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Weaning Your Baby – Part 1


When?
  • Baby is 6 months old
  • Baby can sit supported and can control head and neck
  • Baby’s weight has doubled and baby gets hungry
  • There is no extrusion reflex
  • Baby is interested in food and opens mouth when food approache
What to feed?
  • Iron fortified cereals
  • Introduce one food at a time and wait for at least 2-4 days before introducing a new food
  • Introduce vegetables before fruits
  • Child must be comfortable and ready
  • No mixed foods should be given
  • Food must be soft and pureed
  • Try to introduce 1 – 2 teaspoons and watch out for a rash or runny tummy
  • No sugar or salt should be added to the food
  • Food should be bland in taste and smooth in consistency
Foods to introduce:
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Pureed foods (from 6 months)
  • Bananas
  • Potatoes
  • Yellow vegetables
  • Rice cereals
  • Cereals can be mixed with breast milk/formula
  • Meat and meat substitutes should be finely ground and one variety at a time should be introduced
Continue to breastfeed or cup feed
From 7 months
  • Baby can sit unsupported
  • Can eat from a spoon
  • Begins to drink from a cup
  • Baby learns to chew better and feed himself
Mashed foods:
  • Fruits
  • Soft cooked vegetables
  • Meat, chicken, fish
  • Bread and cereals
  • Foods to avoid:
    • Nuts, sweets, grapes, popcorn, raw carrots, hard cheese, sausages
    • These can choke the baby
    • Tea, coffee, squash, carbonated drinks and goats milk
    Continue to breastfeed or cup feed
    From 9 months
    • Baby can sit alone
    • Self feeds with hands and drink form cup
    • Has one or two teeth
    • Begins to chew
    Chopped finger foods:
    • Fruits
    • Cheese
    • Other cereals
    • Starches like rice, pasta
    • Vegetables
    From 12 months
    • Can eat by himself
    • Will be choosy about what and how much to eat
    Feed:
    • Baby can start eating with the family
    • Small portions of food several times a day
    • Offer foods that are mostly liked at meals
    • Be creative with food, make it interesting by using different shapes, colours and textures
    • Give small healthy snacks
    Drinks for infants up to 12 months old
    Breast milk or infant formula milk

    This should be the main drink during the first year

    Follow-on formula
    • This is unsuitable for infants under six months
    • It may be used after six months but has no advantage over breast milk or ordinary infant formula milk
    Cow’s milk
    • Whole cow’s milk should not be used as the main drink until after one year
    •  Between one and five years it is recommended that whole cow’s milk should be used routinely in the childcare setting as it contains more calories and vitamins A and D
    Other drinks

    A little cooled boiled tap water can be given if an infant seems very thirsty (after six months, water straight from the mains tap is suitable). Very dilute fruit juice (one part pure orange juice to eight parts water) from a cup may be given occasionally with meals.

    Drinks that are not recommended:

    Baby juices and herbal drinks contain sugar and can damage developing teeth if they are used frequently or given from a bottle

    Sugary diluting squashes contain sugar and can damage developing teeth

    If used, they should be very well diluted (one part squash to eight parts water) and given from a cup at main meals

    Drinks that should not be given:
    • ‘Diet’ drinks are also high in artificial sweeteners which are unsuitable for babies under one year
    • Tea and coffee may reduce the absorption of iron.
    • Bottled mineral waters, both still and sparkling may contain high levels of minerals which make them unsuitable for babies less than one year.

    Goat’s and sheep’s milk lack essential vitamins and minerals needed for babies’ growth and development

    By Melissa Pyle, BSc. in Dietetics, Registered Dietician (SA)

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    Weaning Your Baby – Part 2

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