Healthy eating for kids and babies
Breast milk provides all the nutrients your baby needs for healthy development in the first stages of their life, and also gives your baby long-term health advantages. Even breastfeeding for just a few weeks can make a difference.
Breast milk and alternatives
Infant formula is the only alternative to breast milk. Cow's milk is not suitable as a main drink in the first year. Infant formula at reduced prices is available for babies under one year old in families on a low income.
It is recommended that you breastfeed your baby for the first six months of their life, after which they will start to need more than just milk. This is the time to begin gradually introducing non-milk foods, a process called 'weaning'. Some babies adapt to solids early, some later, so it is worth considering the following pieces of advice:
- make the transition to non-milk foods gradual
- go at your baby's pace to allow them to get used to the different tastes and consistencies
- always be close by while your baby is eating so as to eliminate the risk of choking
- do not worry if your baby refuses to take food - they know when they have had enough
- let your baby eat at a time of day which experience tells you they are normally relaxed
- involve your baby in the process by encouraging them to use a spoon and feed themselves
It is a good idea to try and introduce your baby to a variety of tastes at an early age. However, there are certain foods you should ensure do not make it into their diet:
- salty foods (e.g. bacon, cheese, sausages)
- sugary foods
Your health visitor can advise you on this. By the time your baby is one year old, they will be able to enjoy most of the same foods as the rest of the family.