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.

STARTING SOLIDS

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: For premature babies should I use corrected age when introducing solids?

A: Use the corrected age as a guide and look for the signs of readiness. Signs your baby is ready can 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: What foods should I avoid feeding my baby?

A:

  • SALTY FOODS- Too much salt in your baby’s diet isn’t good for their kidneys. Foods such as bacon, sausages, salami, processed meat, hot chips, packets of chips, ready-made meals and most takeaway foods should be avoided.
  • SUGAR- Too much sugar in your baby’s diet can lead to increased risk of obesity and dental issues such as tooth decay. It also lacks the nutrients required in a baby’s diet. Foods such as lollies, cakes and syrups, and sugar containing drinks such as juices and soft drinks should be avoided.
  • HONEY- Honey should be avoided until after the age of 1 as it can contain a bacteria that is harmful to babies.
  • WHOLE NUTS- Whole nuts and peanuts should be avoided as they can be a choking hazard. These foods can still be added in textures that are appropriate and safe (think peanut or almond butter).
  • SOFT CHEESES- Some soft cheeses can carry mold and bacteria that can be harmful to babies. Cheeses such as Brie, camembert, blue vein and some goats milk cheese should be avoided. Instead use pasteurised full fat cheese including hard cheeses, cheddar, cottage or cream cheese.
  • RAW OR UNDERCCOKED EGGS- When including eggs in your baby’s diet you should makes sure they are cooked to avoid bacteria that can be dangerous to your baby.
  • SOME SEAFOODS- Avoid raw seafood’s such as mussels, oysters and some fish due to the risk of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Although not common fish to eat you should also avoid feeding your baby shark, swordfish and marlin due to the amount of mercury in these fish.
Q: How much water does my baby need?

A: For babies up to 6 months old, breast milk and bottle feeds will give adequate hydration so additional water is not needed.

As your baby starts solids at around 6 months they still receive the majority of their water from breast milk or bottle feeds, however small amounts of cooled, boiled water (around 120-240mls over the day) can be introduced in a straw cup and/or an open cup at meal times.

After the age of one your baby can consume as much water as they like, from drink bottles with straws or open cups.

Q: When using the baby led weaning approach, should I watch any ingredients in the family food offered to my baby ?

A:  When cooking family foods there are some considerations if your cooking for a baby under 12 months to make the meal both suitable and safe. These are:

  • Avoid adding salt
  • Use ingredients that contain no-added salt
  • Avoid adding alcohol
  • Avoiding adding sugar
  • Avoid adding honey
  • Avoid hot spices

FIRST FOODS

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: Do you recommend rice cereal and starting on puree’s before trying soft foods?

A:  This will depend on what you are comfortable starting your baby on. The traditional approach is where you spoon feed your baby puree’s/baby food before introducing soft foods, however over the last few years’ baby led weaning has become increasingly popular in which you start your baby on texture and size appropriate finger foods from the start.

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.

You don’t need to use one set approach either, you can mix both together if that suits you, your confidence and your circumstances better.

6-7 MONTHS

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.

7-9 MONTHS

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.

Q: My 13-month old daughter is starting to refuse her 1st bottle after breakfast. Is this a sign to drop it?

A: Yes, it could be a sign to drop this feed, however it could just be a phase she is going through where she is not that hungry.

You could try a smaller milk amount in a straw cup served with breakfast as option.

But if she continues to be uninterested it’s fine to drop that bottle feed.

Q: Is there a maximum amount of fish a 12-month old should have?

A: General recommendations are to include 2-3 meals that include fish a week. Fish like tuna and salmon are safe and nutritious for bub but avoid baby shark, swordfish and marlin due to the amount of mercury in these fish

Q: My almost 1-year-old has started to refuse to eat meat, she eats all her vegetables though. Any Tips?

A: This is very normal behavior. Babies and toddlers will go through phases and suddenly stop eating a food that was previously their favorite. Don’t stress and continue to serve the meat on their plate and they will eventually come around. If you are worried about meeting the iron requirements non meat based iron rich foods include:

  • Fortified Cereals
  • Beans, peas and lentils
  • Nuts and seeds- remember to serve in appropriate textures and shapes due to the choking risk. This could include nut or seed butters
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
Q: When can kids have cow’s milk?

A: From 6-12 Months of age, cow’s milk should not be the main drink for a baby, but small amounts can be used in food preparation.

At this age babies cannot process the protein and salt in the milk well which places stress on their kidneys. Cow’s milk also doesn’t provide infants with enough iron and other nutrients which can lead to nutrient deficiencies such as anemia.

At this age the best drink for babies (in addition to breast or formula feeding) is water.

From 12 Months of age cow’s milk should be introduced as it is a great source of calcium, vitamin D, protein and carbohydrates. It helps with bone growth, dental health, muscle control and is a good source of energy.

It is recommended to limit milk to 2 cups a day or 500mls otherwise it may impact on your child’s hunger and lead them to miss other desired nutrients from food. If they are still thirsty, offer water.

Toddlers under 2 should be given full fat cow’s milk. After the age of 2 reduced fat milk or skim milk can be given to your child if you choose.

If you continue breast feeding after 12 Months you can still add dairy as a part of your child’s diet through things like cheese, yogurt and milk but it is not essential to add additional bottles of cow’s milk on top of this.

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.

Q: How can I make food fun for my toddler?

A:  When offering new foods try to make it fun. Kids love it and they’re more likely to try something new if it’s interactive and fun. You could:

  • Serve foods with a variety of colors
  • Cut the foods into shapes- Cookie cutters are great for this I’ll often cut foods into star or circle shapes for my kids to try
  • Come up with fun names- An example of this is making a dinosaur juice which is a bright green milk, yogurt, banana and spinach smoothie that kids tend to love
  • Create dipping sauces for the kids to dip their finger food into
  • Have a ‘build your own meal’ nights- Taco’s, burritos, homemade pizzas or a sandwich bar are great examples

Make it colorful, fun and interactive and you will be surprised at what your kids may try.

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.

GENERAL

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.