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Small tastes of food

Small tastes of food

If you've spent the last six months drinking only milk, it's going to take a while to get used to chewing and appreciating new tastes. That's why we start with small tastes of food.

The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization recommend we exclusively breastfeed our babies for the first six months. After that, you can offer your baby small tastes of other foods alongside breast milk or formula. This allows your child to try out “proper" food while your breast milk continues providing nutrients and protection against allergies.

Start off with bland foods
The purpose of giving tiny portions is to get your baby used to different tastes and consistencies. Swallowing something a little more solid requires a completely new eating technique than they’ve been used to. That's why your baby’s first solids should be plain, soft and smooth.

Start off by offering your baby foods like iron-fortified infant cereal/baby rice; pureed fruit without skins, pips or seeds (cook to soften if needed); cooked and pureed kumara, pumpkin or potato; or bought baby food, the right age for your baby.

Breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby first (until 8–9 months) and offer solids as a ‘top up’. Try ½–2 teaspoons first and gradually increase until your baby is having about 3–4 teaspoons at a meal.
To puree food, use a blender or push food through a fine sieve with a wooden spoon. You can add expressed breast-milk or formula to make the food runny enough for baby to swallow. Homemade foods can be frozen in ice cubes and used within 3–4 weeks.

If your baby refuses solid food
The very first taste of food – even a tiny teaspoonful – may not be an instant hit with your baby. Far from it. Keep your camera poised. Your baby might treat you to some funny faces you’ve never seen before. And that’s perfectly natural. The only food your baby has tried until now is a fairly sweet-tasting liquid.
If the first tastes of solid food weren’t a success, or if you’ve unsuccessfully tried various different tastes, try the following:
1. Skip straight to fruit and berries – or puréed meat and fish. Sooner or later you’ll find something your baby likes, and you’ll be away.
2. It can also help if dad or somebody else not associated with breastfeeding offers the new food to your baby.
If all else fails and your baby’s mouth turns into an angry little line as soon as the spoon approaches, no matter what food you try, just give up for a while. Try again later. There’s no rush.

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