Information on meals for Babies under 12 Months of Age. Babies go through several stages when learning to eat solids. Up until now they have only needed to suck to get the sustenance they need. Babies must learn to swallow and chew and this will take time. Their first feeds should be when they are not ravenous, perhaps in the middle of a milk feed if they regularly fall asleep directly after a bottle. When we first put food on a babies tongue they won’t know what to do with it and may move it around until much of it dribbles out of their mouth. One method we often use is to allow the baby to suck the food off the spoon. When the baby turns their head or closes their lips we know they have had enough. We will never force a baby to have any food or milk at any time and will not try them with any more food when they have reached that point. We watch very closely for signs that the baby is ready to accept trying solids and will not feed solids to a baby if most of the following signs are not evident: • Baby holds things and puts them in their mouth. They may try to grab food you are eating. • Baby is able to sit up supported and hold their head up independently. • They have lost the tongue-thrust reflex. If the moment a spoon touches the baby’s tongue they ‘thrust’ the spoon out, then the baby is not ready. This reflex is important as it stops the baby from choking. Ages & Stages Of Eating Baby’s Age 0-6 mths 6-7 mths Skills Suck, Suckle, Swallow Begins to chew, stronger sucking ability, gag reflex disappearing Bites/chews, takes all food off spoon, can move food around mouth Can move food around mouth, jaw stronger Type of Food Liquids Purees 8-12 mths Mashes; chopped food & finger food From 12 mths ... Family/Nursery Food We don’t feed babies before they are ready for several very important reasons: • • • • • • They are more likely to develop allergies as their system is not mature enough to cope with food other than milk. They are susceptible to infections or stomach upsets. Constipation is more likely as their system cannot cope with solids yet. It won’t make them sleep through the night—babies need to learn to sleep through the night. They will do this with maturity. They may not drink as much breast milk or formula as they need for optimum growth. If baby still has the tongue-thrust reflex it will be a messy, timeconsuming and very stressful business for the baby particularly and will give the baby negative connotations about eating in future. Before you commence your place at the nursery you will be given a comprehensive list of foods for you to tick. You should tick foods that your baby has had at home or that you know they will not have a reaction to. This list is what the nursery will strictly use to determine what meals your baby has with us whilst they are at nursery. We will only give them foods that you have specifically ticked as this means you will have tried them at home. Originally baby’s meal will be individual vegetables and/or fruit with rice cereal if that is what you choose. You will need to provide the baby rice. It will lead to combinations of fruit and vegetables and then eventually meats, rice and pastas. If you wish you will be emailed the list of foods to an email account that you have easy access to. This will enable you to update the list for the nursery at any point in time (especially over weekends when you have time to try more foods). Each time you update the list, you should email it back to the nursery so we can add it to the baby’s file. After emailing the list to us, the chef and the room will be informed so that all staff are aware. It is vital to let the nursery know of any allergies that become apparent as soon as possible and include any doctors records or notes in the baby’s file. Communication between home and nursery is imperative and can be done in many ways. You will receive more information on how to do this when you join. We strive to make mealtimes an unhurried, nutritional and pleasurable time as possible filled with conversation and attention. We believe this encourages children to form positive relationships with food and nutrition and as they grow older will choose to eat healthily.