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Food Milestones In Children

Food Milestones In Children
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Much of what we take for granted as adults has milestone status for young children and eating is no exception. As a parent it’s easy to worry that your child isn’t eating and drinking the right things at the right times. However, as long as your child is healthy then there is usually no need to worry.

But to reassure you and keep you right, we’ve compiled a rough guide to when you should start offering your child different types of food.

0-3 months

Newborns don’t generally need anything other than milk. Whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed, your baby will get all the nutrients they need from their milk. If your baby is constipated then you may offer extra water between feeds.

4-6 months

NHS guidelines state that baby’s should start on solid foods from around six months old. It isn’t recommended that you offer babies under four months anything other than breast milk or formula but if you choose to start weaning from four months then you should speak to your health visitor first. Some foods are unhealthy for babies to eat before they reach six months so your health visitor should be able to give you all the information you need.

6-9 months

This is the time when babies really begin to enjoy food. At first they may just play with it or spit it out but once they’re used to the idea you’ll find they start eating more and more. From around six months babies are usually able to cope with lumps and chunks of solid food so you don’t need to worry too much about pureeing everything. Some parents start pureeing then gradually introduce lumps before offering their children finger foods. Others go straight to finger foods and prefer to let their children feed themselves. Both ways are fine and really depend on what you’re most comfortable with. Cups should be introduced at around six months and you should offer a drink of water with meals.

9-12 months

Food Milestones In ChildrenOnce your baby has got the hang of eating you’ll find they gradually work up to eating three meals a day. If possible, it’s good to time these around family mealtimes. This saves you cooking another dinner if baby eats some of what you’re having and it makes mealtimes a family occasion. It also allows your child to learn from watching you eat. As your child eats more food, you’ll probably notice that they need fewer formula or breast feeds.

12-16 months

From 12 months your child can drink cows milk so if you wish, you can stop offering bottles or the breast. Children under the age of two still need the fat and nutrients from full fat milk so it’s best to buy full-fat dairy products. At this stage your baby should be eating three to four servings of starchy foods, such as potatoes and bread, three to four portions of fruit and vegetables and two servings of meat, fish, poultry or pulses each day.

24 months +

Children who are healthy and growing well can start having semi-skimmed milk from the age of two. Skimmed milk is fine once your child is three years old. Most two year olds will have learned the skills they need to eat all types of food so they can join in with the rest of the family’s healthy diet. However, it is recommended that choking hazards such as grapes are still cut into smaller pieces to reduce the risks. For this reason it’s also recommended that children don’t eat whole peanuts or other nuts until they’re over five, though things like peanut butter and chopped nuts are fine from six months.

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About Maria Brett

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About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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