You have reached an important milestone; your baby is now six months old. You have lovingly been breastfeeding him or her since birth and hopefully you are going to continue for a further six months. However, it is now time to start your baby on solid foods. It might take a little while to start getting used to all these new tastes and textures; some mothers let their babies feed themselves, whereas others might demand their purees to be to spoon fed.
When your baby is six months old he or she will start to require extra nutrients, particularly iron, from their food. Of course, they will still need their breast milk or formula milk until they are at least one year old. Many types of food will be unsuitable for a baby during the following six months; they include gluten, eggs and cow’s milk. Speak to your doctor if you wish to start feeding solids to your baby earlier. There is quite a variety of food suitable for your baby to try:
• Well mashed or pureed cooked vegetables, such as sweet potato, potato, butternut squash, carrot, parsnip, cauliflower and broccoli.
• Fruit puree; for example, ripe pear, cooked apple, papaya, mango, mashed banana and ripe avocado.
• Cereal or baby rice mixed with baby’s normal milk.
Once your baby feels comfortable eating from a spoon, you can try these:
• Blended or pureed fish, meat or chicken, but remember to remove all bones.
• Well mashed or pureed lentils and other pulses.
• Whole milk yoghurt or custard. There should be no cow’s milk until baby is one year old.
• Vegetable purees, such as spinach, cabbage and peas.
Always try to give your baby homemade food.
When your baby is seven months old try minced or mashed food and continue until ten months old. Try to base meals on starchy food; for example, breakfast cereals, potatoes, bread, pasta, oats and rice. Your baby will also need one protein rich food, such as poultry, fish, well-cooked eggs, dairy produce and lean meats.
At this point, your baby can start to drink other liquids. You could offer boiled and cooled down water from his or her beaker. Keep the baby’s fruit juices until mealtimes only, diluting them in 1:10 parts of cooled down boiled water.
When baby is ten months old meals can be minced or chopped. You could follow a three meals per day pattern, with a couple of snacks in between. You can carry on breastfeeding, even though baby might not feed as much as before.
There are a few ingredients and foods that your child should not be eating until he or she is one year old.
• Salt: a baby’s kidneys cannot cope with any form of salt yet.
• Honey: it could contain a particular type of bacteria that is toxic in your baby’s intestines.
• Artificial sweeteners: they contain no nutrition.
• Sugar: use stewed fruit puree or mashed banana to sweeten desserts.
• Whole nuts: a dangerous choking hazard.
• Certain fish: marlin, swordfish and shark contain mercury.
• Low-fat food: give your baby full fat food. He or she will need the calories.
• Coffee or tea: tannin and caffeine are unsuitable for a baby.