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How much and how often?
Starting points: Essentials Module 3: Food includes an overview and a section on how much and how often, and there are also videos on the website covering how often to give solids and why you can let your baby eat as much as they want. In the food and drink section further down on this page are common questions relating to specific foods, such as milk, meat etc. Read on for some more questions about how much and how often.
Are you unsure what to do when your baby eats all of one food, but there are still other foods on the tray? Should you offer more of the food they have finished, or something else to fill them up? Or if they aren't eating the other foods on their plate does that mean they are full?
Dr Kyla shares a video and post about what to do here.
Is your baby asking for more of something, but you don't have any? Or maybe there is more, but you put it aside for a purpose. Do you have to give it to them? Do you find something else? Have a look at this video and summary for Dr Kyla's approach.
Does your baby show all the signs of readiness, but when you offer food they aren't interested? Are you worried that they don't seem to actually swallow anything? Or maybe you have been giving solids for a while now, but it seems like your baby is still completely disinterested. Here's a video and summary from Dr Kyla about why they might not want to eat, what you can do, and when you might start to be concerned.
There is also this article about taking the pressure out of mealtimes, by focusing on what you CAN be responsible for in the eating environment.
Dr Kyla also held a Facebook live where she talked about this with a bit more about growth and appetite.
There is a LOT conflicting information out there about this one! In this video, Dr Kyla gives you some rough guidelines for how many meals to give per day at different ages, and what are the signs that you might need to increase or decrease the number of meals you are providing. Also, many of our subscribers want to know what they "should" be doing in a typical day. There is absolutely, most definitely, NOT one right way of doing this, but because this topic has been asked for so many times, Dr Kyla has put together a loose guide to how you might time milk feeds, solids, play and naps in a typical day at various ages.
Do babies need snacks? At what age should you start giving snacks, and what kinds of foods should you give? Check out this post.
Getting started with first foods
Starting points: Essentials Module 2: Skills and Equipment includes a section on when to start, what equipment you will need, how to practice and what to do just before you feed your child solids for the first time. Essentials Module 3: Food gives an overview of what to feed your baby and the key things to think about in the first year. There is also a guide to first foods in the food section of the website. Read on for some more specific questions that might come up when you are just getting started.
Is it nearly time to start giving your baby their first foods? Do you want some help to know when they are ready, and how to get started?
Essentials Module 2 takes you through what signs show your baby is ready to start, how to prepare for the first meal, what equipment you need and some common concerns like choking and when to give allergy foods.
Essentials Module 3 gives an overview of what to feed your baby and some of the main considerations.
Are you feeling a bit uncertain about how to get started? Need some help cutting through all the 'noise'? Dr Kyla shows you the first foods she gave her baby, explains why she chose those foods, offers some alternative suggestions and gives you a few tips for starting out.
Have you heard various rules about foods to give or avoid at the beginning? Maybe you know there are foods that shouldn't be given before your baby turns 1; but which ones exactly? And what about those allergy foods? Dr Kyla gives you a quick summary of foods to give your baby in Essentials 3: Food. There is an overview of the allergy guidelines in Essentials module 4: Things that scare me, a guide for how to introduce allergens here and recipe and food ideas for the 9 most common allergens: Egg, Peanut, Cow's milk, Wheat, Soy, Sesame, Fish, Shellfish and other nuts.
Are you looking for some guidance on what foods to give in the first few weeks? In this post Dr Kyla gives you a summary of what to start with, how many foods per mealtime, and some examples of first purees and first finger foods.
Dr Kyla talks a lot about trusting your baby's appetite, and that there are different jobs for you and your baby. Are you wondering what that means, and how to actually implement this 'Division of Responsibility' thing?
In this masterclass, Dr Kyla explains her golden rules for mealtimes, which are based on the Division of Responsibility approach. She explains each of the roles, and shares how they can help make feeding less stressful for you, make mealtimes enjoyable for everyone, and set your baby up for a lifetime love of food. It sounds simple, but it's life-changing.
Has someone recommended that you only offer foods one at a time when your baby starts solids? Wondering whether the rules are different when it comes to allergens? And what about the advice that babies need 10 or more tastes before they like something? In this post, Dr Kyla discusses the current recommendations, answers these questions, and shares some advice for giving your baby a variety of flavours.
Are you wondering which to give first - food or milk? The answer differs by age! In this video, Dr Kyla explains why it is recommended that you give milk before solids until your baby is at least 8 months old, and then what your options are from there. She also addresses questions about when in the day to offer solids and whether you need to stick to 'normal' eating times like lunch at 12 noon, or 'normal' foods, like cereal at breakfast.
Food and drinks
Starting points: Essentials Module 3: Food gives an overview of what to feed your baby and the key things to think about in the first year. There is also an entire section of the website dedicated to food, including information for first foods, around 6 months, 7-8 months, 9-10 months, and 11‑12 months. There is also the famous finger food gallery, a recipes section and info on how to prepare baby foods, plus plenty of posts on specific foods and drinks, including the allergy series, the how to choose series, and others. Read on for the more specific questions that come up about foods and drinks.
Babies have immature kidneys that can't handle too much salt (or sodium). Most Australian adults and children eat way too much salt, mostly from packaged foods. So how much is ok to give your baby, and how do you find foods without too much salt? In this post, Dr Kyla briefly explains the nutrient guideline for salt, gives some general advice about what to do and highlights some key foods to watch out for. Because so many of our subscribers ask about stir-fry and pasta sauces, Dr Kyla also shows you how to work out the salt content of the sauce in your child's meal.
Iron is probably the most important nutrient to consider during the introduction of solids. But what are high-iron foods, and which ones are suitable for babies? How do you know if your baby is getting enough iron? What can you do to increase iron absorption? Dr Kyla gives you an overview in Module 3 and covers everything you need to know about iron in this masterclass.
Are you wondering when to start giving your baby water, and at what age you can stop boiling it? What about other drinks like juice, or cow's milk? In this post, Dr Kyla goes through what drinks to give in the first 12 months, how much they need, what to do if they don't want to drink, and a demonstration video showing how to offer water in an open cup.
There are also these short posts about water requirements at different ages, sippy vs straw cups, types of drinking vessels, and a demonstration video and 5-step guide to teach your child to drink from a straw.
Are you a bit confused by the guidelines for cow's milk for babies? Thinking of switching to a different milk? Unsure at what age to stop formula, or how to do it?
Here are two articles from Dr Kyla: this one covers when and how to include cow's milk before and after 12 months, and this one goes through the different milk options after 12 months, including when and how to stop formula, transition to other milks, move from bottle to cup and give other food sources of calcium.
Does your baby LOVE eating fruit and yoghurt? Does it seem to be all they want at the moment? Are you wondering whether a baby can have too much, or whether you should offer it a lot because you know they will eat it? This is really common, and it's easy to fall into a pattern.
In this video, Dr Kyla talks about why this might be happening, and how to help your baby get back into exploring a variety of foods.
Here is another video, where Dr Kyla talks about meals and snacks, including why you don't need to give a child fruit and yoghurt (or another favourite food) at every meal and snack.
Does your baby seem to be getting bored of their breakfast? Looking for some inspiration for healthy breakfast foods? Healthy breakfast cereal options are pretty limited, so try these breakfast sprinkles to mix things up and them a little bit more exciting by changing the taste, look and texture. This can also help them get used to 'bits' in their food, which helps a lot with the toddler years to come!
Also have a look at the finger food gallery for inspiration, and don't even worry about whether something is a 'breakfast' food or not!
Has someone told you not to feed your baby a high protein food (like meat) at dinner for better sleep? Dr Kyla busts this myth here.
It's Easter, and the bunny is bringing round the chocolate eggs. At what age can you introduce these to your kids? And what about hot cross buns? Are they ok to give to babies? What if there are older children around? Dr Kyla's advice for Easter is here.
You could also apply this advice to other special events and holidays, like birthday parties, Christmas and New Year.
A common conversation in the Baby Mealtimes Facebook and Instagram groups is around selecting between brands of commercial foods. Dr Kyla has lots to help you with this. Try the overview of how to choose pre-packaged foods (including tips on how to improve on them when feeding your baby) or read the articles on choosing specific types of foods: Yoghurt, Dairy Free Yoghurt, Crackers, Bread, Wraps, Pasta, Custard, Stock, Prepackaged baby food and more foods coming soon. You can also search the archives of Dr Kyla's weekly Chewsday Reviews on the blog if you want to read about a particular product. If you can't find what you are looking for, ask a question in the Baby Mealtimes Subscribers group, or add your product request to the Chewsday Reviews pinned post.
It's important to offer your baby the 9 most common food allergens before their first birthday. You can read more about how to do that here. There is also a Dr Kyla post for each of the common allergens, including recipe and food ideas for Egg, Peanut, Cow's milk, Wheat, Soy, Sesame, Fish, Shellfish and other nuts.
If your baby is feeling unwell, they might start refusing food. Lots of parents feel really worried when this happens, and wonder what to do. In this video and post, Dr Kyla offers some reassurance, and gives you her recommendations for offering food to babies who are feeling sick.
Does your baby have eczema? Are they having regular flare ups? Did you know that it's important to have eczema controlled before introducing solids? Dr Kyla chats with eczema-experts Jemma Weidinger (Eczema Nurse Practitioner) and Dr Meera Thalayasingam (Paediatric Immunologist) to answer ALL of your questions about eczema and food allergy.
Lots of Baby Mealtimes Subscribers ask how to manage their baby's constipation. Here's a quick summary of the key things you need to know.
A common question from our Baby Mealtimes Subscribers is whether they should give their baby a probiotic. Here's a quick summary of the key things you need to know.
There are many posts in our private Facebook groups about rashes around the mouth, cheeks or neck. If you are concerned, you should definitely get the rash checked out by a medical professional. Have a look at some photos and read more about mild skin irritation and contact rashes here.
Starting points: Essentials Module 3: Food gives an overview of textures, and Essentials Module 4: things that scare me has more info about choking and gagging. There is info in the food section on how to prepare baby foods, including the texture of first foods, foods at around 6 months, 7‑8 months, 9‑10 months, and 11‑12 months. There are also posts about finger food textures, puree textures and how to progress with textures as your baby's biting and chewing skills develop. Read on for the more specific questions that come up about texture.
The Australian infant feeding guidelines recommend starting with puree and then progressing to thicker and then lumpy textures. But you may have also heard about baby led weaning, and wonder whether this is a better approach. Dr Kyla explains these two methods, and offers a safe and effective middle ground that uses the best bits from each approach.
Dr Kyla demonstrates making a sweet potato puree, showing how runny it should be for a baby just starting out, and for a baby with a bit more experience. She also shows you what you can do to increase the thickness if it is too runny.
You know that it's important to make foods a safe texture for babies. But how soft should they be, and how soon should you move up to firmer textures?
Here's a video where Dr Kyla talks about different textures at different ages, and shows you how to do the smush test.
It seems contradictory; you are supposed to make sure the textures of first foods are super-soft, but there is also advice to give them something hard to gnaw on. Which one is it? Will they choke? What if they have teeth?
Check out this video and summary, in which Dr Kyla explains when it's ok to give your baby something hard, and what sorts of foods to give.
There is also this post about progressing with texture if they don't have teeth yet.
Are you unsure when and how to move on from puree to other textures? Are there some foods you are unsure of, like toast or eggs? Dr Kyla explains how to progress with texture as your baby gets older, using lots of examples for both purees and finger foods.
There is also this post about progressing with texture if they don't have teeth yet.
Has your baby managed smooth purees with no problems, but refuses anything that has lumps in it? Dr Kyla explains why lumpy purees are a tricky texture for many babies, and what to do.
Choking and Gagging
Does your baby seem to gag or choke on their food sometimes? Do you feel scared when you see them cough and their eyes water while eating?
Gagging is an important part of how our babies learn to chew and swallow. Dr Kyla has you covered with this article on how to tell the difference between gagging and choking, and how you should respond to your baby when they are gagging. It includes videos of babies gagging and then moving on, to help you see how it works. Make sure you've read the basics about gagging in Module 4
For more on choking, see the next question.
Choking is scary. We are scared of it happening to our child and we're scared we won't know how to respond. But being scared with a game plan can keep us from letting that fear hold us back from introducing a wide variety of foods. You can do this.
Make sure you've read the basics about gagging in Module 4
Try this article, called 'I am terrified of my baby choking'.
Also this video on how to respond to choking, with Rebecca from Parentmedic Australia.
Starting points: Essentials Module 2: Skills and equipment gives an overview of the equipment you need, what to look for, and Dr Kyla's favourites. There are also detailed posts about posture, spoons, and smocks. Read on for more specific questions about equipment.
You might also find some equipment-related questions in the eating behaviours section below, around when your child starts refusing or throwing the spoon, cup, chair, bowl etc.
Does your baby seem to get tired or wriggly in the high chair? Are they sliding around, or leaning to one side? If your baby doesn't have adequate support to sit comfortably they will find it hard to concentrate on eating. In this high chair positioning masterclass, Dr Kyla shows you how to make sure your little one has adequate support in their eating chair.
There are also these videos showing how to set up the IKEA highchair for your baby (suitable for the Big W and Target versions), and how to set up the Original Mocka highchair for your baby.
Are you wondering whether you really need to buy special spoons for your baby, and why you can't just use regular cutlery?
Dr Kyla explains what types of spoons to use with your baby from the beginning, and as they get older; and shows you a few different brands and types of baby spoons
She also gives you some tips and tricks for how to hold and use the spoons when feeding your baby.
Are you thinking about whether to try a mesh bag feeding device with your baby? Wondering whether they help or hinder your baby learning to eat? Here's a quick review from Dr Kyla about the pros and cons, and advice on how long they should be used for, if you do choose to use them.
Mess is an important part of learning to eat (you can read more here), but by gosh it can be hard to watch your baby get messy and smear food into their hair and clothes! In this post, Dr Kyla shares her favourite smocks, and gives you advice on how to use them, including a cleaning demonstration video.
Lots of Baby Mealtimes Subscribers ask about what type of cup their babies should drink from. Here's a quick summary of the key things you need to know, including Dr Kyla's recommended drinking cups. There is also this post about types of drinks, which includes a demonstration video of how to offer water in an open cup, plus some brief posts about sippy vs straw cup, the water requirements at different ages, and a demonstration video and 5-step guide to teach your child to drink from a straw.
Starting points: Essentials Module 1: Philosophy provides the foundation for Dr Kyla's approach to eating behaviours and may be a useful starting point. Read on for more specific behaviour questions.
(There is a lot more about eating behaviours in Toddler Mealtimes, aimed at children 12 months and older)
Is your baby refusing to sit in their highchair and only eating when on your lap? Is it a problem? What if they eat happily from your lap?
Dr Kyla shares a video and post about how to handle this.
Is your baby smearing food into their hair, getting it all over themselves and the highchair? Are they playing with their food and getting it everywhere? Are you struggling with the mess that they make? In this post, Dr Kyla explains why it's important to let them make a mess, and gives you strategies to deal with it, and how to clean up at the end of the meal. There's also this post about baby smocks, and a demonstration video about wiping your baby clean.
Does your baby HATE having their hands and face wiped after a meal? Dr Kyla has 6 top tips for helping your baby embrace the wipe-down, and a demonstration video with her baby.
Are you wondering how to help your baby graduate from bottle to cup? And what about using a straw? Here is a demonstration video about how to offer water in an open cup, and here's one showing how to teach your child to drink from a straw. You might also be interested in these posts about different types of cups, the water requirements at different ages or this short one about sippy vs straw cups.
Is your baby pulling big faces or spitting food out? Do they screw up their face and look at you as if you're poisoning them? Dr Kyla explains why they are pulling faces, what to do, and when you might start to be concerned.
Has your baby started refusing to be spoon fed? Or maybe they have never really taken to the spoon? You are not alone. Dr Kyla explains why this might be happening, and gives you lots of tips on how to help your baby make friends with the spoon.
Babies dropping or throwing food off the highchair has to be one of the most frustrating things for parents to watch! It's a very normal stage and most babies go through it at some point before they turn one. But, as always, the way you respond is the key. In this video, Dr Kyla talks about why it might be happening, and shares her strategy for how to manage it. She also gives advice on what to do if they are throwing the bowl.
Does your baby happily put things that aren\'t food into their mouth (like sand, leaves, books, rocks, their shoes etc), but when it comes to food they are much more cautious? Check out this post, in which Dr Kyla explains what's going on and offers some advice.
Lots of babies go through a period of highchair refusal. In this video and post Dr Kyla shares a range of problem-solving strategies, and advice on how you can help your child learn that the highchair is a nice place to be.
It can be tricky at the start to work out when your baby is full, or whether they are just distracted or having a rest. Here is a post from Dr Kyla about having a clear end-of-meal routine, to help you and your baby learn to trust one another and confidently pack away when they are finished.