Oh, what a lovely mess! Baby feeding at seven months can be just a little chaotic as small people learn how to eat from a spoon and exert their independence. Because, while being fed a range of lovely purees is pretty special, the average seven month old can’t resist trying to feed themselves as well. Expect plenty of hand and arm waving as your baby tries to match their desire and skill in grabbing onto the spoon and directing it somewhere near their mouth.
Don’t feel you need to be an expert cook when it comes to your 7 month old’s menu planning. At this age their taste buds are still developing and very sensitive; they don’t have a gourmet’s palate.
Aim for simple preparation of vegetables, fruits, cereals and dairy foods which maximises the nutritional content. For vegetables especially, short cooking times and using minimal water helps to lock in flavour and nutrients.
Red meat is a valuable source of iron, zinc and Vitamin B 12, and even the smallest amounts will provide important nutrients to your baby’s growing body. White meats too, such as chicken and pork, are ideal at this age. Just make sure you cook all meat and animal sourced foods very well.
Stick to the guide of breastfeed first and solids after. At this age and stage, breast milk still needs to be the primary source of your baby’s nutrition. Offer both breasts when you feed your baby. A little break between sides may help persuade them to accept the second breast.
Say goodbye to those long drawn out feeding times. At seven months your baby will know just how to obtain a full feed and empty your breasts in a few short minutes. Some babies love to comfort suck and will continue sucking for the sheer pleasure of it rather than to obtain more breast milk.
Try to avoid continual snacking of either breast milk or solid foods. Aim to offer solids within around 30 minutes of finishing a breastfeed. Grouping milk and solids in this way will help to create a couple of hours spacing between feeds and give structure to a busy day.
Keep offering formula before solids at seven months. While solids are undoubtedly important, it’s milk which your baby still needs as a priority right now. They also need the water which is contained in milk. Babies who overtake their formula intake with solids can become constipated and don’t thrive as they need to.
Discard any leftover formula and what hasn’t been accepted within one hour of starting each feed. Milk is the perfect medium for bacteria to grow and it’s important to be conscious of offering freshly prepared formula and not extend feed times.
Mix any leftover formula with your baby’s solids. Doing this ensures they are getting important nutrients and minimises waste. Cereal, vegetables, white sauces and milky solids are all good options of using up formula which hasn’t been accepted at bottle feeds.
Consider if your baby is having too much milk if they’re refusing solids. Some babies love their bottle so much that they’re really not interested in any other food.
Your baby’s biggest organ lies between their ears. Their brain is quite literally a sponge and will absorb whatever nutrients it can access. Emotional stimulation is another type of ‘food’ for your baby and it is the combination of both which will optimise your baby’s potential as they grow and develop.
Make healthy food choices which will support your baby’s growth. Get into the habit of asking yourself “will this support my baby’s growing body”?
Aim for a colourful range of vegetables and fruits. According to Nutrition Australia it pays to “Eat a rainbow”. Different colours indicate different nutrients e.g. yellow foods (like carrot and pumpkin) contain Vitamin A, while green vegetables contain a range of photochemicals and folate.
Healthy, thriving seven month old babies are able to make their own choices about how much food they want to eat. Like us, they will have their favourite foods and others they’re not so keen on.
Always speak and check with a qualified nurse or healthcare professional for advice and guidance on your seven month old baby’s individual feeding needs.
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For mums who are able to, breastfeeding is best for babies. It delivers many benefits for both mum and baby. Breastmilk contains all the nutrients your growing bub needs to thrive, especially in the first 6 months of life, plus antibodies to help them fight infections.
It’s important for pregnant and breastfeeding mums to maintain good nutrition. Deciding to use a combination of breast and bottle-feeding for an extended period may reduce your own breast milk supply, and reversing your decision may be difficult.
When using infant formula, follow the feeding guide and preparation directions carefully. Improper use or incorrect preparation of infant formula can make your baby ill.
Consult your doctor or health care professional for advice prior to using the formula to feed your baby. You should also consider the social and financial implications before deciding to use infant formula.
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