About Nutrition for Babies 3 - 12 months
Feeding your baby and toddler is an exciting and challenging experience. It is part of a unique phase in life when children learn to communicate and develop their individuality. It is a rewarding experience knowing that you can help establish eating habits that will ensure your child has the healthiest start in life. Eating not only provides the necessary nutrients for growth and development but also shapes lifelong food habits and establishes a healthy relationship with food.
Parents have a number of important decisions to make when it comes to nutrition for your baby:
- Breastfeeding or formula feeding
- The timing and method of introducing solid foods
- The types of foods your child is exposed to
- The experience your child associates with meal-times and eating
Each of these decisions play a role in shaping your child’s relationship with food for the rest of their life.
Breastmilk is the perfect food due to its unique properties that help with growth, development and immunity. Breastfeeding may have its challenges for some families, so it is important to know that you are not alone. If you are having difficulties Ngala recommends that you seek support from a family member or friend who has successfully breastfed, a lactation consultant, your child health nurse, community nurse or organisations like Ngala or the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia’s peak health organisation) recommends, when possible, exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is six-months old and beyond 6 months in tandem with the introduction of some solids.
Breastmilk is a complete source of nutrients for your baby until six-months of age. Until this age, your baby’s digestive system is still immature and breastmilk is easy to digest and offers the maximum protection against stomach infections.
Introduction to Solids
Did you know that the largest proportion of nutrition and energy in the first 12-months comes from the milk your baby drinks (Breastmilk and/or Formula) and not solids?
Current research recommends that six months is a safe and appropriate age to begin solid food. Between six to nine months a baby’s iron stores begin to deplete and therefore a gradual introduction of good iron sources such as baby rice cereal, legumes and meat are recommended. Breastmilk continues to be an easily absorbable source of iron.
More about Introducing Solids
Go to the Ngala Healthy You Healthy Baby
Track your health and wellbeing during pregnancy and the early stages of your child's life as well as receive tips on how to improve or maintain your health.
Information you may find useful
Ngala Books & DVDs
For families of babies and
young children who reside or work in W.A.,
if you need further assistance contact the Ngala Helpline
Telephone 9368 9368 or Country Access 1800 111 546
8am to 8pm 7 days a week or
or get support online via the My Ngala Forums
When: 19 Jun, 10:00am
Birth to 12 months. Covers the impact of nutrition on brain development in the first year of life. Topics include when to introduce solids, variety, quantity and strategies to establish and encourage long term healthy eating patterns.