It is important to wean your baby on as wide a range of foods as possible because he will learn to enjoy and appreciate food. However, you should introduce new foods gradually. Some foods can be dangerous for young babies, usually either because of the danger of food allergies or choking, and so these foods are not introduced until your baby is older. If there is any family history of allergies, you should always seek advice from your doctor or state-registered dietitian.
Foods To Avoid At 4 To 6 Months Include:
• Foods containing gluten, such as wheat cereals and wheat flour, including bread and breakfast cereals, rye, barley, and oats.
• Eggs - the yolk and white are high in protein, which babies find hard to digest. They may also contain salmonella bacteria, which cause food poisoning.
• Citrus fruits, including juice, are too acidic. Their high sugar and fruit-acid content can contribute to tooth decay and may trigger an allergic reaction.
• Nuts and peanut butter can trigger a fatal nut allergy.
• Sugar is unnecessary; mix tart non-citrus fruit with sweeter non-citrus fruit to sweeten it.
• Honey can contain botulism spores that cause food poisoning.
• Salt can stress immature kidneys and cause dehydration.
• Dairy products can trigger allergic reactions. Soft cheeses may contain the food-poisoning bacteria listeria, which some babies are sensitive to.
• Fish and shellfish.
• Excessively hot or spicy foods that can burn or inflame a baby's stomach.
• Tea and coffee contain tannins, which inhibit iron absorption, and caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that babies cannot tolerate.
Foods To Eat At 4 To 6 Months Include:
Give your baby a wide selection of non-citrus fruits and vegetables with his milk feeds. The best first fruits and vegetables are detailed in the vegetable and fruit puree recipes in this chapter. All fruits and vegetables should be washed and carefully peeled before being prepared. Always remove the core, pips, and any discoloured areas. Most should be cooked at this stage, bananas, avocados, and cucumbers are the exception. Make sure vegetables and fruits are ripe or they might be indigestible and need extra cooking, which will diminish their nutritional content.
If any of your purees are too runny or too thick, add baby rice or breast milk or formula milk as appropriate to achieve a consistency that's easy for your baby to suck off the spoon. Similarly, you can use these ingredients to soften flavours that are too strong for your baby at this stage.
At 4-6 months, milk is still the most important source of nutrition - your baby should be getting all the nutrients he needs from his milk feeds. When you start to introduce solid foods, you need to continue to give your baby most of his milk feed first, then a little solid food, and then the remaining milk. This way you can ensure that your baby will drink as much milk as he needs and just a have a taste of the solid foods.
The "recommended daily volume of food" chart below is intended to be a guide. Obviously all babies have different needs, depending on many factors, including weight. You will have to follow your baby's direction and use your initiative when deciding how much to feed him each day. For example, if, after a week of weaning, you introduce a suppertime solid feed to your baby's routine only to find that he is too tired to eat it, you may need to try starting that feed a little bit earlier in the day.