Moving on - Changes in diet for 6 to 12 month old babies

(Video uploaded 03/2018)

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Title:Moving on - Changes in diet for 6 to 12 month old babies

Changes in diet for 6 to 12 month old babies

Heading: Healthy eating for 6 to 24 month old children - Moving On - Changes in diet for 6 to 12 month old babies

Sub-heading: Changes in diet for 6 to 12 month old babies

Ms Anna Wu, Registered Nurse from Family Health Service of the Department of Health, the hostess: Welcome to our programme “Healthy eating for 6 to 24 month old children - Moving On”. From 6 to 12 months of age, babies gradually learn to eat different food textures and various kinds of food. They will also eat more solid food. Also they start holding food to eat. Now let's see how parents can help their babies to adapt to the changes in the way they eat.

Sub-heading: Kelly's dietary changes from 6 to12 months old

Baby Kelly: I'm Kelly. When I was 6 months old, Mommy let me try rice cereal and a bit of food puree. The nurse at the Maternal and Child Health Centre told Mommy to change the food texture gradually so that I could learn to chew. The nurse also said that I need to eat foods that are rich in iron. So Mommy put vegetables and meat into the rice cereal. I eat more and more rice cereal and gradually drink less milk. Now I am still breastfed because Mommy knows that breast milk is nutritious and makes me strong, so that I won't get sick so easily. Yesterday Mommy saw that I picked up things myself. She said she would give me a vegetable stalk and a spoon so that I could learn to eat myself. That's great!

Hostess: Kelly's mom was right. Parents should give nutritious food in suitable textures according to what their babies can chew and swallow.

Sub-heading: Changing food textures

Narrator: When a baby starts eating solid food, he can only eat smooth and runny puree or mashed food. After trying these for 2 to 3 weeks, you can make the rice cereal and food puree thicker and let him try thin congee as well. As your baby gets used to these textures, you can mash some soft food, such as egg yolk or tofu, and give him strained food. After he adapts to the strained food, you can give him some finely chopped green veggies, minced meat and thick congee. At around 1 year old, you can offer him soft rice.

Hostess: You should change food textures step by step with patience. Taking vegetable and meat congee as an example, you can first thicken the congee. Then, you can change the fineness of the chopped vegetables and minced meat. During this transitional period, parents may have some concerns.

Mother A asked: My baby hasn't got any teeth yet. Can he eat minced meat?

Doctor Joanna Leung, Family Health Service of the Department of Health: Even though your baby does not have any teeth, he can chew with his gums. Most babies can eat tiny pieces of minced meat when they are 9 to 10 months old. Keep giving babies purees, they may have a problem with food of coarse and tough textures in the future and may become picky eaters.

Mother B asked: I gave my baby some minced meat, but he gagged and spat it out. I worried that he may be choking. What should I do?

Doctor Joanna Leung: If your baby is not used to lumpy food, he may spit it out or even gag. This is normal. Keep calm, If you act nervous, you may scare your baby. After cleaning up, you can let him try again, but give him smaller mouthfuls. If he still spits out the food, you should prepare the food in a finer texture, and give him more time to adapt.

Hostess: Also, when your baby is not able to chew well, he might not eat much solid food. In this case, you should give him milk until he is full. Giving your baby a variety of foods can help him get used to different food tastes and get the nutrients he needs. So, how does a baby go from eating a small amount of puree to eating a nutritious and balanced meal? Let's have a look.

Sub-heading: Choice of Food

Narrator: Offer babies food that they are able to chew and swallow. Babies at this stage need more iron, so you should give them iron-rich food, such as: rice cereal and wheat cereal with added iron, meat, egg yolk and liver, dark green, leafy vegetables, and dry beans.
Parents should note that plain congee contains much less iron than rice cereal. Make sure that iron-rich foods are offered at each meal before replacing rice cereal with congee. Fish soup and meat soup have very little amount of nutrients. Feed your baby some minced meat or fish in suitable textures so that they can get enough nutrients.

Sub-heading: How to introduce new food

Narrator: Give your baby new food in the morning so that you have more time to watch for any allergic reactions, such as skin rashes, diarrhoea, or vomiting. Give your baby 1 to 2 teaspoons of the new food directly. You may also mix the new food with the food that your baby is used to eating. Keep trying the same food for 2 to 3 days. If your baby has no allergic reactions, you can offer another new food. Babies accept new food more readily before 1 year of age. But some babies may take a dozen times before they will eat. If your baby refuses the new food, you can let him try again a few days later.

Sub-heading: How often to give solid food

Narrator: As soon as your baby gets used to eating from a spoon, you can feed him solid food 2 or 3 times a day. When your baby gets hungry, you feed him solid food first and then give him milk until he is full. Around 1 year old, most babies eat 2 meals of congee or soft rice each day, and have snacks or fruits once or twice a day. They only need milk 2 to 3 times a day.

Mother C asked: How do I replace a milk feeding with a meal of congee?

Doctor Fherina Lam, Family Health Service of the Department of Health: When your baby can eat about half a bowl or more of congee or soft rice with meat and vegetables in a meal, and does not need to have milk afterwards, for several days, Then you can replace one milk feeding,

Hostesss: Knowing the changes in food that the baby needs, let's see how Kelly gradually moves from eating rice cereal to meat and vegetable congee twice a day.

Sub-heading: Kelly's introduction to solid food Flash

Baby Kelly: Hi! It's me, Kelly, again. At 6 months old, when I got used to eating rice cereal, Mommy fed me 2 to 3 times a day. She also let me try 2 new foods each week. Mommy usually gave me new food at midday. I didn't eat a lot, so I needed milk to fill up. Mommy also mixed and matched different kinds of food into my meals so that I could get a balanced mix of nutrients. The first new food I tried was spinach. I did not have any rashes or other bad reactions after trying it for 2 to 3 days. Then Mommy gave me egg yolk. In the next week, Mommy gave me some carrot and thread-fin fish. The fish was rather coarse, so I had to chew a bit. I got tired and ate very little, so I needed some milk to fill up. In the third week, Mommy gave me some more new food, [hariy melon and salmon,] to try. I ate very well. I finished half a bowl of rice cereal with fish. I needed less milk to fill up. When I was 7 months old, I had already tried many different kinds of food. Every time, I had veggies, meat, egg or fish. I also had a different fruit puree, including banana and apple, as a snack every day. Then Mommy gave me congee every other day. At first, she added egg yolk and hairy melon into the congee. I didn't like it, and ate only a little. Mommy didn't force me. The next day, she put pumpkin and grass carp into the congee. Oh, Yummy! It's tasty. You see! I tried many different kinds of food including rice cereal, congee, spinach, carrot, hariy melon, choi sum, pumkin, egg yolk, thread-fin fish, salmon, carp, meat, tofu, banana, apple and kiwi. At 8 months old, Mommy gave me some of the food I didn't like to eat before. But she cooked them in different ways and combinations. I liked eating them. By that time, I could eat different kinds of food including congee, vegetables and fruit of different colours, several types of fish and meat, eggs and beans in various combinations. I am now 9 months old. I have veggie and meat congee twice every day. After eating a little more than half a bowl of congee I am full and do not need milk to fill up. Mommy said she would let me try macaroni and bread later. I can share smaller pieces of family food very soon. This saves time in cooking. Then, Mommy can have more time to play with me. I love you, Mommy.

Hostess: In short, it takes time for your baby to adapt to eating solid food. Like Kelly, your baby needs more time to adapt when there is a bigger change in the food you give. If babies don't want to eat the food, parents should try other combinations or change the cooking method so that babies can make a smooth transition to eating adult meals.