Preventative Care for Babies
Good nutrition during the baby to school-age years is key to helping children grow, feel good and achieve their best. What your child eats is an essential part of their dental care.
your baby on solid food is a big step. Babies can be introduced to solids between the age of 4-6 months, but before this age their bodies are not able to cope with food properly.
At first when introducing food, it is normal for all babies to spit food our and screw up their face, but this does not necessarily mean that the food is disliked. You should offer the same foods on several occasions to allow your baby to get used to the new taste.
- Ideal first foods are baby rice, pureed fruits (apple, banana, pear) and pureed vegetables (sweet potato, potato, carrot). It is important that these are of a thin, smooth lump-free consistency.
- From the age of 5 months baked beans, lentils, red meat, poultry and fish (without bones) can be introduced. These foods should still be smooth although they can be a thicker puree.
- By the time your baby reaches 6 months they can be given a wider variety of foods including bread, pasta, cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais. At this age you should gradually change from smooth to mashed foods and then onto soft, lumpier textures. Aim for 3 small meals each day.
- Gradually, between 6 and 12 months, wide variety of flavours and textures should be introduced to make sure your baby gets all the nutrients needed for growth and development. If your baby refuses a food, don't force them to eat it, take it away without fuss and try it again in a few days.
- By the time your baby reaches 12 months, they should be enjoying the same healthy foods as the rest of your family.
- From the age of 6 months, start to use a feeding cup to give your baby water, expressed breastmilk or formula milk.
General Points to Remember
- From 6 months you should start to brush your baby's gums or teeth if they have any.
- DO NOT add sugar or salt to any food.
- DO NOT give fizzy juice and if you do give diluting squashes keep them to mealtimes only (including low calorie and sugar free varieties).
- Full fat cow's milk can be introduced from the age of one year as a main drink. Before this age you should give your baby breastmilk, formula milk or water.
- Always supervise meals and drinks to avoid the risk of choking.
- Ready prepared jars or packets of foods can be expensive and often contain sugar and thickeners, which are of little nutritional value.
- Ready prepared foods can however be useful on occasions when you may be going out for the day.