Babies who smack their lips in satisfaction at a new flavour make most parents happy. But breast milk or baby formula are the best food for your baby during those first six months.
The first taste – food for infants under one year old
When your baby is about six months old, they can hold their head up and start showing signs of chewing motions. At this point it's probably time to start giving them a few tastes of solid food. This is mainly about getting your child used to new textures, new flavours, eating from a spoon and learning how to chew.
Your baby's first food should be simple, soft and smooth. Use a blender or push the food through a fine-mesh sieve with a wooden spoon to purée it. You can add breast milk or baby formula to ensure that the food is liquid enough for your baby to swallow. You don't need to add salt to your baby's food. Home-made food can be frozen in an ice cube tray and used within 3–4 weeks.
Tinned or bottled baby food is specifically designed to meet your child's needs. When buying baby food, make sure it is suitable for your baby's age. Always follow the storage instructions on the bottle or tin.
Hold your baby or put them in a high chair while you are feeding them. Use a small spoon and place the food on the middle of your baby's tongue. Try ½-2 teaspoonfuls at first, increasing the amount gradually until your baby gets about 3–4 teaspoonfuls per meal.
Ideas that your child can try out:
• Puréed fruit (skin, core and seeds removed) – cook the fruit to soften it if necessary. Apples, pears and mango are good fruits to try.
• Boiled and puréed vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, parsnips and broccoli.
• Prepared and puréed beef, lamb or pork, chicken, fish and legumes.
• Buy baby food intended for your baby's age.
Don't give honey to infants
You should not give honey to children under 1 year old. It could contain spores that, in rare cases, can develop into bacteria in the intestine which produce botulin, a dangerous poison. The intestinal defences of babies are not very strong yet. The spores could produce a toxin that can be harmful to infants.
Read 20 nutritional tips for young children.
It used to be recommended that you try one flavour at a time, but that is no longer the case. Feel free to try various foods at the same time.
If your baby doesn't like the food for the first time, leave it out for a couple of days and then try again. Always throw out food that has been on your baby's plate.
As your baby grows, you can vary the meals more. Other types of food, amounts and textures – switch from puréed to mashed food, and then to food chopped into small pieces.
Always introduce new kinds of food when your baby is relaxed and satisfied.
8 months – your baby can start chewing
At this age, your baby may have one or more teeth, and can also move their jaw to the side. This means it's time to give them more to chew on, i.e. small, soft pieces of finely chopped or grated food. This slightly coarser consistency is important to the development of your child's tongue and mouth, which in turn is important in learning to talk.
Don't give up, even if your baby just moves most of the food around their mouth and then spits it out. When they're ready, they will also figure out how to chew.
Also don't give up on introducing new flavours, even if you have to try ten times or more before your baby thinks the new food is acceptable. Young children take a long time to get used to new flavours.
Learn more about how new flavours train your baby's brain.
Babies start to chew and bite at 8–9 months old, at which point you can start to offer a little solid food before breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.
Try finger food – small pieces of food that your baby can take hold of. For example:
• A small piece of rye bread (without seeds).
• Small pieces of fruit (e.g. apple, pear, banana or kiwi).
• Small pieces of soft, boiled vegetables (such as potatoes, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli).
Two meals a day work well. Offer meat or fish for lunch and dinner, and fruit for dessert. Apart from this, you can breastfeed or bottle-feed as before.
The next step is for baby to chew more solid food, until eventually you are both able to eat the same food. Read more about vegetarian food for babies or food allergies.
Read more about food on the Swedish National Food Agency's website.