Many parents, especially first time ones, wonder what to feed their babies during the crucial growth phase of birth to 12 months. We have compiled a guide to the types of food, and quantities that the average baby needs. Don’t worry too much if your baby eats a little more or less though as every baby is different! Check out www.first1000days.ie for ideas .
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland recommend starting to wean your baby onto solid food at around 6 months – certainly not before 17 weeks (4 months) and not after 26 weeks. By six months, your baby may be showing signs of being ready to try solid foods. These signs include being able to hold their head up, the ability to sit up in a high chair, and making chewing motions.
At this age, a specially formulated baby’s rice is a popular choice to introduce solids. Their regular milk feeds will still supply the majority of his or her daily nutrients. You can also try puréed vegetables and fruits as a great first food. Do this slowly, introducing foods one at a time, with each new food spaced 1 - 2 days apart.
Foods you can try to introduce include mashed avocado, mashed banana, puréed sweet potatoes or puréed pear and apple. As you move through the stages of weaning, your baby should be learning how to chew, be able to transfer an object from one hand to the other, and have mastered the pincer grasp of thumb and forefinger. Add finger foods, like cooked pasta or chopped bananas or softly cooked carrot batons.. It is also important to add protein to your baby’s diet, in the form of cooked, mashed or puréed beans, peas, or lentils, or cooked and finely chopped, mashed or puréed meat, poultry or fish. Tofu is also an option for children this age, as it can be easily mashed.
At nine to twelve months, your baby will be ready for harder finger foods such as crackers and rice cakes. By twelve months, most children will be eating a wide variety of foods, but you should still exert caution and do not add sugar or salt to their food .