YOUR BABYS FOOD JOURNEY

WHY ARE IRON-RICH FOODS SO IMPORTANT?

For the first six months babies obtain all the iron they need from their own iron stores combined with their milk feeds. Although breast milk is quite low in iron, it is very well absorbed. Breast-fed babies rarely lack iron.

By around six months of age your baby’s iron stores are beginning to run out. Iron needs increase and are particularly high between six and nine months. At this time, a range of solid food must be introduced gradually. It is important these early foods are ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ sources of easily absorbed iron (see page 2), such as lean beef and lamb, to ensure iron needs are met.
 

YOUR BABY'S FOOD JOURNEY

baby smooth

Smooth Stage - Babies around 6 months

To begin with, make your baby’s puréed foods very soft, smooth and moist. Puréed cooked meat such as mince, casserole, steak, liver or kidney in a baby mouli or food processor. Mix with a little of baby’s milk to achieve a smooth consistency. Alternatively, purée cooked meat with vegetables (such as potato, pumpkin, carrot or kumara). Start by offering one or two teaspoons a day after a milk feed, using a small, shallow plastic teaspoon. Gradually increase the amount offered. If a new food is rejected, continue to offer it until it becomes familiar.

baby mashedMashed Stage - Babies 7 to 8 months

Introducing texture into your baby’s food encourages your baby to chew, developing muscles for speech. Purée/chop cooked meat and vegetables coarsely in a food processor.

baby chopped

Chopped Stage - Babies from 8 months

Babies can be encouraged to feed themselves from around 8 months old. Begin offering solid food before milk feeds. Slice cooked meat into strips and serve with pasta pieces, or bread/toast fingers and soft fruit and vegetable slices. Grilled lamb cutlets are good for teething gums, avoiding bones with sharp edges. Never leave your baby alone when eating.

baby toddler

Toddlers and Family Foods - Around 12 months

Toddlers should be encouraged to eat family meals but they can be fussy. Some days they happily eat anything, other days they pick like sparrows. This is perfectly normal. Although not growing as fast as babies, toddlers are very active and still need plenty of iron. They often eat small meals, so ensure their food is nutritious and contains easily absorbed iron. No single food provides all your toddler’s iron needs - variety is the key.
 

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