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Healthy baby development | Make every bite count

Starting your little one on solid foods is quite a milestone!

3 mins to read Nov 4, 2016

Small tummy

Starting your little one on solid foods is quite a milestone! Since his tummy is so small, and breast milk or infant formula is the main source of his nutrition, at around six months of age he will only be taking small tastes of foods. Even these beginning bites are important to his development.  He has high needs for nutrition, but only a small stomach that may be filled quickly.

Babies have different nutritional needs than older children and adults

Considering your baby’s weight, compared to that of a child or adult, he has much higher needs for several nutrients, especially minerals and vitamins.  At around six months, when the iron stores that your baby was born with can start to decrease, your baby will require additional sources of iron.  Iron-fortified infant cereal, and puréed meat, are often recommended as baby’s first foods, because they are such good sources of iron. 

Breast milk + solid foods

As your baby is learning new flavours and textures, breast milk or infant formula is still the main source of her energy needs.  At 6-8 months, breast milk or infant formula continues to provide most of her energy needs. By 9-12 months, when she is consuming more solid foods, breast milk will provide less of her energy needs and she will start on usual family foods by 12 months. 

Your baby will drink as much breast milk or infant formula as she needs, and from 6 – 12 months you will see that as her appetite for solid foods increases, and she will consume less breast milk or infant formula. Offer her foods that are high in the nutrients her growing body requires, especially nutrient-rich foods like iron-fortified infant cereal and puréed meats, as well as fruits and vegetables for other minerals and vitamins. Remember to respect her hunger and fullness cues by not pressuring her to eat when she shows you that she is no longer hungry. Another meal will come soon, and your baby may be hungrier at that time.

Protein is important for growth, health, and so much more

Around six months of age, your baby has likely doubled his birth weight and by her first birthday she will have tripled her birth weight, and increased her height by half. This first year will be the most rapid growth of her life.  One of the key nutrients for your baby is protein. Protein is needed to help build her growing muscles and bones as well as repairing her body tissues. 

Solid foods are needed

Around six months of age, introduction of nutrient rich solid foods is important for the following reasons:

  • Provides additional nutrients your baby requires
  • Teaches baby to eat from a spoon.
  • Introduces baby to flavours and textures to help him learn acceptance of these new nutritious foods.
  • Delayed introduction of solid foods may increase the risk of food allergy or eczema; ask your healthcare professional if concerned over introducing foods to your baby.

 

"Make every bite count"

When selecting foods for your baby, remember that her stomach is small so focus on nutrient-rich foods.  She has little room for foods that don’t provide necessary nutrients.  Prepare foods with little or no added salt or sugar and limit fruit juice and sweetened beverages.

As she becomes familiar with a variety of tastes and textures, and as she gets closer to 1 year of age, she will be eating more solid foods.  Her daily intake should include fruits, vegetables, meats and grains, in addition to breast milk or infant formula. 

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