Babies: Nutritional guidelines for babies

As you progress in the addition of solids in your baby's diet, keep in consideration three things: 1)Nutrient needs; 2)Developmental readiness; and 3)The potential for allergies/sensitivities.

Soon after adding an iron-rich rice cereal, the next most important nutrients to add are vitamins C and A. Offer a vitamin C-enriched fruit puree like applesauce, and a dark green or deep orange vegetable, such as pureed carrots or squash.

Adding foods, one at a time, with three days or more in between will help you detect any specific food allergies or sensitivities.

Begin at this stage to shaping these foods into a meal pattern. Have cereal and fruit at breakfast with the rest of the family. Pull the high chair up to the dinner table for baby to eat his cereal and vegetables while you enjoy your dinner and his company.

Nutrient requirements, birth to six months

  • Protein -- 13 grams
  • Iron -- 6 milligrams
  • Calcium -- 400 milligrams
  • Vitamin A -- 375 RE
  • Vitamin C -- 30 milligrams

Six to nine months -- chunkier chews: If starting solids now, begin slowly, offering pureed foods first (see above). If he has been eating solids, he is ready for, and needs, thicker, chunkier foods. Soft mashed, but not strained, food should be offered to him. When you offer finger foods, the shape of the food is important. Teething biscuits, toast, bagels and crackers are easiest for him to hold. (Do not offer if your baby is sensitive to wheat). By the end of this stage his grasp will be more digital and he'll be able to better manipulate little things like Cheerios and green peas.

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