1A HEALTHY START IN LIFEINTRODUCTION TO SOLIDS4.0 Introduction to solidsThe introduction of solids is an essential learning experience for both the infant and family. It is thetime when an infant’s eating and health habits begin to be established. The overall objective ofintroducing solids is to gradually move an infant from breastmilk only at 6 months to eating a fullrange of healthy family foods by 12 months.First attempts at eating may be slow and awkward. All infants develop at different rates and so dotheir feeding practices, appetite, etc. Caregivers should learn to respond to the infant’s cues withpatience so that feeding skills develop over a few months.It is important to understand that the role of the caregiver is to choose the type of food, provideand make the food, and it’s the infant’s role to decide if they want to eat and how much.Introduction of solids helps with the beginnings of speech, teeth and jaw development.Recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents in Australia(1)The transition to solid foodsIntroduce solid food at around 6 months, to meet the infant’s increasing nutritional and■■developmental needs.Start with low-allergenic foods such as single-grain baby cereals; follow this with■■vegetables and fruits and then meats. Add only one food at a time and wait several daysbefore introducing a new food.To prevent iron deficiency, iron containing foods such as iron-fortified cereals are■■recommended as the first foods, followed later by foods containing meats and otheriron-rich foods.Alternate milk recommendationsUse breastmilk or infant formula until the baby is 12 months.■■Pasteurised whole cow’s milk may be introduced to a child’s diet at around 12 months of■■age and be continued throughout the second year of life – and, of course, beyond. It isan excellent source of protein, calcium and other nutrients.Reduced fat milks (skim milk and milk with 1 or 2% fat) are not recommended in the first■■2 years of life.Soy (except soy formula where specifically indicated), rice and other vegetarian■■beverages—whether or not they are fortified—are inappropriate alternatives tobreastmilk, formula or pasteurised whole cow’s milk in the first 2 years of life.Other fluids in infant feedingBoil water that is to be fed to the infant until 12 months.■■Limit the infant’s fruit juice intake, to avoid interfering with their intake of breastmilk or■■infant formula.Do not use herbal teas, soft drinks or other beverages.■■
2A HEALTHY START IN LIFEINTRODUCTION TO SOLIDS4.1 When should solids start?Breastmilk or infant formula provide all the nutrients required by an infant for the first 6 months oflife and continue to be an important nutritional source until 12 months and beyond (1, 2, 3).