From Milk to Munchies: An Intro to Solids Part II

by | Apr 5, 2023

We continue with Part II of the introduction to solids by sought-after Dieticians Megan Pentz-Kluyts and Dorothy van der Spuy, 

A reminder from where we left off in part one of an intro to solids: At the time of introducing solids, all babies need additional water. Use cooled, boiled water sips given in-between meals and between milk feeds is a good idea to get them used to the taste of plain water.



  • Vegetables: start with cooked and strained fresh veggies such as pumpkin, butternut and sweet potato.
  • Add an iron-rich protein food, can include:
    • soft-cooked pureed, mashed, or finely minced meat
    • poultry
    • low-mercury fish, such as steamed hake with bones removed
    • well-cooked mashed legumes like beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils
    • well-cooked mashed egg, using both the whites and yolk 
  • Porridges may be cooked maize meal, maltabella, strained oats, or an iron-fortified infant porridge.
  • Fruits – introduce fruit such as peeled ripe or cooked, strained, or mashed fruit like apple, banana, peach or pear. Fruit is excellent added to porridge or veggie once those are accepted, to vary the flavour.
  • Grains – strips of whole wheat bread / toast or pita bread, cooked macaroni. 


Start slowly, try 1-2 teaspoons at one meal a day. Increase the quantity as baby shows cues and interest of wanting more. Learn to read your baby’s cues as to not force or overfeed. Once baby is taking about 3 teaspoons, try a different food at a second meal. Then, after about a week, try offering solids at three meals per day. The timing of these meals should fit in with family mealtimes, creating routine.


About 6 months Offer 1-2 teaspoons of pureed, mashed or blended food once a day.
6-9 months Gradually increase to 2, then 3 meals a day. Increase the consistency and texture, like mashed and chopped food, soft finger foods. 
9-12 months Offer foods with a firmer texture. Give three meals a day, followed by fruit or plain full cream yoghurt (no sugar added). 
After 12 months Offer family foods, avoiding adding salt and sugar in the preparation. Give three meals a day with healthy snacks mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Try vegetable slices or sticks, pieces of fruit, wholegrain crackers & bread sticks with hummus, avocado, or nut butters.



  • Cow’s milk as an entire milk feed and honey are not recommended until after 12 months. Cow’s milk can be included as can yoghurt or added when preparing meals. Some foods may cause choking, such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit, whole grapes, popcorn, marshmallows, and crunchy peanut butter. Nut butters can be added into porridge to avoid choking. Tea and coffee, fruit juices, other juices and cooldrinks are not recommended. Avoid too salty or sugary foods and cook foods without adding salt or sugar.



There are different ways of introducing you baby to solid foods. Traditionally, baby’s first food is a small amount of smooth blended food, given from a spoon, offered once a day. The quantity gradually increases, and texture gradually progresses to mashed, to chopped, to soft finger foods. 


Another way of introducing solids can include the baby self-feeding, under constant supervision, with pieces of soft finger food which they can hold and eat from their hands. This is called baby-led weaning. Foods offered are soft enough that the baby can mash it against the roof of their mouth with their tongue. Take care to avoid foods with choking risks.


With either method, or a combination of these methods, learn to recognise and follow your baby’s cues. Always avoid force-feeding or over-feeding, this helps your baby develop a healthy attitude to both food and eating. Bon Appetite!


*Disclaimer: These are general guidelines for healthy, term babies. For more specific guidelines, or if your baby was born preterm, or has any other health condition, please get more individualized information from your registered Dietitian or Paediatrician.