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Feeding Your Infant

Four to Six Months Old

Your baby will be ready to start to eat solid food at about four to six months of age. You can prepare this yourself. There are good reasons for starting your child on solids at this age -

  • Baby may still be hungry after a milk feed;

  • It lets babies get to know different tastes and textures;

  • Babies need to learn how to swallow solid food.

  • Chewing also helps in the development of muscles in preparation for speech.

  • The iron stored by the liver since birth will be diminishing.

You can give your child the following quite safely -

  • Good quality natural fruit juice - 30 to 60 mL daily.

  • Cereal - Start with rice cereal with added iron. Mix about 1 to 2 teaspoons of cereal with a small amount of breast or formula milk in a dish. Make it thick like porridge and give to your baby at the same time each day. It may take a while for your baby to become used to this new taste sensation. You could also use a little mashed pasta, rice or other cereal food as the first solid food.

Don’t add sugar or honey.

Always feed the cereal to your baby with a spoon.

Don’t use baby biscuits, as they have too much sugar in them.

  • Fresh fruits - such as ripe banana, pear, pawpaw, rockmelon, peach or avocado.

  • Cooked fruits - try apple and pear. Try to grate harder fruits and vegetables.

  • Canned fruits - unsweetened or fruits in their own juices are the best and the easiest to use.

  • Cooked Vegetables (fresh is preferable) such as potato carrots zucchini broccoli pumpkin sweet potato marrow

To cook - steam vegetables. Then mash, blend or sieve them.

Don’t add salt, Vegemite, Marmite or Promite or margarine or butter to vegetables.

  • Rice porridge

If your baby is under 6 months you may start with rice porridge and later add vegetables to rice porridge.

If your baby is over 6 months, you may add minced meat or fish as well.

  • Yoghurt -  Use natural yoghurt and if needed, add fruit.

Helpful Hints

  • Always test the temperature of the food on the inside of your wrist before giving it to baby

  • It is not necessary to use salt

  • Always give solids after baby’s milk.

  • Don’t bombard your child with too much new food too soon. Give your baby only one new food every few days

  • If your baby doesn’t like a new food, that’s all right. Wait for a few days and try again.

  • It sometimes takes a while for babies to learn to eat from a spoon. Use a small teaspoon without sharp edges.

How much food does Your baby need?

Start baby with 2-4 teaspoons of solids at each meal and increase to roughly half a cup by 6 months, or according to your baby’s appetite.

Do not become worried if your child won’t eat solids or won’t eat everything you give him. All babies are different - some need more food than others and some do not need to start solids until six months.

Do not force your child to eat, he will eat when he is hungry.

 Six to Eight Months Old

At this age your baby needs to begin to learn how to chew even if he does not have teeth. Solids should play an increasingly important role in nutrition from now on.

  • Cereal - continue on using iron-fortified baby cereals at least until 9 months. Vita-Brits, Weet-Bix or porridge could be started after 9 months.

  • Egg yolk - You may also give your baby the yolk of an egg. Only give a little at a time until your baby gets used to it. You give it to your baby mixed with vegetables, or from a finger of toast dipped into yolk, or give just the plain yolk.

  • Vegetables - spinach, silver beet and green beans.

  • Meats

  • fish, steamed - make sure there is no skin or bones

  • chicken, finely chopped or pureed.

  • brains, mashed.

  • roast meat or steak - thin flakes scaped off the meat.

  • lamb’s fry.

  • Babies often enjoy chewing on a rusk.

  • Fruit juice - 60 to 12mls daily.

Teething usually starts between 6 and 9 months of age. They usually like to have something in their mouth to ease the pain and discomfort - a rusk is great.

They will also enjoy feeding themselves using their fingers or a safe spoon. They also love chewing on foods such as cooked carrot, celery, green beans, pumpkin; meat, fish, chicken, cheese; pieces of ripe banana, peach, pear, small pieces of orange, apple; sandwiches, toast.

Nine to Twelve Months Old

Babies at this age should be eating most of the same foods as you. But your should be cutting it up in small pieces or mashing it.

  • vegetables

  • fruit

  • pasta dishes

  • potato

  • bread

  • pudding

  • meat, fish, chicken

  • whole egg

  • rice dishes

Raw apple, celery or carrot should be grated

Do not add extra salt or sugar to your baby’s food.

Don’t give fried foods.

  • Snack foods -  Babies often like to munch on something between meals. Healthy options are pieces of soft fruit, plain cracker biscuits, toast or bread.

Avoid the following - sweet biscuits, sugary foods, sweetened fruit drinks, cordials and soft drinks, salty packet chips and crisps, nuts, peanuts, hard lollies, uncooked carrot or celery and whole peas

Drinking from a cup

Between 6 and 9 months, your baby can start to learn to drink from a cup.

To help him/her learn, give him/her an unbreakable cup to play with and show him how to put it to his/her mouth. Then, add a little water, juice or milk and let him/her learn to use it.

It takes most babies some time to learn to drink from a cup. Don’t worry if he/she makes a mess.

One-year-olds

Each day your baby needs these foods to continue to grow to be strong and healthy:

  • Milk - either breast milk or 4 small cups

  • Wholegrain cereal, bread, rice or pasta - 3 servings

  • Yellow or dark green vegetables - 1 serving

  • Juice - 1 small cup

  • Other fruits and vegetables - 2 servings

  • Meat, fish, chicken, eggs, cheese or legumes - 1 or 3 servings

  • Filtered water to drink

If you are breast feeding, continue to breast feed for as long as you and your baby want to.

If bottle feeding, it’s a good idea to start taking your baby off the bottle by twelve months and offer milk from a cup.

  • Snacks  - Most toddlers cannot eat very much at each meal and they get hungry between meals. So they like snacks. Some good ideas are:

pieces of fruit

fruit juice

peanut butter on plain cracker biscuits or bread

small pieces of cheese or cold meat

small cups of milk

Avoid all sweet, refined or fatty snack foods.

Fluids and Vitamins

Water

It is good to offer your baby water regularly. They may not want it however. Do not add sugar or honey to the baby’s water.

Vitamins

Breast milk and recommended infant formulas contain all the vitamins your baby needs for the first 4 to 6 months.

Fruit juice

When baby is 4-6 months of age, you may wish to give some diluted fruit juice, especially in hot weather.

  • 30mL fresh fruit juice in 30mL of cool boiled water.

  • Do not use syrup fruit juices.

Some Useful General Pregnancy & Baby Links

Child and Youth Health Parenting
A very good Australian Government site with over 200 topics

Parenting SA
Excellent site with information about parenting from the Office for Families and Children (SA)

Parent News
Another very good site (U.S.) with lots of resources

Australian Nutrition Foundation
A great site with lots of information for professionals, students, and parents.

Australian Early Childhood Association

KidsHealth.Org
Lots and Lots of very good information.

Multiple Births Association (SA)
A site for parents with or expecting multiple births; resources, contacts and support services

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