FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We frequently hold Q&A sessions over on our Instagram page – here is a collection of the questions we get asked the most.
Q: How do you know when your baby is ready to start solids?
A: At around 6 months your baby will start to demonstrate they are ready to start solids. Signs your baby is ready include:
- They can sit up well with support
- They have good head and neck control
- They are interested in others eating, watching, reaching for food and opening their mouth
- They have lost the extrusion reflex in which they push everything out with their tongue
Q: At what age do you start giving chunkier foods to your baby? I’m nervous about choking!
A: You can give your baby finger foods as soon as they start solids (following the baby led weaning approach). Ensure it soft enough and is big enough to hold. If you have followed a more traditional approach you can offer some finger foods alongside the puree. By 7-8 months lumpy and finger foods should be established.
Q: Reasons to use the baby led weaning approach?
A: In baby led weaning traditional feeding (eg. spoon feeding purees) is skipped with babies feeding themselves small finger foods from around 6 months.
Reasons you may want to try baby led weaning:
- It stimulates your baby with new textures, shapes and tastes
- It helps to develop fine motor skills and dexterity
- Your baby is getting fresh food
- Food’s you supply can be more nutrient dense
- Your baby can start eating with the family
- It encourages self-feeding
Q: I’m worried about choking and choking hazards for my baby, what should I look for?
A: Precautions that will help to minimise any risk to your bub include
- Wait until around 6 months of age to start solids. At this age most babies are able to feed themselves
- Ensure all the normal prerequisites are met – bub is able to sit up well and has good head control, can pick up toys and bring them to their mouth, has lost the extrusion reflex (the push their tongue out of their mouth) and they show an interest in food
- Always test the texture of the food to make sure It is soft
- Avoid choking hazards such as small round food that could block the airway such as hard fruit and veges, nuts, soft bread (it can form a ball in the mouth) etc
- Always sit your baby with and observe feeding times
Q: What rice cereal should I start my baby on?
A: Personally I used with Farex with my bub. It’s made in Australia, it’s cheap and easily available ( at Woolworths), it has one of the highest iron contents and also contains vitamin C to help with iron absorption ( which not all rice cereals do).
Rice cereals can be a great first food, but so can a lot of other foods like pureed fruits and vegetables so it’s not 100% necessary to have just by itself. I liked to use it in addition to other foods. For example, I would often use it as a thickener in purees or in baking to increase the iron level of other nutrient dense foods.
Q: How long can pureed baby food be stored in the freezer?
A: Typically pureed baby food will last for 3 months in the freezer. Puree should be kept in airtight containers.
Q: How do you introduce allergenic food in a baby’s diet
A: Allergenic foods including eggs, fish and seafood and peanuts (peanut butter instead of whole nuts due to the choking hazard) can be introduced as early as 6 months when your baby starts solids.
Like the introduction of any new food, when introducing allergenic food start with a small portion size. Only introduce one allergenic food per meal to monitor any reaction.
Once your baby has not demonstrated a reaction to the food you should regularly include that food in their diet. It is recommended that you continue including these foods in your baby’s diet twice weekly.
If your baby does have a reaction, even mild, cease giving the food and consult your GP. In the rare case that your baby has a large reaction/ anaphylaxis/ trouble breathing call ‘000’ for emergency care immediately.
If someone in your family suffers from food allergies, you may want to discuss with your GP prior to introduction.
Q: Do you recommend baby food makers?
A: It’s definitely not essential and its use will depend on whether you will use the traditional approach of starting solids, baby led weaning or a mixed approach
If starting solids with the baby led weaning approach in which your baby starts by feeding themselves small appropriate textured finger foods a baby food maker is not needed as you don’t make puree’s.
If starting solids with a traditional approach in which your baby starts on puree’s or mashes, or a mixed approach in which they start on both puree’s and finger foods a baby food maker may be useful, but it is not essential.
Personally I used a stick blender rather than a baby food maker and I often recommend it to other parents.
A stick blender is much cheaper, does everything you need it do in making purees for bub and it also can be used in the kitchen for other family meals, smoothies and milk shakes. It is also great when you only need to puree a small amount of food from a family food.
Q: What type of bread would you recommend for first foods? Whole meal, white or another?
A: I recommend buying breads that are fortified with iron. This helps with meeting daily iron requirements. The Burgen Soy-Lin is a good grain option, the Wonder White Whole Meal + Iron is a good whole meal option and the Tip Top The One also have both white and whole meal options.
Q: What solids should you offer first?
A: There are so many options. If you are taking the traditional approach pureed fruit or vegetable with some added rice cereal (for the iron) is a good place to start.
If you are taking a baby led weaning approach you could start with a fruit or vegetable or a piece of slow cooked, soft meat.
Q: What are the best first foods?
A: You should include foods that are texture appropriate and iron rich.
Q: What are some high iron ideas for finger foods for my 7 Month old baby?
A: Some easy and great options for finger foods containing iron include:
- Eggs- Strips/ Boiled and halved, scrambled
- Chicken legs or ribs (strip gristle and skin for chicken)
- Beans or lentil patties
- Fish cakes
- Meat balls or meat loaf
- Slow cooked beef or pork
Q: What’s a good yogurt to give my 7 month old?
A: Yoghurt is a great food for babies, it is naturally a great texture for them and it offers a range of nutrients including protein, carbohydrates and calcium.
I recommend a natural or full fat Greek yogurt like Chobani, Jalna, Siggi’s as well as Tamar Valley Kids pouches if you need portable yogurt.
Q: When is a good age to introduce 3 meals a day? I’m currently doing breakfast and lunch with my 7 month old twins.
A: Aim to introduce 3 meals a day by 8-9 months. So over the coming months when you feel ready start working towards adding another meal.
12 MONTHS +
Q: Can my 14 Month old have too much full cream milk (in bottles)?
A: Yes, most definitely. From the age of one, their main source of nutrition is from food rather than milk.
Milk is a great addition to a 1 year old’s diet but it’s advised they have around 500ml’s of milk per day (served from a cup or open straw).
Q: My nearly 2-year-old still likes sachet foods and fruits. Is this still ok to feed her?
A: Yes, this is fine as long as it’s not all she is having and its part of a balanced diet. If she is turning down other foods to only eat the sachet foods I would suggest not buying them and start introducing new foods, textures and tastes. Remember it’s your role to provide the food and meals and it is your daughters role to choose if she eats and how much.
Q: Can my 2-year-old eat to many baby tomatoes?
A: No, this is fine as long as she is being exposed to other foods as a part of a balanced diet.
TODDLERS AND YOUNG CHILDREN
Q: What types or brands of muesli bars would you recommend for kids?
A: Things I look for in muesli bars are:
- Made with wholegrains
- One with less added sugar (You need to check the ingredients list and aim for <15g per 100g))
- Have a good fibre content
- Consider nut and seed bars as they add a good source of fat for kids
Muesli bars I recommend that kid’s seem to enjoy include Carman’s Aussie Oat Bar and Original Muesli Bars and Uncle Toby’s Chewy Choc Chip Bars (this one is a little higher in sugar per 100g but only 5g per bar and is a more budget friendly option).
Q: What are examples of good iron foods for a toddler?
A: There are many good options of iron rich foods for toddler’s. These include meat such as chicken, beef, fish. Favorites meals include meat balls, mince, bolognaise or fish cakes. Other options include tofu, beans, fortified products such as bread and Weet-Bix.
Q: My 2-year-old son eats well throughout the day, but dinner has been a battle lately. Any ideas to help?
A: Dinners are often a tricky time. Some ideas to help include:
- Have an early dinner time- Sometimes kids are just tired and cranky by the evening so having dinner at an earlier time ( 5pm or even slightly earlier) helps. They will be more awake and aware and have better concentration. If they get hungry later, they can still have a snack for supper.
- If they have eaten to much through the day they just might not be hungry at dinner time. Try to limit food for at least an hour before dinner time to allow time for them to get hungry.
- At the age of 2 it is also very common for kids to become a little fussier with food. Make sure you continue to offer the meal and if it is turned down try not to stress. It is their role to decide if and how much they eat. Kids have a great in built sense for hunger and fullness so they won’t let themselves go hungry.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Q: What are your thoughts on hiding vegetables?
A: Hiding vegetables can have its benefits. I’ll often hide vegetables to add nutrients to a meal and to bulk it up. An example of this is using onion, carrot and celery in bolognaise sauce. With 3 boys, my husband and I eating, it helps it to go further and chopped finely in a food processor it adds nutrients to the meal without out changing the flavour, texture and taste of the bolognaise sauce.
Although this is completely fine to do it is important to still offer vegetables with the meal so that they learn to eat and enjoy them. Even if they turn down eating the actual vegetables they will learn that vegetables are a normal and expected part of dinner.
Q: What are your thoughts on grapes for babies?
A: Grapes are a great food for babies and toddlers. Most babies and toddlers love the taste and they are a great source of vitamin C and vitamin K. Caution should always be taken as they are a choking hazard.
To lower the risk of choking make sure your child is seated and supervised when eating grapes and they are cut into small pieces for babies 6-12 months and ¼’s or ½ ‘s for kids over 1.
Q: I can’t get my 11 Month old to eat fruit or vegetables. The only way is to put them in muffins or fritters. Any help?
A: It’s important to persist with continued exposure of these foods (with no pressure). Some time it takes 20+ exposures of the same food before they will try it. Try offering the same food multiple ways I.e. Sweet Potatoes could be as a mash, baked, roasted or as fires.
Keep adding the fruits and vegetable to the cooking as well to help increase the nutrient content of the foods.
If you think it might be any sensory issue (i.e. if your baby has never once tried a fruit or vegetable) discuss this with your GP.
Q: Is there an appropriate age to introduce juices/sugar drinks to kids?
A: Juices/sugar drinks shouldn’t be given to your child to after the age of 1. They should also be limited until the age of 4 (and beyond). After the age of 1 having them is fine, but due to the high sugar content it is not something that needs to be consumed regularly.
Q: Do you recommend using blocks of cheese vs grated cheese for your kids?
A: Personally I use a block of cheese and grate it myself when needed as it’s a more cost effective option. Grated cheese is perfectly fine to use as well. Where possible try to avoid processed chesses like cheese sticks (some brands are great, others not so much), individual cheese slices wrapped in plastic and spreadable cheeses as these options often contain a high amount of salt.
Q: My 1-year-old is a great eater, but won’t eat from a plate, she tips it over every time. She even tips over the suction plates and bowls to eat off the high chair tray. Any tips to stop this?
A: This is very normal behavior, and completely fine. Embrace the mess as this is one way your child is learning to eat and develop sensory motor skills.
Continue to serve the meals from a plate or bowl and don’t stress that when it is tipped straight out. Over time she will learn to eat out off the plate.