nosh magazine (issue 3) - Page 10

nosh magazine BABY’S FIRST FOODS Nutrition expert Kate DiPrima provides this guide to help you introduce solid foods to your baby. ll babies progress at different rates but here is a general guide to feeding your baby their first solids. A When to begin Until six months of age your baby receives all of their nutrition from either breast milk or formula; however, at six months their needs are generally not met by these sources alone. At this age, signs that they may be ready for more solid food may include: • showing interest in your food • putting things in their mouth • able to suck on a spoon (without the tongue forcing it out again) • wanting more frequent feeds • sitting up. The first spoonful This needs to be very smooth and sloppy, and mild in taste. An iron-enriched baby rice cereal is a great first food due to its texture and iron content. Mix it with breast milk, formula or cooled boiled water. Other great first foods are pureed vegetables such as pumpkin, potato, carrot, zucchini or avocado; and fruits such as pureed banana, pear and cooked pureed apple. Week 1: introduce one teaspoon of rice cereal per day, after a breast feed or bottle feed. Week 2: increase the rice cereal to two feeds per day, after a breast or bottle feed. Week 3: add pureed vegetables or fruit to one of the meal times (e.g. one to three teaspoons of pureed potato, pumpkin, carrot or zucchini). Week 4: add anywhere between one teaspoon and one tablespoon of pureed fruit to the cereal. 10 After these first weeks, continue to add the blander vegetables and fruits, such as pureed banana, pear, apple and avocado. Gradually increase the amount until you are up to half a cup or around 120g per solid meal. This solid food should be in addition to four or five breast or bottle feeds (600ml to 800ml) each day. At 6 to 8 months: Once your baby is eating cereal and several fruits and vegetables, it is time to introduce more protein-rich foods, as these are more satisfying and contain nutrients such as iron, zinc or calcium. Foods could include lean meats, chicken, fish, egg yolk (leave the egg whites until after 12 months of age), dairy foods (e.g. yoghurt, tasty cheese, ricotta cheese) and legumes (e.g. baked beans and hommus). You can also include foods such as rice, pasta and bread, cut into sticks or squares. Solids can now be offered before the feed. Remember, your baby’s tastebuds are very sensitive and have not been damaged by strong spicy hot foods, so what tastes bland to you may be a strong flavour for your baby. For this reason, do not add salt, sugar or honey to their foods. At 8 to 9 months: At this age, babies will start to chew regardless of how many teeth they have. It is important to change the texture from smooth to a mashed texture with soft lumps. This helps them learn how to move the food around in their mouth and chew. It’s also important for their speech development. At around eight to nine months babies learn how to pick things up with their hands, so you can introduce finger foods such as: • Sticks of cheese • Bread sticks or rusks • Pieces of cooked vegetable including cooked carrot and apple. To avoid choking, always watch your baby while they are feeding themself, and make sure they are sitting upright. To prevent choking, also avoid: • raw carrot and raw apple • large pieces of food including large pieces of meat • popcorn, nuts and lollies • large sized grapes and dried fruit (e.g. raisins – instead, cut them into halves or quarters). At 9 to 12 months: Your baby should be offered three meals per day (between half and one cup or 120g to 250g) with three to four formula or breast feeds (approximately 600ml). Offer food before the breast or bottle feed. By 12 months of age, the food’s texture should be a lot chunkier (some babies are able to chew tougher meats or even chew on a chop). Offer water as an alternative to milk, and try to avoid offering anything sweet such as juice (if offered it should be diluted one part juice to four parts water). 12 months and beyond: Your baby will probably be eating similar foods to the rest of the family now. It is not necessary to cook different meals for different members (although it is advisable to tone down very rich, strong flavours for them). You can now: • offer drinks such as water from a cup, (important for their hand eye coordination) or cows milk • use small amounts of honey • use cooked egg whites. Note: If there is a family history of allergies, speak with your GP or dietitian as they may advise delayed introduction of some foods.