No idea what to feed your little ones or how many meals they should be eating every day? Follow our feeding guide to put together a good meal plan.
WORDS TEO KUAN YEE
Your little bub is growing up fast and ready to go beyond breast milk when he reaches the six-month milestone. This is an exciting time for you as a mother as you help your little one explore the various food textures which will ensure that he gets the essential nutrients that his body needs to grow, and help your child develop skills required for eating such as chewing.
Get ready to blend, chop and mash your baby’s portions. If you are relying on breast milk completely, you can complement his diet with snacks. If you are not breastfeeding exclusively, your baby can have one meal a day together with his usual milk initially, gradually increasing the portions of solids.
When your baby is nine months old, offer him up to three meals a day with one to two snacks, depending on his appetite. Offer foods with a variety of textures – chopped, ground or mashed – and finger foods like toast and crackers or soft ripe fruit.
Another tip is to eat with your child whenever possible for him to learn by watching you and for you to monitor him. By the time your child turns one, he can eat the foods prepared for family meals (while continuing with his breast milk or infant formula), so you do not need to prepare a separate menu for your child. Other than mashed vegetables, iron-rich foods such as iron-fortified cereals, poultry and fish, legumes and beans, and tofu provide your baby with his growth nutrients.
How Much is Enough?
Start with small servings such as five to 10ml (one to two teaspoonfuls), slowly increasing the amounts according to your baby’s hunger. You may want to offer your baby the following portions but let your baby decide the portions he would like to eat from the food you offer.
• 30 to 45ml (two to three tablespoons) of cooked vegetables, grains, meat.
• 45 to 75ml (three to five tablespoons) of soft fruit
• 60 to 125ml of cereal
• 30ml of shredded cheese or yoghurt
• Half a piece of toast cut into strips
When planning meals for infants and toddlers, it is best to avoid offering sugary or salty food (for instance, cakes, biscuits, potato chips, soft drinks) as it can result in them developing a preference for unhealthy foods later on in life. Avoid feeding honey to babies under 12 months as it may lead to infant botulism.