What Foods Should I Feed My Baby?
While foods can be introduced in any order, iron rich foods should be fed to your baby at around 6 months of age. Iron rich foods include iron enriched (fortified) baby cereals, meats, poultry, fish, well cooked egg and legumes (such as lentils or chickpeas).
If your baby is allergic to a particular food, do not feed your baby that food. If you think your baby has a food allergy, you should seek advice from your doctor. It is important that food allergies are confirmed by a doctor.
The common allergy causing foods should be included in the foods you feed to your baby before they are one year of age. Common allergy causing foods include:
You may want to introduce foods one at a time (such as one new food at each meal) so that you can identify if any foods cause an allergic reaction.
As part of healthy diet, aim to offer your baby a variety of foods from each food group, including:
- Iron-fortified cereals
Offer a variety of grains including wheat, rice, oats, and corn.
- Cow's Milk on cereal
Cow's milk should not be given instead of breast milk or infant formula for babies under one year of age, however, small amounts of cow's milk can be mixed with baby cereal, pureed meat and/or vegetables.
Meat & Alternatives
- Beef, lamb & poultry
- Well cooked egg
- Fish & other seafood
- Smooth nut butters/pastes, nut meal (e.g. almond meal), nut flours
- Soy (e.g. tofu or soy flour)
Fruit & Vegetables
Advice on how to feed a range of hard fruits and vegetables to your baby can be found under Learning to Eat
Babies need to learn to eat a variety of foods from each of the food groups to make sure they are getting all the nutrition they need. If your baby is allergic to cow’s milk or wheat, talk to your doctor or dietitian about how to choose foods that will provide the nutrition usually provided by these foods.
Once a baby accepts a food, keep offering them that food about twice a week.
What about feeding my baby peanut and egg?
Parents are sometimes worried about giving egg and peanut to their babies, as they are common allergy causing foods in childhood.
However, it is best to offer your baby well cooked egg (not raw) and smooth peanut butter/paste before they are one year of age as delaying the introduction of these foods may increase the chance of developing allergies to these foods.
Once you give these foods to your baby, you should continue to offer these foods regularly (about twice a week).
Feeding well cooked egg and smooth peanut butter/paste soon after your baby wakes allows you to watch your baby and easily respond if they show signs of an allergic reaction.
How to introduce peanut and egg to your baby
Introduce well cooked egg and smooth peanut butter/paste in small amounts to start with.
For example, mix a small amount (¼ teaspoon) of hard-boiled egg or smooth peanut butter/paste into your baby’s usual food, such as vegetable puree. If your baby does not have any signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction, gradually increase the amount next time, say 1/2 a teaspoon.
Never smear or rub food on your baby’s skin, especially if they have eczema. This will not help to identify possible food allergies and may cause skin irritation and possibly contribute to your child developing a food allergy, as the food was introduced through the skin and not the mouth.
You can rub a small amount of the food inside your baby’s lip when you give the food for the first time. If there is no allergic reaction after a few minutes, you can start giving small amounts of the food as explained above.
A small number of babies will still develop food allergies even if the common allergy causing foods like smooth peanut paste and egg are fed to them before they are one year of age. If there is an allergic reaction to any food, that food should be stopped and you should seek advice from your doctor.
What about drinks?
Breast milk or infant formula will continue to provide important nutrients once your baby is eating solid foods. As your baby eats more solid foods they will need less breast milk or infant formula and will demand fewer feeds.
Take your time when replacing milk feeds with solid food.
Water, breast milk, cow’s milk based infant formula or other infant formula can be offered from a cup from around 8 months of age. Other family milk drinks, such as regular cow’s milk, should not be your baby's main drink until after one year of age.
Sugary drinks such as fruit juices, cordials and soft drinks are not recommended for babies.