Five Nutritional Rules for Babies and Toddlers


Knowing what you should and shouldn’t feed your baby can be a minefield, especially as there are different rules for different months. Luckily, the family wellness experts over at BabyshopArabia have got you covered:


1. Very First Foods: According to BabyshopArabia, ‘After six months, breast milk alone doesn’t provide your baby with enough nutrients, in particular iron, so other foods are needed. Waiting until six months to introduce solid foods into your baby’s diet will help minimise the risk of her developing adverse reactions to foods and allergies. This is particularly important if you have a family history of allergies, as the incidence of adverse food reactions, allergies and celiac disease does decrease if you delay weaning until this time…One of the first things your baby has to learn when weaning begins is how to swallow “non fluids”. So that your baby doesn’t have to cope with new flavours as well as using different muscles, instant bland rice cereal mixed with baby’s usual milk is the most common first food. However, there’s no reason why you can’t try vegetable or fruit purées first. You may prefer to introduce one food at a time so that you can tell if your baby reacts adversely to a food, or you may want to mix baby rice cereal with, for example, apple or carrot purée.’


2. From Seven to Nine Months: ‘From now your baby’s ability to join in with family meals increases enormously,’ BabyshopArabia enthuses. ‘You should offer him a wide range of foods to fulfil his nutrient requirements, and to get him used to eating different flavours. There are also fewer foods to avoid. If you are buying commercially produced food, the ranges normally go from four to seven months and seven months upwards. In fact, there’s no nutritional reason why a baby of six months can’t eat jars of food labelled seven months plus (although the consistency may need adjusting). Now’s the time to introduce mashed or minced food, not purées. Be sure to include some lumps.’


3. From 10 Months: ‘Meals should be more adult-like now,’ BabyshopArabia asserts. ‘They should be chopped or minced and follow a two to three meal a day pattern along with one or two snacks and 500-600mls/ 17-20oz of breastmilk or formula milk. At this stage your baby should be having three or four servings of starchy foods, such as khichri, rice, daal, dalia, or potatoes, a day, one serving of meat, fish, eggs, or two of pulses (lentils, peas, beans) or nut butters [and] one to two servings of cheese, fromage frais or yogurt as well as breastmilk or formula milk.’


4. How Much Fat Should Babies and Toddlers Have? BabyshopArabia comment, ‘Up to the age of at least two, fat is an important source of energy for your baby, so full-fat versions of milk, cheese, yogurt and fromage frais are important. When she is two, and only if she is growing well, and eats a well-balanced diet, you can gradually introduce lower-fat versions. By the time she is five years old, only about a third of her energy should be provided by fat.’


5. How Much Fibre Should Babies and Toddlers Have? ‘Be cautious about introducing too many wholegrain foods and pulses for babies and young children,’ BabyshopArabia warns. ‘These tend to be bulky and can fill up a small tummy, leaving little space for other higher energy foods. So give your baby and toddler a mixture of white and wholegrain cereals and breads. If your toddler regularly eats pulses and lentils as part of a vegetarian diet, make sure that she has some chapathis, rice, bread, and pasta as well.’

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