Foods to encourage and avoid, from birth to preschool

There are foods your baby should and shouldn’t be fed, depending on their age. As your baby grows, their nutritional requirements change, as does their ability to cope with new foods once weaning has begun, and so the list of foods to avoid also changes.

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Baby feeding self in highchair

What can I feed my baby from birth to six months?

*Breast milk and/or formula milk should be your baby’s main source of nutrition. The Government suggests most babies shouldn’t be weaned before six months of age, but if you feel your baby is ready, try easily digestible foods, like baby rice, pureed fruit and vegetables from four months. Keep the portions small, as breast milk and/or formula milk should still be giving your baby the majority of the nutrients and energy they need.

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What can’t I feed my baby before six months?

*Wheat
*Eggs
*Cows’ milk and dairy food is okay in cooking and food but not as a drink.
*Meat and fish
*Beans and pulses
*Citrus fruit
*Salt
*Nuts
*Honey

What can I feed my baby from six months?

*Fruit and vegetables
*Full-fat milk, yogurt and cheese
*Meat, fish, beans and lentils , but not swordfish, shark and marlin. These contain relatively high levels of mercury, which may affect the developing nervous system.
*Cereals At this age, babies have foods containing gluten, so they can start to eat cereals, like Weetabix, pasta, toast and bread sticks.

What can’t I feed my baby from six months?

*Reduced fat milk and dairy products Babies and toddler under 2 years need full-fat milk and dairy products to ensure they get enough calories and vitamin A.
*Swordfish, shark and marlin contain relatively high levels of mercury, which could affect the developing nervous system, so aren’t recommended for babies, and children up to the age of 16.
*High fibre cereals
*Whole nuts, and if someone in your family has a nut allergy, consult GP before introducing nut products.
*Honey
*Sugar
*Salt

What can I feed my baby at 12 months?

*Fruit and vegetables
*Full-fat milk, yogurt and cheese
*Meat, fish, beans and lentils, but not swordfish, shark and marlin. These contain relatively high levels of mercury, which may affect the developing nervous system.
*Honey It’s safe for 1 year olds to have honey, but remember that it’s mainly sugar, so don’t give them to much.

What can’t I feed my baby at 12 months?

*Whole nuts , and if someone in your family has a nut allergy, consult GP before introducing nut products.
*Skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, reduced-fat yogurt and cheese Babies and toddler under 2 years need full-fat milk and dairy products to ensure they get enough calories and vitamin A.
*Swordfish, shark and marlin contain relatively high levels of mercury, which could affect the developing nervous system, so aren’t recommended for babies, and children up to the age of 16.
*High fibre cereals
*Sugar

What can I feed my toddler from 2 years and up?

*Semi-skimmed milk Babies and toddler under 2 years need full-fat milk to ensure they get enough calories and vitamin A. However, after their second birthday, you can switch to semi-skimmed if they’re eating well and are a healthy weight.
*Fruit and vegetables
*Meat, fish, beans and lentils , but not swordfish, shark and marlin. These contain relatively high levels of mercury, which may affect the developing nervous system.
*Cereals
*Iron-rich foods

What can’t I feed my toddler from 2 years and up?

*Skimmed milk Skimmed milk isn’t suitable for children under 5 years because it does not have enough calories or vitamins A and D.
*Whole or chopped nuts , and if someone in your family has a nut allergy, consult GP before introducing nut products.
*Raw or partially cooked eggs
*Swordfish, shark and marlin contain relatively high levels of mercury, which could affect the developing nervous system, so aren’t recommended for babies, and children up to the age of 16.
*Added sugar
*Added salt

What can I feed my preschool aged child?

*Fruit and vegetables
*Meat, fish, beans and lentils, but not swordfish, shark and marlin. These contain relatively high levels of mercury, which may affect the developing nervous system.
*Cereals, including wholemeal bread
*Dairy products
*Water to drink

What can’t I feed my preschool aged child?

*Skimmed milk Use full-fat or semi-skimmed from 2 to 5 years, as skimmed milk does not have enough calories or vitamins A and D.
*Swordfish, shark and marlin contain relatively high levels of mercury, which could affect the developing nervous system, so aren’t recommended for babies, and children up to the age of 16.
*Sugar
*Salt
*Tea and coffee shouldn’t be given to children because they contain too much caffeine. They also reduce iron absorption, and many kids have quite low iron levels as it is.
*Fizzy drinks

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For more on baby, toddler and child nutrition, feeding issues and recipe ideas, don’t miss Practical Parenting magazine each month.

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