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Milk or Solids First When Starting Solids


This is one question which seems to generate A LOT of opinion...most of which is not founded on evidence or research.

My simple answer is = solids first - right from the first day of solids.

I want to direct you to our World Health Organization Fact Sheet on starting solids. In this fact sheet it is clearly stated that from around six months of age, an infants need for energy and nutrients starts to exceed what is provided by breast milk (or formula) and complementary foods are necessary to meet those needs. This fact sheet highlights that infants who are not introduced to solids at this age (and consume it) their growth can be impacted. 

Food before one is NOT for fun! It is needed!

Please show me the robust evidence, peer reviewed research or guidelines that say this!

To understand why I recommend this from day one, it is important to understand that hunger is hormonal. When we give milk first (breastmilk or formula) in a babies routine it will decrease those hunger hormones as they contain calories. A small percentage of babies will eat after, however the majority will not and not in volume. 

To be clear I am not suggesting you start your baby off on three meals a day and cut out all milk! As you will see in my month-by-month guide in The Nourished Baby, you will start on one solid meal a day. This does not need to be first thing in the morning; rather at a time that works best for you and your baby after one of their naps. 

What is important is that you offer solids first.

Here is the primary reasons to do this:

- To maximise iron intake - breastmilk (and subsequently formula) is low in iron. Babies need 10-11mg of iron a day from six months and this is a key reason to start solids at this age to match that nutrient requirement not available from breastmilk or formula. 

-To encourage eating on a cue not a clock - we want our babies to be instinctual eaters. By this I mean eating when they feel they are hunger NOT a clock. When we do milk first it is generally recommended solids are given half an hour or an hour after - this is a clock telling our babies they are hungry not them. 

- To give the greatest opportunity for volume intake - this relates to the first two points. Doing solids first means we allow babies to simply eat until they are full. They will quickly turn their head away when they are. You might find my blog on portions here helpful as well. Moreover, it is maximising their food intake as they have not had calories from milk first. By the age of one (not on their one year old birthday), solid food needs to be the primary provider of nutrients for a baby.

If you are struggling with solids please know that there are a number of factors that might be contributing. Do check out my resources below and you can always book in for a 1:1 consultation. I have helped many parents for over a decade now with this I promise I have a lot of tips and tricks up my shelve that you often cannot even think about as you are so tired. 


xx Dr Julie

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