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Which is the best way to introduce new foods to the diet?

As long as it’s cow’s milk free, you can chose from a great variety of “first foods” that you can offer to your baby , taking his or her likes and dislikes into account.

Here are some first foods you might want to try:

  • Mashed or puréed cooked vegetables such as potato, sweet potato or yam, mixed together with parsnip, carrot, broccoli or cauliflower
  • Mashed ripe fruit such as banana, avocado, cooked apple, pear or mango
  • Baby rice or well cooked and mashed white rice, oats or other starchy foods such as maize, millet, cornmeal or noodles
  • Blended or puréed meat, fish or chicken – well cooked and prepared without salt. Remember to make sure you remove any bones
  • Soft cooked and puréed or well mashed lentils (dhal), split peas, chickpeas or other pulses

Gradually increase food consistency and variety!

Once your baby has learned how to take soft food from a spoon, you can start to introduce mashed food with soft lumps. You’ll be able to use lots of the foods you already cook for the rest of the family. Just mash it or cut soft food into pieces that your baby can hold. And always remember not to use any cow’s milk or dairy products!


Introduce only one new food at a time (e.g. potatoes in one week, bananas the next, carrots the following week, etc). If the child does react to it, this way it will be easier for you to pinpoint the offending food.

Good food hygiene is essential for infants – so make sure the food is safe. Heat cooked food thoroughly, let it cool, then stir well and test before offering it to your baby. It’s best to dish up only as much as you think your baby will eat because you should throw away any leftovers. Don’t reheat cooked food more than once and don’t refreeze any food that hasn’t been used. And remember, all eating utensils you use to feed your baby must be really clean.

Check food labels. Remember to carefully read the labels of any foods you want to feed to your baby or use as ingredients in meals you cook for him. The child’s doctor or dietitian can help you with this. Use home-prepared food whenever possible.
A balanced diet consisting of safe solid foods and specialized formula will help your infant to grow and develop.