Solid Food

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When is the best time to start your baby on solids? Here are some tips to help identify when the time has come, however please note the following advice is of general nature only – for more specific guidelines for your baby consult your dietitian. Hints your baby’s ready to start solids.
• Your baby often shows great interest in your food
• Baby has good head control
• Baby seems hungrier than usual
• Baby may start waking again at night, when previously was mostly sleeping through
Starting solids before 4 months of age is of NO benefit to your baby and NOT recommended, as they cannot properly digest any foods before 4 months and it may even increase the risk of such conditions as food/ skin allergies, eczema or dermatitis just to name a few. IDEALLY it is recommended that baby receives only breast milk or formula up until 6 months. However if this isn’t possible solids can be introduced earlier, but NOT before 4 months of age. Starting solids is a process achieved over time. Babies begin taking only small teaspoons of rice cereal and gradually, their appetite for different foods and an increased amount of food builds up. Did you know: Your baby’s first experience of flavours probably occurred in the womb! Just remember. Eating should be an enjoyable time. It is a very social activity and also nutritionally important. As your baby’s activity increases, then so does their demand for solids/ calories. Get the camera out for some messy memories! Do’s: Go at your baby’s pace. When introducing solids, smile. Your own facial expressions are very powerful, “mmmmm isn’t this rice cereal just SO tasty” will help your baby to understand. Use a clean soft spoon and dish for baby. Do look at commercial food labels and consider the following:
• Check if suitable for baby’s age
• Check expiry date
• Check seals on jars and ensure cans are intact
• Choose foods that contain no added sugars
• Check for no added salt

If there is a family history of asthma, eczema or allergies to food, please consult your Doctor, Maternal and Child Health Nurse or dietitian to see if your baby needs to avoid particular foods. All babies should have foods introduced gradually to aid in detection of potential allergies. For the latest information on Infant Feeding Guidelines (2003) prepared by the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) please click here.
Don’t force feed your baby – they will let you know they have had enough, eg. They’ll turn their head away and may even start spitting food out! That’s your little sweetie telling you that’s enough.
• Do not reheat previously warmed food
• There isn’t any need to give juice – they will thank you when they are older with lovely teeth and skin. However, if you do give juice, dilute it – 1 part juice to 10 parts water.
• Never give juice to your baby in a bottle.
• Do not add any salt to foods – this is very important as your baby’s kidneys cannot cope with it.
• Do not add sugar – there are enough natural sugars in fruit. Never leave your baby unattended when eating.
Starting foods around 6 months.
Texture of foods:
Soft, smooth/pureed
Foods you might like to try:
• Rice cereal: Prepare with breast milk or formula (Follow instructions on the box)
• Vegetable or fruit purees
• Potato – Carrots
• Pumpkin – Sweet Potato
• Zucchini – Broccoli
• Green Beans – Avocado
• Parsnip – Cauliflower
• Cucumber – Peas
• Pear -Peaches
• Apple -Plums
• Banana -Mango
• Kiwi fruit -Apricot
• Melon -Paw Paw
Gradually introduce a wide variety of foods.
Also increase the amount of food – start with 1-2 teaspoons once a day and slowly increase.
Before 6 months offer breast milk or formula before solids.
Around 6 months start offering solids before breast milk or formula.
Remember this is a gradual process; it will take time. Try following your baby’s appetite.
6 – 9 months.
Texture of foods:
Mashed, minced, chopped or diced (babies can chew soft lumps before they get teeth)
Foods you might like to try:
• Meats: Chicken, beef, pork, lamb, turkey
• Rice, porridge, semolina
• Split pulses ie. Lentils
• Wider variety of Vegetables and Fruits
7 months.
• Full-fat milk products
• Yoghurt, fromage frais, plain custard
• Cheese
• Wheat-based foods (including wholemeal)
• Bread, rusks, wheat noodles, pasta
8 months.
• Citrus fruit
• Berries
• Tomatoes
• Fish – canned sardines, pilchards, salmon and mackerel
• Tuna
• Baked Beans
9 months.
• Well cooked eggs * if no family allergies
• Egg noodle * if no family allergies
9-12 months.
Texture of foods:
Chop, diced finger foods – starting to self feed (bring out that plastic apron and newspaper for the floor).
• You might like to try making modified family meals or encourage self feeds (stay near by in case of choking)
• Avoid sweet biscuits
• Stop bottles at 12 months
Be Cautious:
If no family allergies exist, you can start to try your baby on tiny amounts of shellfish, cooked egg yolk or smooth peanut butter after 9 months of age. Be sure to consult your dietitian if you have any concerns.
Avoid :
• Nuts and seeds eg. Sesame – do not give to children under 5 years
• Honey – Do not give before 12 months. Honey may contain a type of bacteria, which can produce toxins in your baby’s intestines, putting your baby at risk of a serious illness called “infant botulism”.
• Sugar – it could encourage a sweet tooth and lead to tooth decay.
• Salt – Don’t add salt as your baby’s kidneys cannot cope.

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