Start with iron rich food like fortified cereals, puree, meat, poultry, fish, legumes and tofu.
Food can be introduced in any order and amount that suits your baby. Continue introducing different foods until they are eating a variety of foods from the five food groups. Culturally appropriate foods and preparation are encouraged if they are nutritionally suitable (no added salt and/or sugar). When introducing new foods, it is okay to introduce more than one at a time.
If your baby is under nine months, offer milk first. Approximately 30 minutes after they’ve finished their milk, you can offer solids. After nine months, offer milk second.
Karitane Tip: Between six and nine months, there is a crucial window of opportunity to introduce textured foods. If you miss this opening, you may increase the chance of feeding difficulties later. A variety of tastes, choices and textures are key!
- Start by offering pureed family foods
- Progress to mash
- You can do this as soon as your baby is comfortable taking puree.
- Progress to minced and finely chopped foods
- You can do this as soon as your baby can tolerate mash.
- This usually happens by eight months. Encourage holding softened foods in their hands.
- Progress to smaller pieces of family food
- By one year, your baby should be able to eat what the family eats – just cut into smaller pieces.
Allow your baby to experiment with different tastes and textures. It may take a few attempts before they finally accept certain foods.
Karitane Tip: It’s very normal for children to have particular food preferences. Some like vegetables, some prefer fruit, some like only puree, and some like white foods (rice, breads, pasta, dairy). It is important that you encourage your child to try a wide variety of tastes and textures to ensure you’re meeting their nutritional and developmental needs.
Foods to avoid:
- Whole nuts, seeds, raw carrot, celery sticks, apple chunks
- These foods may cause choking, and should be avoided for the first three years. Nut pastes and spreads may be introduced after six months however.
- Do not give honey to any infant under one, as it contains a bacteria that an immature digestive system cannot process. It may develop into food poisoning.
- Homemade ice cream, mayonnaise or any other product that contains raw eggs
- To prevent food poisoning, do not use any food product with raw eggs. If cooking eggs, ensure the egg white is set and the yolk has thickened.
- Milk from any animal should not be given to children under one year, as the protein and electrolyte concentrations are unsuitable.
- Fruit juice and fruit drinks
- High sugar and lack of dietary fibre can change your child’s absorption, bowel habits, weight, appetite and dental health.
- Tea, caffeinated drinks, sugar sweetened drinks
- Tea’s tannins negatively affect your child’s ability to absorb iron. Sugar and caffeine increase risk of poor dental health, gut issues, and weight gain.
Safety Alert: Choking is a potential hazard at any age. We recommend staying with your child whilst they are eating. You may also find completing a first aid course helpful in addition to keeping a first aid chart and manual within reach of the kitchen and living areas.