Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Babies First Foods

Introduction of solids at six months has no set rules although it is an important stage in your baby’s development. All babies progress at different rates so don’t be alarmed is she doesn’t stick exactly to the rules.

When to give her the first spoonful.
Until 6 months of age your baby gets all of their nutrition from either breast milk or formula, however at 6 months her needs are generally not met by breast or formula alone. Babies at this age generally show signs that they may be ready for more solid food.

This includes
Showing interest in your food
Putting things in their mouth
Able to suck on a spoon (without the tongue forcing it out again)
Wanting more frequent feeds
Sitting up

The first spoonful
This needs to be very smooth and sloppy and mild in taste. An iron enriched baby rice cereal is a great first food due to its texture and iron content. This is mixed with cooled boiled water, breast milk or formula. Other great first foods are pureed vegetables such as pumpkin, potato, carrot, zucchini, avocado and fruits such as pureed banana, pear and cooked pureed apple.
Week one consists of 1 teaspoon of rice cereal per day after a breast feed or bottle feed. Week 2 increase the rice cereal to 2 feeds per day after a breast or bottle feed. Week 3 you can add pureed vegetables or fruit to one of the meal times (this could be between 1 and 3 teaspoons of pureed potato, pumpkin, carrot or zucchini). By week 4 you can add some pureed fruit to the cereal (again anywhere between 1 teaspoon to one tablespoon. After these first weeks continue to add the blander type vegetables and fruits such as pureed banana, pear, apple and avocado, gradually increasing the amount until you are up to ½ cup or around 120g per solid meal. The solid food is in addition to four or five breast or bottle feeds (600-800ml) each day.

6-8 months of age
Once your baby is eating cereal and several fruits and vegetables it is time to introduce foods which are higher in protein. These are more satisfying and contain nutrients such as iron, zinc or calcium. These include lean meats, chicken, fish, egg yolk (leave the egg whites until after 12 months of age), dairy foods such as yoghurt, tasty cheese or ricotta cheese and legumes such as baked beans and hommus. You can also include foods such as rice, pasta and bread cut into sticks or squares. Solids can now be offered before the feed. Remember babies taste-buds are very sensitive and have not been damaged by strong spicy hot foods therefore a bland taste to you has a strong flavour for your baby. Do not add salt, sugar or honey to any of his foods.
Tip: freeze pureed or mashed foods in ice cube trays for convenience. You can freeze as individual foods and mix and match for different flavours when reheating

7-9 months of age
During the 7-9 months babies will start to chew regardless of how many teeth they have. It is important to change the texture from smooth to a mashed texture with soft lumps. This helps him learn how to move the food around the mouth and chew. This is also important for his speech development. At around 8-9 months babies learn how to pick things up with their hands so you can introduce some finger foods.

Some suggestions are
Sticks of cheese
Bread sticks or rusks
Pieces of cooked vegetable including cooked carrot and apple
Tip: always watch your baby whilst she is feeding herself to prevent choking and make sure they are sitting upright.

To prevent choking avoid
Raw carrot and raw apple
Large pieces of food including large pieces of meat.
Large sized grapes and dried fruit such as raisins (cut in half or ¼‘s)
Popcorn, nuts and lollies

9 - 12 months of age
Your baby should be offered 3 meals per day (between ½ to 1 cup or 120 – 250 g) with 3 – 4 breast feeds or formula feeds (~600mls). Offer food before the breast or bottle feed. By 1 year of age the texture should be a lot chunkier and some babies are able to chew tougher meats or even chew on a chop. Offer water as an alternative to milk and try to avoid offering anything sweet such as juice (if offered it should be diluted 1 part juice to 4 parts water).

12 months and beyond
Your baby will probably be eating similar foods to the rest of the family. It is not necessary to cook different meals for different members (although it is advisable to tone down very rich, strong flavours for her).

You can now
Offer drinks such as water from a cup which is important for her hand eye coordination.
Offer cows milk as a drink
Use small amounts of honey
Use cooked egg whites

Tip: If you or your partner suffers from allergies or there is a strong family history of allergies, it is advisable to speak with your GP or Dietitian and they may advise the delayed introduction of certain foods.

Cheesy avocado
½ avocado
2 tablespoons smooth ricotta

Mix well and serve

Fruit compote (with yoghurt)
1 apple peeled and chopped
1 pear peeled and chopped
3 dried apricots
2 prunes
½ cup water

Place all ingredients in microwave proof container and cook on high for around 8 minutes or until soft. Blend all ingredients and cool.
Mix 3 spoon fulls of fruit mix with 1 tablespoon of plain yoghurt
Note: for storage place spoonfuls of fruit into an ice cube tray and freeze. Cubes can be thawed and mixed with yoghurt when needed

French toast sticks
1 egg yolk
1 slice bread (remove crusts)
1 table milk

Cut toast length ways into fingers or use a cookie cutter to make shapes
Soak bread in egg, milk mixture
Fry in medium pan until golden.

Beef and vegetables
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
150 g pumpkin, peeled and chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
100 g lean beef mince
Plain yoghurt

Place chopped vegetables in microwave safe container with ½ cup water and cook on high for 8 -10 minutes until soft.
In pan cook mince in small amount spray oil until just cooked.
In bowl add mince and vegetables together and blend to desired consistency.
Place tablespoonfuls into ice cube trays and freeze for later use

Thaw 3 cubes and add 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt. Mix well

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