Nutrition of Very Young Children (from 4 Months to 1 Year)

While breastmilk (or baby formula) is encouraged for the first year of your child's life, you may supplement with other elements, especially as your baby gets older. (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.)

N.B. It is advised that you still breast feed or give approximately 500 ml of infant formula a day during the first year of your baby's life. Cow's milk can be used in cooking but not as a drink.

Here are a few important points on infant nutrition, beginning at 4 months and continuing until a child's first birthday.

From 4 to 6 Months

At this stage, you may introduce steamed vegetables (without added salt) and stewed fruits (without added sugar). They should both be puréed before feeding to the baby with a spoon after their usual milk feeding.

N.B. Whether you choose to begin with fruits or vegetables, be sure to introduce on new food at a time. You might wan to delay introducing fruits for a week or two after introducing vegetables, as your baby may prefer sweet foods and refuse vegetables.

Some puréed vegetables that your baby may enjoy (with or without a bit of potato mixed in as a binder) include carrots, string beans, spinach, zucchini (seedless and skinless), pumpkin, and extra fine and young garden peas.

Some vegetables have a strong taste and are often high in fiber, therefore proving potentially difficult to get used to for your baby. They include cabbages, turnips, onions, tomatoes, celery, artichokes, sweet peppers, eggplant, parsley.

Simple fruit compotes are easy to start with, like apples, pears, mashed bananas, and avocados. The introduction of some fruits, such as kiwis, should be done after one year.

From 7 to 8 Months

Once you have introduced fruits and vegetables, you can progress to adding protein to your baby's diet. Try giving them what you already cook for yourself, but without salt. For example, your baby can try red meat (i.e. lamb, beef, and pork), chicken, eggs (cooked thoroughly), and beans and lentils. Avoid offal and cured meats.

Your baby can also try full-fat dairy products, like yogurt, cream, and custard. Choose products that are low in sugar.

It is also important to offer your baby finger foods from about 7 months. It encourages them to chew and feed themselves. Examples of finger foods include pita bread, toast, cooked pasta, cooked and cooled carrot sticks, green beans, and peeled apples. Note that hard foods, like carrots and apples, should always be cooked and cut into smaller pieces to avoid choking.

From 8 to 9 Months

Your baby should now 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); and protein, such as fish, eggs, and meat (2 servings daily). Always check fish for bones and remove and skin off of sausages to avoid choking.

To drink, cooled boiled water is recommended. If you decide to give juice, then give pure juice (with no added sugars), with the ratio of one part juice to 10 parts water.

Snacks should be healthy and can include rice cakes, raisins, cubes of cheese, bread sticks, and chopped fruit. Avoid processed, sugary foods.

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