The La Lèche League advises to exclusively breastfeed baby for at least 6 months. You can continue to feed your baby exclusively after this time, if you wish so. However, many babies develop a desire to try solid food or they need filling up more. Banana or baby rice are a great choice for starting baby on solids. Your baby can also try pureed fruit and vegetables, raw or cooked. They are easy to digest and taste great. He will also enjoy nibbling a bread crust or rusks. Please read more tips about baby’s first food baby’s first food here.

Happy mother and baby

Your baby’s physical development:

Baby should be able to hold an object in his hand and feed himself i.e. with a cracker. He smiles often and confidently when being interacted into play and talk. Baby can sit without support and bear some weight on his legs when held standing. He may also be able to pull himself up into a standing position when sitting. He will object if you try to take his toy away from him and also try to reach for a toy by moving towards it. Baby is becoming more independent by the day – and more confident. He looks for a dropped toy and tries to pick up an object in his fist. When hearing somebody baby turns his head towards the direction of the voice. Peekaboo is now a great game!

He may already be able to creep or crawl by now and pass an object from one hand to the other. Maybe he can also get into a sitting position from lying on his front. Waving bye-bye and clapping hands is another challenge which some babies may have already learned. A few babies can also pick up tiny objects with their finger and thumb and walk whilst holding on to the furniture (so-called cruising).

Your baby’s emotional development:

At this age, baby is learning about cause and effect: when his hand releases the ball it will fall onto the floor. This is an important discovery and will take some more months and plenty of experiments to understand.

Slowly, baby starts to understand the meaning of often repeated words, such as “no”. This little word has a strong meaning and will thus be picked up quicker than other words.

Baby simply loves social interaction: play, talk and cuddles are all important for developing his confidence and trust. He is keen to imitate sounds, simple movements and facial expressions. This helps him to communicate as well as to get to know his physical abilities. He loves attention, especially when he feels frustrated about not being able to reach his favourite toy. Baby can express his anger very strongly now and your duties as parent will shift from caring to taking a standpoint when being confronted with his strong emotions.

There are a lot of games and activities that he will enjoy now. Take a look at our activity list for some inspiration here.

Here are some guidelines to help you get started comfortably. Always keep in mind that you need to keep it simple and provide nutritionally balanced food. The best option is always organic food as you can be sure of a minimum amount of chemicals used within the growing process. Always label the containers and make a note of the ingredients used in case your baby shows an allergic reaction.

Your baby should be comfortable. Depending on his age, a high chair might not be supportive enough. You can try a Bumbo Baby Seat or a bouncing chair instead.

You should use a rubber-tipped spoon as it is kinder to his gums.

You can start with baby rice as it is gluten free and easy to digest. You can mix it with breast milk or formula so the taste will be familiar. You should keep it fairly liquid to start with as your baby has to get used to the different taste and texture first.

Pick a quiet and relaxed time of day. Your efforts will be more successful when your baby is well rested and both you and your little one make it a fun time together. If you have older children running around the house try to find the best time that fits in with your baby’s and your other child’s routine.

Don’t let baby become too hungry when trying to eat for the first time. It is a good idea to give your baby some milk before you give him solid food so that he is not too hungry and less likely to become upset.

If your baby is ready for his first solid food he will open his mouth and be happy to try it. Don’t get frustrated if he continues to reject it though – just relax and try it again some other time!

Never ever force him to eat and don’t rush it! Babies need time and a smile.

If your baby has had enough of his first food he will show you by turning his head away, refuse to open his mouth again or play with the spoon. Try to read your baby’s signs and respect them. You should discard the remains of the meal and offer him another drink of milk to finish it.

If your baby is happy with his first taste of solid food increase the amount of food slowly. However, keep in mind that milk is the main part of his diet at this stage.

If your baby refuses baby rice or becomes constipated as a result of it, don’t despair. There are other alternatives.

For more baby feeding information visit http://www.babysbest.co.uk/Articles/Babys-first-food/

Experts recommend that baby should ideally be breastfed for at least the first year of his life. Breast milk is nutritionally perfect for your baby’s development and all he needs. In fact, in most non-Western cultures it has been observed that babies are usually breastfed for about 2 years before being weaned. This seems like a long time for us, yet it is perfectly plausible if we consider baby’s delicate immune system that has to sustain harsher living conditions.

In contrast, studies in modern cultures have shown that the average time a baby is breastfed is about 4 months. Some mothers may also decide against breastfeeding altogether because of medical or personal reasons. There are formulas on the market specifically designed for different ages of baby. They represent the only alternative to breast milk as they are designed to be “as close to nature” as artificially possible.

When it is time for baby to taste first solid food, health visitors now follow the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO) which recommends that no solid food should be introduced before the first 6 months.

However, you may receive contradicting advice from older relatives and friends who advocate the introduction of solid food sooner than 6 months. Whatever your decision, follow your baby’s lead: He will show you if he is interested by watching you eat with eager anticipation or by showing signs of being hungrier than normal and requiring constant breast or bottle feeding.

For more tips and tricks about baby’s first food visit http://www.babysbest.co.uk/Articles/Babys-first-food/