At 6 months babies start to require extra calories to sustain growth as they are becoming more active and require extra iron sources in food. Breastfed babies will determine when they want breast milk and there is no set pattern to this, with new born babies feeding on demand very regularly and as they get older in response to their requirements. This control will continue through to eating food, babies will eat as much as they require and will turn their heads, close their mouth or push out foods when they are full and the amounts they eat may vary day to day.
The pace of eating should be determined by the baby and they will let you know when they don’t want anymore. They may also be fussy about the tastes and textures they will eat, so any food a baby refuses can be tried again on another day, as it does not mean they will not eat this food in the future. Babies enjoy holding food and baby utensils, and sitting up they start leading the meal time activity, though usually messily. It is reported that babies who are solely spoon fed tend to eat more than those using the ‘baby led’ method and can be fussier eaters. However, a combination of spooned and finger foods can give parents the confidence that their baby has the right nutritional requirements for their age.
Click here to read the Unicef Start for Life Introducing Solid Foods Leaflet