Baby needs

Needs your baby

By 7 or 8 months yor baby is ready to move on to the next stage of weaning, with meals getting a little lumpier and finger foods making an appearance.

Older babies need more iron in their diets as their own stores start to run down after the age of about six months. They are also becoming much more active as they learn to crawl and then walk - and that means more calories are needed for energy and growth.

Your baby also needs a variety of nutrients in his foods, and to become used to a wide range of tastes as he grows. He can now chew, handle different textures and pick up different shapes more skilfully - eating fits in well with his newly acquired skills and experiences.

He also needs to practice his social skills, and joining in meals with other people gives a great opportunity for this. By the end of the first year, your baby will probably be able to enjoy almost all the same foods as you do, perhaps modified a little to make them more suitable for him.
Which milk?

Experts agree that babies aged up to a year should continue to be given breastmilk or formula milk or follow on milk as their main drink, rather than cow’s milk. Some experts feel that babies should be given no cow’s milk at all until they are a year old, because of the risk of allergies, while other experts advise that small amounts of full fat pasteurised cow’s milk can be used to mix with foods from six months onwards.
How much milk?

As your baby’s intake of other foods increases, he’s likely to need less milk. If you are breastfeeding, you can continue for as long as you and your baby want to. Your baby will naturally regulate his own intake.

When you do decide to cut down on breastfeeds, offer a drink in a cup at a time you’d normally expect your baby to want the breast. There is no point in trying to introduce the different sucking action of a bottle to a baby who’s over six months. Even if he is already accustomed to bottles, it’s still a good time to begin using a cup.

If your baby is still very keen on bottle feeds, you may have to take the initiative in dropping some of his formula intake - it’s easy for older bottle fed babies to fill up on milk, which may not leave much room for other foods. Decrease the amount of milk in each bottle so his intake over the day is less, and offer a cup instead of a bottle at some feeds.

By the end of the first year, the recommended amount of milk is 600 ml a day (about a pint) - and that includes milk from other sources such as custards and yogurt. More than this isn’t necessary, and some healthy babies take a lot less just because they don’t like it. A breastfed baby can feed as often as he wants to, but if he is only feeding once or twice, it’s sensible to make sure he has extra milk in a cup or in other foods.

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