Words by dietitian, nutritionist and wellness ambassador at SunRice, Lyndi Cohen
Your baby is growing rapidly. Wonderful things are happening! In the first six months of life, the average baby will double their birth weight and by 12 months, the average baby will weigh 2.5 times what they did at birth.
Good nutrition is always important but is especially important for babies as they need the right type of nutrients and good sources of energy to grow and develop healthily. Good nutrition for bub can also help prevent chronic diseases and influences their bone growth.
The first important thing to know is that while it’s often referred to as ‘starting baby on solids’, your baby’s first food is actually not solid at all. Instead, the baby will start by eating smooth, pureed food from around 6 months of age.
By around six months of age, breastmilk (or infant formula) no longer provides the baby with all the nutrients and energy it needs for growth. Your baby may also have a greater appetite and be ready to try different foods, different textures and ways of feeding.
So what is the best way to introduce your baby to solids?
An ideal food to introduce your baby to solids:
SunRice Baby Rice Cereal: It’s important that your baby’s first foods provide iron. A convenient and healthy way to include iron into your baby’s diet is with SunRice Baby Rice Cereal, which is a good source of iron. It’s made in Australia with Australian rice, is naturally gluten-free, has no added sugar and no artificial flavours. Other iron-focused foods to introduce to bub could include pureed meat, poultry and fish (all sources of haem iron), or cooked tofu and legumes.
Pureed vegetables and fruit: Introducing baby to different types of fruit is such a brilliant way to ensure they’re getting a varied diet from a young age. This can help make sure they get the right supply of nutrients and energy for their growing body. Some healthy pureed fruit and vegetables to try include avocado, peas, broccoli, berries, banana, pumpkin, carrot and spinach.
Full-fat yoghurt: Provides baby with calcium, probiotics and protein. While yoghurt naturally contains some sugar, choose a yoghurt without adding sugars.
Tips for transitioning baby to solids!
- Breast milk or infant formula should be continued while you are introducing solids.
- Start by offering your baby purees, then mashed foods – progressing to minced and chopped foods. Most babies are chewing by 7 to 9 months of age and can manage finger foods at 8 months!
- Research shows that delaying introduction of solid foods, including allergenic foods like nuts and eggs after six months can actually increase risk of allergies. Do further research on how to best introduce bub to allergenic foods.
- Continue to introduce your baby to an increasing range and quantity of foods so that by 12 months, your bub is consuming a wide variety of family foods.
- There is no need to add salt or sugar to your baby’s food. They will find the food you give them flavourful without any flavour additions that adults are used to.
- SunRice Baby Rice Cereal is a source of iron, and can be added to purees to provide a nutritious food for your baby.
How to create a balanced breakfast for your baby
The key to a healthy baby meal – breakfast, lunch or dinner – is to include a variety of foods from each of the food groups. The best foods are ‘nutrient-rich’ given to help support your baby’s growth and development.
Here are some ideas of foods you can combine together to make a healthy baby breakfast:
- Grains: Oats, SunRice Baby Rice Cereal
- Vegetables + Fruit: Peas, pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato, zucchini, berries, banana, peach, mango, pear
- Protein: Pureed meat and chicken, salmon, cooked tofu, lentils
- Dairy: Breastmilk, Infant formula, full-fat yoghurt
- Healthy fats: Avocado, salmon