this new routine.

For further help or advice, contact your local Health Visiting Team. Visit the Start4Life website, and our baby pages for loads more information.

You may also find our film on Progressing through Textures useful.

About the author

Hannah Mott is a Community Nursery Nurse