Your baby's first year of life is an exciting year filled with rapid growth and development. It's amazing to think that a baby almost triples its birth weight in the first twelve months alone! Good nutrition is therefore vital for little bodies, but as new parents would appreciate, it's often difficult to know the what, how and why of feeding your baby as they reach these milestones.
The following will give you a short guide to navigate feeding your baby those first twelve months.
Birth to around four to six months
Breast milk is recommended as the sole source of nutrition for your baby until they are ready for complementary foods at around four to six months. Breast milk is packed with all the right amount of vitamins and nutrition your baby needs to thrive.
If you are unable to breastfeed, a suitable formula will also meet the needs of your baby for nutrition and growth. There are a range of alternate formulas available which may be better tolerated if your baby is not tolerating standard formula, such as Bubs Goat Milk.
Your baby's needs will be met by breast milk and/or formula alone and the amount of feeds and volume your baby may take will vary and will be guided by their regular growth and wet nappies.
Four to six months - 'Introduction of Complementary Foods'
From four months onwards your child may start to show signs of being ready for solids. Readiness may include: good head and neck control, showing interest in your food and reduced tongue thrust reflex.
Between four to six months you can start to introduce a variety of foods in addition to breast milk and/or formula feeds. It is recommended to start gradually with simple and plain fruits and vegetables that are pureed completely smooth.
It is suggested that whilst you start with a smooth consistency, you should move towards mashed, lumpier foods as your child progresses.
At this point, breast milk and/or formula will still be the main source of nutrition for your baby.
Six to 12 months - 'Learning to Eat'
Continue to introduce a variety of new foods to your child.
Use a range of textures starting with smooth and working towards mashed and chopped. Finger foods such as soft pieces of fruit, toast, cooked pasta, cooked vegetable sticks are all a great start.
Remember to introduce 'allergenic' foods such as egg, peanut and tree nuts (in the form of nut pastes) to your child preferably before they are twelve months old.
Breast milk or formula is still an essential source of nutrition before twelve months of age.
You may be offering 3-4 feeds of breast milk or 250ml formula per day plus 2-3 solids meals.
Twelve months onwards - 'Family Foods'
By around 12 months, your child may be working towards eating 'family' style meals with a variety of foods and textures.
Even though breast milk or formula is no longer an essential part of bubs nutrition, it is still a good source of nutrition and can be used as a supplement alongside solids. You could also choose to move to pasteurised full cream cow’s or goat’s milk.
Your baby may get a bit fussy with meals after twelve months of age, but remember this is a completely normal part of development! Continue to offer a variety of meals and snacks, and use family meal times to provide positive mealtime experiences.
Breast milk or formula is the main source of nutrition for a baby in the first 12 months of life.
From 4-6 months, complementary solids may be introduced with the aim teaching your child how to learn to eat using a variety of textures and colours.
Try to offer your child foods that are as close to nature as possible, e.g. made with minimal additives and preservatives.