Infant milks in the first year of life
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Dr Helen Crawley
Dr Helen Crawley is a Director who manages and co-ordinates First Steps Nutrition. She is a dietitian and public health nutritionist with over 30 years experience in public health nutrition across the lifespan.
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Introducing solids

Encouraging infants to eat well

Offer a variety of foods every day – simple unprocessed foods will provide a good range of energy and nutrients
Video Tutorial
In Short
If foods are offered and rejected the first few times, don’t give up, it may take a while for a baby to accept a new flavour. Sometimes it could take up to 10 times before a food becomes a favourite.

Just because a baby grimaces when offered a new food does not mean they won’t learn to enjoy that food. Don’t assume your baby won't like foods that you don’t like, give them the chance to taste lots of things – especially more bitter foods such as green vegetables.

Our video is presented by Melissa Little, Paediatric Dietitian


Introduce babies to a wide range of vegetables: raw, cooked and mashed, cooked and eaten as soft finger food. The important thing to remember is a good variety, lots of different flavours, colours and textures. Always wash vegetables well when serving raw.

Good vegetables to introduce to infants:
  • Pepper sticks
  • Carrot or parsnip fingers
  • Courgette fingers.
  • Cauliflower or broccoli florets.
  • Mange tout or green beans
  • Butternut squash
  • Tomatoes (make sure small tomatoes are not given whole)
  • Peas and sweetcorn

Babies are likely to readily accept the sweeter taste of fruit and so it is important to offer lots of vegetable tastes and not just rely on fruit as a good first food. You can offer fruit well washed and cut into slices raw or cooked and mashed depending on your baby is managing food.

Good choices include:

  • Banana
  • Pear
  • Avocado
  • Plums, apricots and peaches
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Raspberries, strawberries and blueberries
Foods which are a good source of protein and other important nutrients

Protein foods are also an important source of iron and zinc and a variety of these foods should be included in the diet every day:

  • Peas, beans and lentils.
  • Ground nuts and seeds
  • Meat and poultry.
  • Fish, both white and oil-rich fish.
Dairy foods and non-dairy alternatives

Breastmilk or infant formula will remain an important source of nutrients in the first year, but other dairy food (or non-dairy alternatives) can be used in cooking and soft finger foods:

  • Whole animal milk can be used in cooking
  • Unsweetened fortified milk alternatives (soya, oat, nut, hemp, but NOT rice milk drinks)
  • Plain whole milk yoghurt or fromage frais
  • Unsweetened soya or coconut based yoghurts
  • Small amounts of cheese (cheese has a high salt content so use sparingly and choose lower salt cheese like mozzarella cheese)
Share the knowledge
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.