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Baby nutrition in the first year: What to feed your baby now

 

In addition to breast milk or baby formula, here are the solid foods you can introduce to your baby’s diet at each new stage of development.

 

When

What

How to prepare

6 months

Single-grain cereals

(Fortified cereals give your baby iron, an important nutrient he needs now. A baby is born with a natural reserve of iron that begins to deplete around 6 months of age.)

Mix with baby formula or breast milk, or even water on occasion.

 

6-8 months

Puréed or strained fruits (bananas, pears, apples, apricots, prunes).

Wash all fresh fruits, then bake, boil or steam until soft. You can purée in either a blender or a food processor, or use a small food mill; add a little liquid such as breast milk, baby formula or water at first. Make it watery at first, then use less liquid as your baby gets used to solid foods.

 

Puréed or strained vegetables (avocados, carrots, peas, potatoes, squash).

Wash all fresh vegetables; then bake, boil or steam until soft. You can purée in either a blender or a food processor, or use a small food mill; add a little liquid such as breast milk, baby formula or water at first. You can use less water for a thicker purée as your baby gets used to the new foods.

 

Protein: pea-sized pieces of cooked chicken, turkey or other meats, or boneless fish; pulses such as lentils, kidney or haricot beans.

 

(Doctors used to recommend waiting longer to introduce meats, but now they note these are a good source of iron, particularly for breastfed babies, who may not be getting enough.)

Cut meat or fish into very small pieces; cook and mash or cut up pulses.

8-10 months

Mashed fruits and vegetables.

No need to purée; just cook foods such as carrots and sweet potatoes until soft, or mash up soft foods such as bananas and avocados.

 

Finger foods such as small O-shaped cereals, teething crackers, small pieces of cooked pasta.

Cut up to make sure the pieces are small enough for your baby to swallow without choking.

 

Dairy: small amounts of yoghurt, cottage cheese, any pasteurised cheese.

Cut cheeses into small pieces.

 

Eggs.

Scramble or hard-boiled and cut into small pieces.

10-12 months

Your baby can eat most of the foods you eat now, providing they are cut up or mashed properly so that he can safely chew and swallow. Unless you have a strong family history of allergies, the Department of Health now says there is no need to avoid eggs, wheat or fish until after one year, although many experts are still cautious about peanuts and shellfish due to the strong allergic reactions sometimes associated with them. Avoid full-fat cow’s milk and honey until at least one year. Honey can cause a dangerous illness called infant botulism.

As your baby gets more teeth and learns to chew more effectively, he will begin to be able to eat larger pieces of food. Continue to monitor his chewing carefully, and when in doubt, cut pieces smaller than you think necessary. Be especially careful with round, firm foods such as grapes and sausages, which pose a particular choking hazard to babies. Chop these into very small pieces.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on October 08, 2012

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