Introduction to Solids: Ask a Registered Dietitan

July 19, 2012 , In: Baby, Motherhood , With: One Comment

My sister happens to be a Paediatric and Maternal Weight Management Dietitian working with children in the UK (see all her excellent qualifications below).  This is very handy for all my baby questions and I thought it would be a nice post from time to time.  There is a lot of craziness out there on parenting websites, and sometimes it’s best to get an expert opinion.  First up….

Dear Melissa,

I am a bit confused about introducing solids.  When am I supposed to breastfeed baby, and when am I supposed to feed him solids? Do I do both at one sitting and if so, in what order?  Do I try to give solids at every feed? Am I supposed to be giving any water?


Some early make up experimentation….

Hi Michelle

This is a pretty common question.  The first time you introduce solids you want to choose a feed where you are at home and have plenty of time.  Usually people find lunch easiest but it could be any meal.  You want him to be hungry but not so hungry that he has himself worked up.

Generally, we would recommend starting the meal with solids and then topping up with breast milk when he is done.  Because intake will generally be low to start with, you will end up still having most of the feed as milk.  As his solid intake increases, his milk intake top up will naturally decrease.  

Note that while this method works well for the majority of babies, some babies will prefer to have a little milk first to wet their appetite and then move to solids, but still topping up with milk at the end.  Try the above method first though as generally it works best.

Start by introducing solids at one feed.  If he takes it well you can add another meal working up to 3 meals a day containing solids.  You will generally still have milk only feeds in the night and mornings even when he is taking 3 meals a day.

As good guidance (but not to be taken as gospel) from 6-9 months they will generally have 4-5 milk feeds per day and from 9-12 months it is usually 3-4 milk feeds per day.  This will vary from day to day and week to week (and to a certain extent from baby to baby).

As for your water question, you should offer water in a cup at every feed containing solids.

I hope this helps and can’t wait to hear how it goes!


Melissa Little is a Paediatric and Maternal Weight Management Dietitian for a charity in South London.  She is also completing a Masters programme where she is studying Advanced Dietetics with a focus on Paediatric Obesity and Public Health.  She has appeared on numerous media outlets including newspapers, magazines, radio and television as a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association.  She is also featured on The Essential Baby Care Guide DVD.  She is fully registered with the Health Professionals Council and the British Dietetic Association.  And no, she’s not paying me to write all this 🙂

You can follow her on Twitter @LondonDietitian

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Michelle Little

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Originally from the prairies and now in Montreal, I love exploring new places, eating great food and modern design. I'm mom of two wild things and paper and cake make me happy. Photographing your cutie family would make me very happy.

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