Here are a few important points on infant nutrition from 4 to 12 months.
==For the first year: milk is a prominent feature=
Breastfeeding is encouraged or move on to 2nd stage formula milk
From 4-6 months
Vegetables without salt and stewed fruits without sugar are introduced at first
- Steam vegetables and stew simple fruits like apples and pears to start with. Purée and offer from a spoon after the usual milk feed.
Introduce things only one at a time
Whether fruits or vegetables, offer one food at a time.
Try the vegetables listed below one at a time so your baby can experience and appreciate its taste. You can if needed add a little potato as a binder.
- French beans
- Courgette (seedless and skinless)
- Extra fine and young garden peas
Avoid strong tastes, to begin and take care as some are high in fibre and can risk an allergy:
- Sweet peppers
Frozen and fresh vegetables can be used. You can use your own garden vegetables if you hardly use pesticides.
Stewed fruit without sugar
You might wan to delay introducing fruits for a week or two until established eating vegetables as your baby may prefer sweet food and refuse vegetables.
Simple fruit compotes are easy and ideal to start with, starting with apples, pears. Mashed banana and avocado are also simple to start with.
The introduction of some fruits such as kiwi should be done after one year.
Discovering meats and proteins (from about 7 to 8 months)
Once established with fruit and vegetables, you can progress to adding protein to their diet. Try giving them what you already cook for yourself but without salt.
- Red meat (lamb, beef and pork),
- Eggs (cooked thoroughly)
- Beans and lentils
Other foods to try are full-fat dairy products, like yogurt, fromage frais and custard. Choose products which are low in sugar.
Avoid meat offal and cured meats.
From 8 - 9 months
Your baby should be eating 3 - 4 meals a day which should include
- Starchy food like bread, potato and rice (3 -4 servings a day)
- Fruit and vegetables (3 -4 servings daily)
- Protein such a fish, eggs, meat, pulses (2 servings daily)
As a drink cooled boiled water is recommended, but if you decide to give juice, then give pure juice, which is diluted one part juice to 10 parts water.
It is important to offer finger foods from about 7 months. It encourages them to chew and feed themselves. Some children prefer to feed themselves. Examples of finger foods;
- Pitta bread, toast, chapatti, cooked pasta
- Cooked and cooled carrot sticks, green beans.
- Peeled apple or pear and banana.
It is important that with hard foods like carrot or apple that it is cooked and cut into smaller pieces as babies can choke.
Check meat and fish for bones and remove sausage skin.
Keep these healthy such as rice cakes, raisins, cubes of cheese, bread sticks, chopped fruit. Avoid processed sugary foods
Milk and eating solid food
As your baby eats more your baby will naturally drop milk feeds. This is usually when your baby is eating plenty of food several times a day.
It is advised that you still breast feed or give approximately 500ml of infant formula a day.
For more information about bottle feeding including amounts to give click on the link
Cow's milk can be used in cooking but not as a drink.
Some advice on food choices and handy tips
- Avoid fried food.
- Offer only healthy snacks.
- Sugar should be limited.
- Water is the best drink to have during meal times.
- Try to eat as family - set a good example early on.
- Do not force your baby to eat. Leave it and try again later.
- Appetites vary from day to day, assess it on a weekly basis rather than daily.
- After three years sometimes 'neophobia' develops: the fear of discovering new food.
- From birth up to 4 to 6 months: 1st stage milks = Formula milk for infants.
- From 4 to 6 months up to 12 months: 2nd stage milks = Follow-on milks for hungrier babies
- From 12 months: = Cows milk or formula growth
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