There are few foods that your baby’s digestive system can’t handle at this age, so here’s what you need to know about the basics of a healthy and varied diet
By 10 to 12 months, your baby should be eating a varied diet that includes foods from all of the main groups. There are very few foods that are ‘banned’ at this stage, so you can aim to introduce more family dishes, but remember not to add salt to your baby’s portions. Safe foods to give your baby at this stage include:
This food group includes bread, pasta, rice, cereal and potatoes, and should make up a large part of your baby’s diet. He should now be able to cope with finger foods and more solid textures, so try giving him soldiers of bread or toast, tiny pasta shapes (soup pasta) or normal pasta chopped into baby-friendly pieces and breakfast cereals like porridge.
By now, your baby is probably used to mild meaty flavours like chicken and turkey, so you can add red meat like beef and lamb to his diet. Rather than pureeing meat, move on to more grown-up textures: try a Bolognese sauce with minced beef, or strips of breaded chicken as finger food. Avoid giving pork, ham and sausages too frequently, as they’re very high in salt.
If you’ve avoided fish and shellfish so far because of the potential for allergies, now is the time to introduce them to your baby. The essential fatty acids in oily fish, in particular, are important for brain and eye development, so try to give him a serving of fresh tuna, salmon, mackerel or sardines once or twice a week. Shellfish can also be safely introduced at this stage, but watch carefully for adverse reactions including swelling and rashes.
Although adult healthy eating guidelines don’t apply to under-fives, it’s still a good idea to get as near to five portions a day as possible to give your growing baby the vitamins he needs. You won’t need to puree or mash as much now, and many fruits and veggies can be offered raw, or in pieces as finger food. Avoid the risk of choking by removing seeds and peel and cutting fruits like grapes and raisins in half.
If you haven’t introduced eggs to your baby yet, now is a good time to do so – they’re a quick and nutritious food that can be whipped up into a huge variety of meals, from scrambled eggs on toast to omelettes. Make sure both the yolk and the white of the egg are cooked until firm for babies under 12 months.
Cheese, yoghurt and milk are all great sources of calcium for your baby’s growing bones, so try to give him a couple of servings of dairy produce a day, as well as his regular breastmilk or formula. Once he reaches 12 months, you can swap from formula or breastfeeding to full-fat cow’s milk as a drink.
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