By the age of six months, babies' brains and digestive systems are developed enough to accept something other than milk. They can support their own head and start to eat from a spoon, although this can be a tricky process after months of only sucking milk. It takes some babies several months to master the art of moving their tongue to the back of their mouth - until then it can seem as if more food is coming out of their mouth than going in!
At first, just one small teaspoon of very smooth pure - baby rice, or simple fruits and vegetables - is given each day. This is gradually built up over a few weeks, until the baby is eating three meals of solid foods a day. The range of foods can gradually be expanded, although there are still many foods that need to be avoided at this early stage. A six-month-old baby's digestive system is very delicate, and many foods are difficult to digest or can cause allergies. In particular, health professionals recommend that it is best to avoid the following products until babies reach 10 months: cow's milk and other dairy products, eggs, gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye), nuts, sugar and citrus fruits.