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Feeding your baby

baby; infant; food; feeding; breast; feeding; breastfeeding; milk; formula; solids; drinks; water; smooth; lumpy; finger; safety; choking; preparation; safe; fish; tuna; meat; vegetable; fruit;

Breastmilk is the best and most natural food for babies. Breastmilk is all the food and drink your baby needs for the first 6 months.

If your baby is not having breastmilk, use infant formula.

Starting babies on solid foods is an important milestone in their life. Until around six months of age, breast milk or infant formula meets all of your baby's nutritional needs. Even after your baby has started on solid foods, breast milk or infant formula is still an important source of nutrition.

There are many topics on this site about feeding babies

Resources

South Australia

  • Parent Helpline - phone 1300 364 100
  • Child and Family Health Centres - for an appointment ring: 1300 733 606 (9am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday) (see also Locations A - Z)

Booklets developed by the Nutrition Department of the Women's and Children's Health Network

Contents


Babies need the right foods to:

  • grow
  • learn to eat
  • help them to learn to talk.
     

Birth to around 6 months

breastfeedingBreastmilk is the best and most natural food for babies.

  • Breastmilk is all the food and drink you baby needs for the first 6 months.
  • If your baby is not having breastmilk, use infant formula.

There are many topics on this site about breastfeeding (eg. see 'Breastfeeding – a new baby') and formula feeding (eg. see 'Bottle feeding- all about infant formula').

Foods to prepare for babies 6 months and older

rice cereal, custard, yoghurt, cheese, fruits, vegetables, rice, bread, pasta, lamb, beef, chicken, beans, fish

Talk with your doctor if you are worried about food allergies.

6-7 months Smooth foods

Milk is still the most important food for the first year. If you choose not to breastfeed, use an infant formula.

What to offer

  • pureed food (smooth)Baby rice cereal mixed with full cream cows milk or breastmilk or formula.
  • Well cooked, well mashed vegetables and fruit - choose a variety of colours.
  • Smooth mashed banana, avocado 
  • Well cooked and finely chopped meat.
  • Baby yoghurt.

Remember

  • Breastmilk or infant formula is still important. Give solids after or between milk feeds.
  • Offer one new food at a time.
  • Start offering solids once a day and increase to 2-3 times each day.

The topics 'Foods for babies (solids) 1 – how and when to start' and 'Foods for babies (solids) 2 – questions and answers' have much more information about smooth foods.

7-8 months Mashed foods (soft lumps)

Milk is still a very important food for your baby. If you choose not to breastfeed, use an infant formula.

What to offer

  • soft lumpy foodBaby cereals, porridge, wholegrain breakfast biscuits.
  • Cooked and mashed vegetables and fruit (all sorts).
  • Soft fruit (banana, avocado).
  • Cooked and mashed meat, chicken and fish (remove all bones).
  • Full fat grated cheese.

Remember

  • Offer solids 3 times each day.
  • Give solids after or between milk feeds.
  • You can begin a meal pattern of breakfast, lunch and tea.
  • After 6 months, give tap water from a cup.

The topics 'Foods for babies (solids) 1 – how and when to start' and 'Foods for babies (solids) 2 – questions and answers' have much more information about lumpy foods.

8-12 months Progress from lumpy, to chopped and finger foods

Milk is still a very important food for your baby. If you choose not to breastfeed, use an infant formula.

What to offer

  • chopped and finger foodsCooked or soft vegetables and fruit in small pieces (all sorts).
  • Minced meat and cooked pieces of chicken and fish.
  • Bread - wholemeal is best.
  • Cooked pasta, rice.
  • Lentils and beans.
  • Full fat cheese and yoghurt.
  • Well cooked egg.

Remember

  • Offer 3 meals a day and start to offer 1-2 snacks.
  • Let your baby guide how much food they take at each feed.
  • Let babies self-feed.

The topics 'Foods for babies (solids) – how and when to start' and Foods for babies (solids) 2 – questions and answers' have much more information about types of finger foods.

12+ months All textures (except hard foods)


What to offer

  • Family foods.
  • Keep offering new foods. It may take many tries to accept new foods.

Remember

  • Offer 3 meals a day plus 1-2 snacks.
  • Continue to breastfeed or replace with full cream milk from a cup.
  • Your child needs no more than 500mls of milk a day.
  • Continue plain tap water from a cup.

Making food for your baby

  • wash hands and use clean utensilsWash hands with soap and water.
  • Use clean utensils to make and serve food.
  • Home made food is good for babies.
  • Make up batches of food and freeze in ice block trays for later use.
  • Don't add salt or sugar.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge and use within 24 hours.
    • If the leftovers have been out of the fridge for less than 2 hours, they can be put into the fridge, but eaten straight away when taken out later.
    • If they have been out of the fridge more than 2 hours they should be eaten straight away.
    • If they have been out of the fridge more than 4 hours they need to be thrown away.

Safe eating and drinking

  • Always watch your baby. 
  • Sit your baby up.
  • Honey is not safe for babies under 12 months old.



Choking

  • Children under the age of 4 years can choke on small hard pieces of food.
  • Do not give whole nuts, whole grapes, raw carrots and apple, pop corn and lollies.

The topic Choking on food and other objectshas  much more information about preventing choking, and the topic 'Child safety' provides information about other ways to keep young children safe.

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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).

This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.

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