With solids replacing milk as your baby’s main source of nutrition, what should she be eating and when?
By nine months old, most babies are having some success with solids, and are moving on to three meals a day. While your little one still needs 500-600ml of formula a day, or regular breastfeeds, solids are now overtaking milk as her main source of nutrients. And as her intake of proper food increases, you’ll probably find that she naturally begins to drop her milk feeds.
Now that she’s eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, you may need to tweak your baby’s routine to make sure she’s eating at the right times. If she usually naps from 11.30am until 1.30pm, for example, you might want to gradually shift her sleep time back by half an hour so she has time for lunch before hand.
Although your baby is now having three regular meals each day, remember that her tummy is still tiny and can’t cope with big portions. Babies are natural grazers and prefer to eat little and often, so keep portion sizes small at mealtimes and in addition, offer a healthy snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon. And don’t forget to keep her hydrated, too; if she’s losing interest in milk, she’ll need plenty of water or diluted fruit juice to keep her healthy and energised.
Although your baby still needs breastmilk or formula to drink, from six months, you can start to use cows’ milk in cooking. It’s too low in fat and nutrients to be used as a main drink at this age, but making her cereal, mashed potato or sauces with cows’ milk will save you time and money.
With your baby now eating three times a day, it’s likely that she’ll be having more of the same meals as the rest of the family too. Introducing her to family favourites like spaghetti Bolognese, casseroles, roast dinner and even mild curries is a great way to encourage her to try new tastes and reduces the amount of cooking you’ll be doing.
Remember, though, that although most foods are safe for your baby at this stage, some of the things that you feed the rest of the family are still best avoided. In particular, steer clear of processed foods like sausages, bacon, soup, pizza and jars of pasta or curry sauce, as these all contain potentially damaging levels of salt. Never add salt to food that you cook for your baby, and watch out for other potential dangers, too, such as fish bones, chopped nuts and fruit pips, which present a choking hazard for young children.
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