With so much information available, it can be hard to keep track of what you need to know. Here’s a guide for getting the right nutrition for your baby:
Below are the fundamentals in terms of newborn and infant nutrition:
Breastfeeding is best for babies – it’s nature’s perfect food! Your body is extremely clever, providing your baby with all the essential nutrients in exactly the right balance for healthy growth and development.
How long you breastfeed your baby is an individual choice. Some mums are happy to breastfeed for more than a year, whereas other mums introduce infant formula sometime before 12 months. Experts recommend that you breastfeed for at least the first year or longer if you can, but it depends on your individual situation. Always do what you feel is right for you and your baby.
If you're having trouble and need some breastfeeding help, talk to your midwife, child health nurse, or contact a lactation consultant.
Somewhere around six months of age your baby will be ready to move to solids (but not before four months as their digestive system isn't fully developed by this stage). As with breastfeeding or formula feeding, it might seem like there is a lot to take on to begin with but you will soon get the hang of it and hopefully enjoy introducing your little one to all the tastes and flavours on offer!
When you first start to introduce solids, remember that breastmilk or formula is still your baby’s most important source of food. Solids are really just a ‘taster’ at this stage. The first foods you and baby get to play with will be smooth runny purees. Purees are an easy start for babies to help them progress from a purely milk based diet to foods with more texture. Just make sure you have the wipes on hand as things are about to get very messy!
Once baby gets the hang of purees, the next step is introducing a bit more texture, mashed with small soft lumps. At this stage, breast milk or formula should still be given before solids.
After that, when your baby is around 8 months old, you can introduce a wider range of textures such as finely chopped soft foods, experiment with finger foods, and encourage baby to join in the family meals. Milk feeds are still important but you can start to offer them after food. Before you know it, you’ll be wondering where your little baby went!
Have fun and bon appétit, baby!