Nutrition In The First Year

Baby's First Food
Baby’s First Food

jThe World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and that children continue to receive breast milk at least until the age of 2.

Breast milk is the best food for babies for the first 6 months of life. No other fluids or foods are necessary during this time.

Problems with milk supply could result from the early introduction of fluids other than breast milk. Well meaning relatives are renowned for suggesting introducing solids earlier than necessary. The only good reason to introduce foods other than breastmilk (or formula) before 6 months is if your baby is showing all signs of readiness.

Feeling like you don’t have enough milk is not a good reason to introduce solids early. It is very normal to feel this due to the fact that you are making the exact right amount of milk your baby is taking and you will no longer feel that full feeling you had earlier on. Please remember that help is available if you are experiencing difficulty breastfeeding. In Australia we are lucky to have a wonderful support network provided by the Australian Breastfeeding Association, in many other countries La Leeche League provides a similar service. See our section on breastfeeding for further information.

Problems could result from introducing solid foods too early due to the immaturity of the digestive system. Baby’s need time to develop mature digestive secretions and enzymes in order to break foods down into their smallest components. These components are simple sugars, amino acids and fatty acids. If complete digestion does not occur as a result of an immature digestive system, larger molecules can pass through to the blood stream and are not recognised by the baby’s immune system and treated as foreign substances, resulting in food allergies and sensitivities.

Go to When You Start Solids