Feeding Your Baby: From 12 Months
From 12 months, your child will be eating 3 meals a day containing a variety of different foods, including:
- a minimum of 4 servings a day of starchy food, such as potatoes, bread and rice
- a minimum of 4 servings a day of fruit and vegetables
- a minimum of 350ml milk or 2 servings of dairy products
- a minimum of 1 serving a day of protein from animal sources or 2 from vegetable sources
Your child may also need 2 healthy snacks in between meals.
Go for things like:
- sticks of cheese
- toast, pitta or chapatti fingers
- unsalted and unsweetened rice or corn cakes
The World Health Organization recommends that all babies are breastfed for up to 2 years or longer.
You can keep breastfeeding for as long as it suits you both, but your child will need less breast milk to make room for more foods.
Once your child is 12 months old, infant formula is not needed and toddler milks, growing-up milks and goodnight milks are also unnecessary.
Your baby can now drink whole cows’ milk. Choose full-fat dairy products, as children under 2 years old need the vitamins and extra energy found in them.
From 2 years old, if they’re a good eater and growing well, they can have semi-skimmed milk.
From 5 years old, 1% fat and skimmed milk is OK.
You can give your child unsweetened calcium-fortified milk alternatives, such as soya, oat or almond drinks, from the age of 1 as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
What Should I Know About The Difference Between Traditional Spoon
- What the primary differences are between the two methods
- Understand the pros and cons of each feeding method
- Ideas for first foods for each
- Tips for introducing solids
Between all the sources we get our information, there is an overwhelming number of opinions on how to introduce solids to your baby. In this article, learn the difference between introducing solids with traditional spoon-fed purees versus using baby led weaning, along with their potential benefits and disadvantages.
Understanding their intricacies will help you choose the one that works best for you and your infant.
Is your baby ready to start solids? Find out: Introducing Solids: Signs of Readiness
Traditional spoon feeding: Starting with purees
What it is: This technique is most well-known and is often recommended by pediatricians. It puts the parent or caregiver in control of the feeding .
It begins with spoon-feeding purees followed by lumpy mashes, and then graduating to soft solid finger foods and finally soft table foods.1, 2 Its important to progressively advance textures as the baby matures and shows readiness.3, 4
Read more: Introducing Solids: First Foods and Textures
Which pureed foods should I introduce first when spoon-feeding?
While many pediatricians still recommend a fortified single grain mixed with breastmilk or formula as the first food, followed by pureed vegetables and fruit, there is no medical evidence indicating that solids should be introduced in any specific order.5, 6
What To Feed Your Baby
|6 months old||
|7 to 9 months old||
|10 to 12 months old||
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What Are The Signs Of A Food Allergy In Babies To Look Out For
While food allergies are relatively common in babies , they do need to be taken seriously. Babies’ reactions to food can range from gassiness, diarrhea or mucus in the stool to vomiting and rashes . Other symptoms include a runny nose, watery eyes, wheezing that doesn’t seem to be due to a cold and unusual wakefulness or crankiness, day or night.
If you think your baby may be allergic to something you’ve fed her, speak to your pediatrician before offering it again. It’s especially important to check in with your doctor if your baby seems to react to almost every new food you offer, or there’s a history of allergies in your family.
Introducing Common Food Allergens
You can start to introduce common allergenic foodslike peanut products or eggswhen you are starting your baby on other solid foods, usually around 6 months of age.
However, if your baby is at high risk of developing an allergy you can start after baby is 4 months old, but not sooner. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure.
Waiting until after 6 months to try to prevent an allergy is not recommended.
- When introducing foods that are common food allergens, its best to offer no more than one new food per day. You may want to wait a day or two before you introduce another. This makes it easier to identify a food that may have caused a reaction.
- If your baby is tolerating the allergenic food, continue offering it a few times a week to maintain tolerance. If an allergic reaction occurs, contact your doctor.
- Make sure these new foods are smooth and small enough so that your baby isnt at risk of choking. When introducing peanut products to young infants, try mixing a bit of peanut butter with some water, breast milk, or a puréed fruit or vegetable that your baby has had before. For older infants, spread a bit of smooth peanut butter on a piece of thin toast crust or offer a peanut puff product.
Read Also: What Solid Food To Introduce To Baby First
For How Long Should I Keep Breastfeeding Or Bottle Feeding
Breastfeeding or formula feeding should continue until your baby is 12 months old. After that, water and cow’s milk should be your baby’s main drinks. Some babies can have an intollerance or allergy to cow’s milk, so they may need an alternative, such as soy. Follow your doctor’s or allergy specialist’s advice and read food labels carefully.
Breastfeeding can continue for as long as you and your baby are happy to keep going, but infant formula is not needed after 12 months.
Read more about balancing solids with milk feeds.
Which Is Better Bought Or Homemade Food
Many babies eat a combination of homemade and bought food. Store-bought food is convienant and easy to prepare. It’s also handy for when you are not at home or travelling. When buying store-bought food for your baby, read the labels and try to avoid foods that are high in sugar and salt.
Although making your own food might be a bit time-consuming, the advantage is you know what’s in it. Making one big batch and freezing in portions will go along way. Homemade food will help your baby become familar with family cooked meals. You can serve small portions of meals made for the rest of the family before any salt or spices have been added. Making your own baby food is also more affordable.
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Preparing Baby Food At Home
Another reason to avoid giving your baby solid food before age 4 months is the risk associated with certain home-prepared foods. A baby younger than age 4 months shouldn’t be given home-prepared spinach, beets, carrots, green beans or squash. These foods might contain enough nitrates to cause the blood disorder methemoglobinemia.
Breastmilk And Infant Formula While Introducing Solids
Keep breastfeeding or using infant formula until at least 12 months, as well as introducing solids.
If youre not sure whether your baby is getting the right amount of milk once they start solids, babys behaviour will tell you.
For example, if your baby has been eating plenty of solids and isnt finishing or is refusing milk, they might be ready for less frequent but larger milk feeds each day. If your baby isnt interested in solids, they might be too full from milk feeds. This means it might be time to reduce milk feeds.
Solids dont replace breastfeeding or infant formula. If solid food replaces breastmilk and/or infant formula too quickly, babies can miss out on important nutrition.
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Feeding Your Baby Solid Food
Babies should be fed only breastmilk or formula until about 6 months of age. Solid foods can then be started when your baby is ready. A baby is ready to eat from a spoon when he or she can maintain a sitting position while supported low at the hips, keep his or her tongue in the mouth and watch or act like they want to eat with others. If you question whether your baby is ready to start solid foods, please ask your pediatrician or dietitian.
Can You Mix Baby Led Weaning And Purees
Absolutely! I think its a great idea to mix the two methods simply because it gives you many more options for foods and allows the baby to experience more textures. I recommend allowing babies to feed themselves preloaded spoonsso you put the puree on a spoon, then hand it to them to actually put the spoon into their mouthso they still have control over what goes into their mouths.
TIP: Feeding some purees is also helpful if youll be sending food with a baby to daycare since the care provider may not have experience with blw.
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It’s Going To Get Messy
As your baby grows, they’ll try to feed themselves. Chances are, a good bit of food is heading for their face, hands, hair, bib, clothes, or high chair tray — not to mention you or any surfaces within flinging range. Learning to eat solid food is a full-body, tactile experience for your baby. Put a mat underneath their highchair to catch some of the mess, dress accordingly, and be patient — this phase won’t last forever.
Preparing To Make Stage 1 Baby Food Purees
So what exactly is a stage 1 baby food. Stage 1 baby foods are the first step in introducing solids to your baby. They are usually single-ingredient foods and are given in a very thin pureed consistency.
One tip with your babys first foods is to mix the pureed fruit or vegetable with a little bit of their breastmilk or formula to create a thinner consistency as well as a familiar taste. Stage 1 foods are almost soupy-like and can be sipped off a spoon.
Stage 1 baby foods are typically for babies first starting solids around 4-6 months old. Beginning solids usually will start around this age when your baby is showing interest in your food and can sit up almost completely unassisted.
Supplies: Baby Food Blender
First, you will need to purchase a couple of items to make your baby food-making journey a little easier.
You will need a baby food blender. A regular blender or Nutribullet type of blender will work just fine as well if you prefer. I have found, however, that my baby food maker is small and easy to clean and use.
I have a Sage Spoonfuls Baby Food Blender and I LOVE it. It really blends the food up to an amazing thin puree if wanted and it is super easy to clean and store. This specific baby food blender comes with both a food processor portion and an immersion blender It also has two settings for blending the food.
You simply dice up your chosen food, boil or steam, and place it in the food processor, and voila you have an amazing baby puree in a matter of seconds.
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Feeding Between Six And 12 Months
For the first six months or so, babies use iron stored in their bodies from when they were in the womb. They also get some iron from breastmilk and/or infant formula. But as they grow, a babys iron storesdecrease, and by around six months old, they cant get all the iron their bodies need from breastmilk or formula alone. Thats why its important to start introducing solids when your baby shows interest in solid foods, normally when theyre around six months old.
Like the Ministry of Health, we recommend you continue breast- or bottle-feeding your baby – in addition to feeding them solids – until theyre one year or older.
If youre breastfeeding, by this time your breasts may feel softer, or not feel so full. This is normal, because by now your breasts and milk supply have settled and become more efficient. It doesnt mean your supply is reduced. You can be confident your babys getting enough milk if:
- theyre sucking and swallowing well when on the breast
- feeding regularly
- having plenty of wet nappies with pale-coloured wee
- growing well.
If your baby was born prematurely, they may not be ready for solid food at around six months. Your babys paediatrician or Plunket nurse can help you work out when to start offering your baby solid food, and will give you the information you need.
When To Introduce Potentially Allergenic Foods
In recent years, guidelines have been updated on when to introduce potential allergens including peanuts, eggs, and shellfish, so unless you have a family history of a food allergy, you can go ahead and introduce them soon after baby starts eating solids. In fact, research is showing that introducing these foods early can actually protect baby from developing an allergy. Talk to your pediatrician if you have concerns.
TIP: Thin unsweetened peanut butter with water to form a very thin Peanut Butter Puree until its about the consistency of regular yogurt and offer a very small amount on a spoon or spread on a toast stick.
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Plan Wisely For Your Baby
You want your baby to get the nutrition they need to grow up strong and healthy. Today, most women breastfeed their babies. Breastfeeding is important and gives your baby just the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Breastfeeding provides antibodies and other immune factors. These help protect against infections and disease.
How To Start Baby Led Weaning
The first time you offer solids is such a fun milestone, so youll be ready once you follow these simple steps.
- Make sure baby has hit the milestones listed above to let you know that hes ready to start.
- Get the highchair ready and adjust the straps and foot rest as needed.
- Plan to introduce water when you start solids. I recommend a trainer cup.
- Choose one food to start with and plan to offer only one food at a time.
- Stop when baby starts to fuss, turns his head away, or shows any other signs of not wanting to continue. Its usually fairly obvious when they are done!
TIP: If you start offering solids and baby just doesnt seem interested at all, its okay. Take a break for a few days or a few weeks and start again. Each kiddo has their own unique timeline.
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What Guidelines Should I Follow When Feeding My Baby
A few simple guidelines you should follow when you are feeding your baby in the first year can include:
To 7 Months Old Feeding Schedule
Expressed breast/human milk or formula: 24 to 32 fluid ounces per day3
Solids: 1 to 2 meals
Baby is likely bottle-feeding six to eight times per day, with most still taking one or more bottles during the night. If your baby is taking more or less than this number of bottles and is growing well, peeing and pooping as expected, and overall thriving, then you are likely feeding just the right amount for your baby. Your baby should not decrease the number of bottles they are taking yet, even with the new addition of a solid food meal. When first starting solids, breast/human milk or formula should still be babys primary source of nutrition.
We recommend one mealtime per day at this age, though if you and baby have the time in your day and both enjoy being at the table, you are welcome to offer solids twice a day. You might need to offer a top-off bottle after solids if baby still exhibits hunger, as many babies will not eat much during meals at this age. Eating solid food at this stage will mainly be for practice, so try not to worry about consumption. Remember, we use the word meal to describe times baby is at the table exploring food. Even if baby does not swallow anything, this is still considered a meal.
Note: Some infants may drink more than the ounces listed above, especially during growth spurts. Some infants may drink less. As long as baby is growing appropriately, there is no need to worry about volume.
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