Your Baby’s Nutritional Needs
Babies go through a rapid period of growth after birth. In fact they usually double their length and triple in weight within the first twelve months of life so nutrition is very important. Remember to lead by example as babies tend to copy and learn from those around them.
Age – Texture
- 0 – 6 months – Liquids (breast milk or formula)
- 6 – 7 months – Pureed foods
- 8 – 12 months – Chopped or mashed and finger foods
- 12 Months + – Family foods.
0 – 6 Months
For babies younger than 6 months breast milk generally provides all the nutrition your baby needs. If breast milk is not available the only suitable alternative until 12 months of age is infant formula.
6 – 7 Months
From around 6 months of age your babies nutritional needs increase and solid foods are needed to help meet their nutritional requirement. Remember when introducing solids texture of the foods is important. Start with pureed foods and gradually over time introduce them to mashed and then chopped textures. It is normal for babies to experience the gag reflex especially when introducing them to new textures. This reflex acts as a safety mechanism to avoid choking. It is important to always supervise your baby during feeding times and remember they will get better at their swallowing and the gagging reflex will settle.
It is important to introduce your baby to a wide variety of solid foods. Even if they dislike a particular food once, it is important to persevere. It can take can take up to 10 times for you to offer a food before they will try it.
For more on introducing solid, see Stage 1: From 6 Months First Tastes
8 – 12 Months
You should have worked up to foods that are now more of a mashed consistency.
From 9 months small amounts of cow’s milk can be included into solid foods.
As your baby starts consuming more solid foods you will notice that the milk feeds will be reducing to around 3-4 a day.
Babies tastes will change as they grow and develop so some foods they loved a month or two ago they may now refuse. This is normal. Remember to persevere.
12 Months +
By now you should be able to offer you baby the same foods as the rest of the family.