Small amounts of solid, puréed food is introduced to babies when they are approximately four to six months of age; depending on the sufficiency of breast milk and the baby’s needs. Breast milk alone is not enough for a six-month-old baby.You can start weaning by introducing small amounts of solid food to your baby.
In the beginning, one teaspoonful of solid food when the baby feeds is enough. Later on you can gradually start giving more solid food to your baby. Give the same food for a week, and thus allow your baby to get used to different flavours. In the beginning the baby may spit everything out, but after a time she/he gets accustomed to solid food.
The table below illustrates what kind of diet a baby under 1 year old needs. If the baby develops allergic symptoms (rash, vomiting, diarrhoea) from some kind of food, leave it for a time, and try to give it later.Talk about suitable food with the public-health nurse.
First supplementary food for your baby include the following vegetables, fruits and berries:
- rose hip
- kiwi fruit
The following are not recommended for a baby less than one year:
- spinach, beetroot, swede
- Chinese cabbage, lettuce, head lettuce
- ordinary soya drinks, whole milk
- vegetable juice
How to Make Purées?
To make vegetable purée, wash vegetables carefully and cook until soft with a small amount of water.To make fruit purée, wash and peel fruits, remove the pips. In order to prepare purée, mash fruits or vegetables with a fork, use a masher, food press, pass through a sieve, or use a blender.You can slice soft fruits with a spoon.Apples and pears can be grated.
If needed, add a little water, breast milk or infant formula in purée. Do not add salt, sugar, cream or butter/margarine in puréed food. Prepare large amounts of purée at one time, divide them into small portions and then freeze them.When you are about to serve them, defrost portions, and re- heat by steaming.
When the baby reaches five to six months of age, you may start serving meat, fish, chicken, eggs and cereals. In the beginning one portion of meat – that is one spoonful a day – is enough. Mash well-cooked meat or fish with a knife until very fine, or use a blender.
Do not offer liver or sausages to your baby. Meat and wholemeal cere- als provide your baby with iron.The absorption of iron can be accelerated by vitamin C which one gets from fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables are an essential part of the baby’s daily diet in the future, too.
Porridge and Gruel
You can prepare porridge and gruel out of the following cereals.These ce- reals can be obtained in the form of flakes, grits and flour:
Press cooked rice through a sieve.You can serve macaroni and bread when your baby learns to chew. Use water, breast milk or infant formula to make porridge and gruel. Do not add salt, sugar or butter/margarine.
Milk, sour milk and yogurt in addition with or instead of breast milk/infant formula can be introduced when a child is 10 to 12 months of age. Give the baby soured dairy products such as sour milk, yogurt and sour whole milk. Give the baby milk from a cup, not from a bottle.Approximately 6 decilitres of milk a day is enough. If a baby drinks too much milk, she/he will not eat solid food. Beans, peas and lentils and soya products should not be intro- duced until the baby is approximately one years old because these create wind troubles.
Convenience Foods or Homemade Foods?
You can buy many different brands of convenience foods which are safe, and easy to prepare.They are, however, more expensive than homemade foods.
There are instant porridge and gruel meal available.You can reheat uncove- red jars of baby food in a microwave oven, or you can steam a jar of baby food.You will find the age recommendation, ingredients and amounts of nutrients from a jar.
Regular Feeding Hours
When a baby reaches one year, she/he will take interest to using a spoon and drinking from a cup herself/himself. Make your baby to get used to regular feeding hours. Because the baby’s stomach is so much smaller than adult’s, a baby needs food more frequently than an adult. In addition to three main meals, snacks are needed two to four times a day. When a baby eats regularly, it is easier to plan other activities in the family. If you introduce many different foods to your baby, it is easier to have meals outside home, too.
When a child is nearly two years old, she/he can eat the same food as the rest of the family. Before adding salt or spices to family meals, set aside a small amount for your baby. Do not add any salt when the child is under one year old and avoid any hot spices, and continue to limit these after that age. Avoid giving your child sweet drinks, lemonade, sweets, biscuits and ice cream. Sugar is not good for teeth, and spoils her/his appetite.
Excessive fat is no good either. Sweet and fatty nitbits make your baby fat. Foods made out of fruits and berries are good snacks. It is not wise to ac- custom the baby to drink sugary tea. If thirsty, water is best. Diluted pure fruit juice can be offered with snacks.
If your child suffers from constipation, try giving her/him more fruits, vege- tables, berries, and wholemeal bread. Fatty and sugary foods, foods contain- ing white wheat flour, sweet drinks and too much milk make constipation worse. Plenty of water and exercise helps.
The need for liquids increases if the baby is vomiting or has diarrhoea. If the child has a temperature, the demand for liquids is likewise greater. Breast milk is the best cure for diarrhoea.There is no need to stop breastfeeding when the baby is ill. If a young baby has diarrhoea, consult a doctor or a public-health nurse.
Take good care of your baby’s teeth by brushing them every day. Brushing the teeth with fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before bed-time time prevents cavities. One can start to use of fluoride toothpaste after the baby is cutting her/his first molar teeth at one to two years.The amount of tooth- paste should not be bigger than a pea.All children are individuals as comes to their need for extra fluorine. Discuss this with your public-health nurse.