Introducing complementary foods: Feeding from 12 months

Category: Child Health

Topic: Diet and Eating

Your child is now eating a wide range of family foods with the rest of the family. This page has information on feeding your young child from 12 months.

Foods to add in

  • Full-cream cow’s milk can now replace infant formula. Aim for no more than 500mL per day to leave room for solid food.
  • Regular (unboiled) water can be given as a drink.
  • Honey is not an essential food; however, it no longer needs to be avoided after 12 months. Avoid using it as a sweetener on dummies or bottles.

Tips for feeding toddlers from 12 months

How much food is eaten at this age varies from child to child and from day to day. It can be influenced by growth and activity levels. These tips may help you when feeding your child from 12 months of age.

  • Your child should now be eating healthy meals with the rest of the family. This is a time for learning social skills and courtesy at the meal table.
  • Children do not need special foods. If you need to, just modify the texture of the food your family are eating (e.g. cut up meats or serve small pasta pieces that are easy for your child to pick up).
  • This is a great time for learning and exploring. Some foods may not be well accepted until your child tastes them 10 to 20 times. So you may need to learn to be patient.
  • Encourage your child to feed themself.
  • Growing will slow down in your child’s second year. This means your child will eat less. Your child will let you know how much they want to eat.
  • Your child is now mobile and exploring so may be exposed to more infections. Eating a variety of healthy food will help protect against infection.
  • Offer your child foods before offering fluids. This is to make sure they do not fill up on drinks.
  • Water is the best drink for children. Avoid fruit juices, cordials and soft drinks.
  • Plan regular meal and snack times and allow enough time for your child to eat a meal (e.g. 20 to 30 minutes).
  • Make meals and snacks tasty without adding sugar and salt.

If food choices are limited or you have special diet needs, seek advice from a dietitian, child health nurse or other suitably qualified health professional.

Breastmilk and infant formula feeds

Continue to breastfeed on demand for as long as you and your baby would like to. Breastmilk still provides important amounts of protein, energy and immune factors in your baby’s second year.

Infant formulas are not needed after 12 months of age, as solid food provides enough nutrition. After 12 months, infant formula can be replaced with cow’s milk from a cup.

Sample menu (12 months)

The sample menu gives an example of the types and amounts of foods and drinks that could be eaten over the day.

Water is the best drink. Fruit juice is not needed.


Breastfeed/milk drink

Cereal with milk


Mid morning

1 slice toast or crackers with spread




Vegetables (raw or cooked)

Bread or pasta/rice/noodles (e.g. chicken or egg sandwich with cucumber sticks and quartered cherry tomatoes)

Mid afternoon

Tub of yoghurt (200g)




Vegetables (raw or cooked)

Rice/pasta/noodles (e.g. pasta bolognese with vegetables added to sauce)



Meal and snack suggestions

There are many foods that toddlers often enjoy. Here are some examples:

  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Minced meat and pasta shells
  • Fish or chicken fingers
  • Ravioli, risottos and pastas made with vegetables
  • Diced meats
  • Cheese cubes or slices
  • Pikelets
  • Noodles, spaghetti and all different shapes of pasta
  • Boiled or scrambled egg
  • Potato patties
  • Homemade pizza fingers
  • Mini chicken drumsticks
  • Homemade meatballs and meat/veggie patties
  • Baked beans—choose reduced-salt varieties
  • Diced fresh fruit
  • Homemade vegetable soups with pasta and cheese that children can sprinkle on themselves
  • Vegetables may be better accepted if presented separately so they can be identified—try a mix of raw or cooked vegetables using different methods (e.g. mashed potato might be more popular than boiled potato)./li>

Resources for parents, families and carers

Booklet: Child Health Information, Queensland Government (given to parents of every baby born in Queensland with the Personal Health record)

Growing Strong—Starting solids, Queensland Government

Breastfeeding your baby in Australia, Queensland Government—including booklet, poster and fact sheets for Sudanese, Burundian and Congolese communities

Healthdirect Australia—Introducing solid food, Australian Government

Raising Children Network—Introducing solids, Australian Government

Brochure: Giving your baby the best start, Australian Government

Brochure: Get Up and Grow, Australian Government

Starting family foods, New South Wales Government

Brochure: Starting solids, New South Wales Health

Baby’s first foods, New South Wales Government

Eating tips for babies, Victoria Government, Better Health Channel

Booklet: Guide to foods—baby’s first year, Victoria Government

Fact sheet: Foods in the first year of life, Victoria Government

Healthy eating for babies and young children, South Australia Government

Foods for babies (solids), South Australia Health

Booklet: First foods, South Australia Government

Drinks for children, South Australia Government

Booklet: Baby’s first food, Western Australia Government

Fact sheet: Baby’s first food, Western Australia Government

Booklet: From milk to more… Introducing foods to your baby, Australian Capital Territory Government

Booklet: Start them right—A parent’s guide to eating for under 5s, Tasmanian Government

Related content

Introducing complementary foods: Feeding from around 6 months

Introducing complementary foods: Recipes for babies

How children develop: Food and nutrition (1 to 5 years)

Feeding fussy toddlers

Healthy eating and weight control in children

Iron for toddlers and children


This information is drawn from:

  • Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service 2015, Child health information: Your guide to the first 12 months.
  • National Health and Medical Research Council 2013, Australian dietary guidelines.
  • National Health and Medical Research Council 2013, Infant feeding guidelines.

This fact sheet is also the result of input and effort from many health professionals in Queensland. Their assistance with the content is greatly appreciated.

This information is provided as general information only and should not be relied upon as professional or medical advice. Professional and medical advice should be sought for particular health concerns or events. Best efforts have been used to develop this information, which is considered correct and current in accordance with accepted best practice in Queensland as at the date of production. The State of Queensland (Queensland Health) does not accept liability to any person for the information provided in this fact sheet nor does it warrant that the information will remain correct and current. The State of Queensland (Queensland Health) does not promote, endorse or create any association with any third party by publication or use of any references or terminology in this fact sheet.