The World Health Organisation (WHO), the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommend 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding and then introduction of solids while breastfeeding continues. Exclusive breastfeeding means no other food.
For the first 4 to 6 months of life, baby uses iron stored in his body from when he was in the Mother’s womb. Further, Baby also gets iron from your breast milk or infant formula.
As your baby grows, his iron stores go down. This means baby needs to get iron and other nutrients from solid food, as well as from breastfeeding or infant formula available.
Your baby is more likely to try solid food after a feed of breast milk or formula. This is because when babies are really hungry, they just want the breast milk or formula that they know satisfies their hunger first.
When you start to give solids to baby, you can offer your baby:
- Pureed food when he is around six months old, progressing to mashed foods, then chopped foods
- Finger foods when your baby is around 8 months old.Between six and nine months it is important for your baby to progress from smooth to lumpier foods. This helps him learn how to chew, and chewing helps with your baby’s speech development. Your baby can start eating food as other family members when he completes one year.
It is important to give him home cooked food and variety of meals including:
- Vegetables like cooked potato, beans or carrot.
- Fruits for example banana, apple, melon or avocado.
- Wheat, oats, rice, bread and pasta.
- Dairy products like yoghurt and cheese.Keep breastfeeding or using infant formula until at least 12 months, as well as introducing solids.
By 12 months, your baby can have fruits, vegetables, nuts (but as a paste to prevent choking), grains, cereal, egg, tofu, lentils, pasta, rice and bread.
When it comes to fluids, baby can now also have full-fat cow’s milk from a cup. Try to keep it to around two cups of milk or dairy products such as cheese or yoghurt.