Feeding

As your baby gets older the time between feeds will increase to 3 – 4 hours and it will be easier to tell when your baby is hungry.

Babies are ‘wired’ to look for food when they are hungry and feeding and sleeping work closely together. Not enough sleep can make it hard to feed well, just as not having enough to eat will affect your baby’s ability to sleep. 

Babies do communicate their needs and over time, you will read your baby’s cues with more accuracy. They might get excited, lean towards you and open their mouth. Your baby will also tell you when to stop feeding, by turning the head away, losing interest in food, getting distracted or pushing the spoon away.

For more information the Australian Breastfeeding Association has guides which also include for bottle fed babies.

FAQ

0-3 months

Breastfeeding is learnt in the first weeks or months of your baby’s life, this is a unique experience as no two mothers or babies are the same. The ‘latch’ that your baby has with your breast is one of the biggest factors for successful breastfeeding.

Here are a few tips to help your baby attach and feed well.

  • Hold your baby close, unwrapped and well supported.
  • Make sure your baby is facing you and tucked in close to your body.
  • Skin to skin contact is helpful.
  • Position your baby’s nose and top lip in line with your nipple.
  • Move your baby toward your breast.
  • Support your baby well and hold close to you while feeding.

The video below is a great introduction to this.

 Video https://youtu.be/Zln0LTkejIs

With acknowledgements to Ameda for the use of this video

For more info, the Australian Breastfeeding Association has the following excellent guides, which are appropriate to bottle fed babies as well. 

The following pictures show babies in a good breastfeeding position.

This baby is being held closely, chest to chest with head, shoulders and body in a line. 

This is the same position as above, but uses a pillow for extra support. 

 

This is also the same position. Notice how close the baby is to the breast and how his mouth is in line with the nipple. 

An alternative position – holding baby under your arm. This position is useful for draining a different part of the breast, for large breasts or if you have sore tummy (such as from a Cesarean). It’s also handy for twins, as you can have one on each side.

Babies try to communicate their needs and you will read your baby’s cues with more accuracy as you get to know and understand each other better. Babies are ‘wired’ to look for food when they are hungry.

Newborns on average feed every 2-3 hours, so if your baby starts to fuss and hasn’t been fed in the last couple of hours, checking if they are hungry is a good start. However your baby’s hunger signs are a better way to work out when to feed than waiting a set number of hours.

Look for hunger cues every 1-2 hours, these can include;

  • sucking noises.
  • opening mouth.
  • turning towards breast.
  • suck fingers or a fist.

Sourced from the Raising Children website, Australia’s trusted parenting website. For more parenting information, visit www.raisingchildren.net.au.

Feeding and sleeping work closely together. Not enough sleep can make it hard to feed well, just as not having enough to eat will affect your baby’s ability to sleep well. In the first few weeks there will be some ‘trial and error’ in working out when your baby wants to feed or sleep. See our establishing age appropriate routines.

Breastfed babies usually get all they need. In the early days they may take up to an hour to feed and will often fall asleep while feeding. By the time they are 2 – 3 months old they are more alert and feeding may only take about 10 minutes.

Signs that your baby is getting enough breast milk include:

  • Generally content after a feed. In the early months it is normal for your baby to have 1-2 unsettled periods each day and may want to breastfeed more often.
  • In the early weeks baby will have 6 or more wet nappies each day. Urine is a clear pale yellow colour.
  • Bowel motions are soft and occur many times in the first 6-8 weeks. Baby is alert and active with good skin colour.

Overfeeding can be an issue with bottle fed babies. Often this happens because feeding is too fast – all over in 10 minutes. It’s usually better to slow down the feed, so that it takes 20 – 30 minutes. If the milk is flowing too quickly and your baby is struggling to keep up with the flow, it’s important that you follow your baby’s cues to take a break or finish feeding. This is a good time to check the nappy and check for wind. Then offer the bottle again. If your baby has been feeding for 20 – 30 minutes and does not want more, then it’s time to finish the feed.

For bottle fed babies, the amount per feed stated on the tin is only a guide. Don’t be concerned if your baby doesn’t want that much, unless it becomes persistent or your baby is not gaining weight. Your baby should appear content after feeding, have a heavy, wet nappy 6 – 8 times a day and a bowel motion at least once a day. There’s more information in our Bottle Feeding topic.

For more information refer to ‘Breastfeeding your baby’ booklet by NSW Ministry of Health or download a copy from the NSW Kids and Families website www.kidsfamilies.health.nsw.gov.au

I still need more help with Breastfeeding

Being a new mother is exhausting – there’s a lack of sleep and lots of time and effort taken up feeding and caring for the baby. It can take 6 – 12 weeks to establish a good breastfeeding routine. During this time a mother needs a lot of support from friends and family. Partners will benefit by actively caring for the baby, this will help build a bond and can be very rewarding for both! Partners should get used to calming and settling their baby, not leaving this all to mum. This should become a fun and bonding experience. Grandparents can also be a valuable source of help for new parents. There are also lots of community resources available to support you. Parent groups are also great – you can meet up for coffee, have a chat and get great ideas and support from your peers.

See the video below for suggestions on how your family, friends and community can help

 

If you have breastfeeding concerns which you are not able to work through on your own, seek out any of the following helpful services.

 

Child and Family Health Nurses

There are professional nurses trained to support women with breastfeeding issues. Many local health services have drop-in breastfeeding clinics, breastfeeding groups or home visits. Your local Child and Family Health Centre is a great place to seek help. They are backed by the Health Department of the NSW Government and staffed by nurses qualified in Child and Family Health. To find your nearest centre, contact Health direct Australia on 1800 022 222.

 

Australian Breastfeeding Association 

The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA)hyperlink to website  is Australia’s largest breastfeeding information and support service. Breastfeeding is a practical, learned skill and ABA help more than 80,000 mothers each year. ABA also provides up-to-date information and continuing education for thousands of health professionals working with mothers and babies. Breastfeeding Helpline 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 268). The Breastfeeding Helpline is available 7 days a week. It is staffed by trained, volunteer counsellors who answer calls on a roster system in their own homes.

 

Lactation Consultants

A lactation consultant is highly trained specialist, who can provide support and advice, often in your own home or clinic settling. You can access free lactation consultations from a Child and Family Health Centre, or use a private consultant, who will charge a fee. For more information contact your child and family health nursing service, family doctor or look in your telephone or online directory for private consultants. This list may help you.

 

Telephone Support

For telephone support, try the following:

Karitane Careline 1300 227 464
Karitane is a registered charity backed by NSW Health. The Careline is open 7 days a week.

 

  • When your milk comes in usually 2-3 days after birth, your breasts will feel very full and uncomfortable for a few days. This feeling of ‘fullness’ with your breasts may continue to happen for a few weeks until your milk becomes established. Using a well-supporting maternity bra and applying cold packs to breasts may be helpful in these early days.
  • When feeding your baby try to offer your baby both breasts. Make sure your first breast is soft and comfortable before offering second breast to ensure your milk ducts don’t become blocked. Tight tops and bras can cause blockages so try to avoid them. A blocked duct may show as a lump so feeding on the affected breast first, with very gentle massage just behind the affected are during the feed, might help. Moist heat prior to the feed may also help if your baby is over 10 days old.
  • If left untreated, a blockage may lead to mastitis- an infection of the breast tissue. This may start as a red area on the breast and can progress to flu-like joint aches and pain, chills or rigors and a temperature. If this happens see your doctor- you may need antibiotics. It is important you continue to breastfeed to drain your breasts well.
  • Cracked nipples are painful and may sometimes bleed, which can also lead to infection. This is often due to a latching problem so make sure you position and attach you baby well to the breast. If the pain persists or increases you might need to see your Child and Family Health Nurse, Lactation Consultant or G.P.
  • At times your baby may become fussy and appear to want more breastfeeds. If you just respond to your child by offering comfort and more breastfeeds for a few days the fussy period should pass.
  • Sometimes you may feel your milk supply is low, but there can sometimes be other reasons for this. See ‘How do I know if my baby is getting enough breast milk?’ to help you work out if your supply really is low. If your supply is low the quickest and most successful way to boost your supply is to breastfeed more often. If your baby does not settle after a feed you could offer another quick little ‘top up’ breastfeed. Expressing after feeds and offering your baby the expressed milk can help as well. Remember that breast milk flows best when you are relaxed and calm, so try to rest, eat a well-balanced diet with adequate fluids, and accept some help from family and friends. If concerned about your supply, talk to a health professional such as your Child and Family Health Nurse, Lactation Consultant or an Australian Breastfeeding Association counsellor.

We acknowledge that breastfeeding is best for your baby however if your bottle feeding your baby we respect and support your decision. Bottle feeding includes expressed breast milk and or infant formula.

Suitability and Storage

  • Your baby can be bottle fed either expressed breast milk or infant formula.
  • Cow’s milk is not a suitable substitute until your baby is 12 months old, as your baby is not able to properly digest it.
  • Expressed breast milk can be stored in the fridge for 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months.
  • Thaw frozen breast milk slowly in the fridge (5 deg C or below) or in warm water. Once breast milk is defrosted, it can be stored in the fridge for a maximum of 24 hours.

Wash & Sterilise Bottles

  • Bottles need to be washed before use.
  • Bottles should be sterilised before every use until your baby is 12 months old. This protects your baby from getting sick.
  • To clean the bottles:
    • Remove the ring and teat and wash them thoroughly in warm soapy water.
    • Rinse with clean water and squirt some through the hole in the teat.
  • To sterilise bottles, there are 3 main ways:
    • Boiling method: Cover all parts of the bottles in a pot of water and boil for 5 minutes.
    • Approved sterilising units.
    • Chemical sterilising solution.
  • To avoid burns, keep the hot water and bottles away from children until they are cool.
  • Leave bottles covered, away from airborne contamination, until ready to make up formula.
  • Store sterile bottles in a sealed container in the fridge until they are to be used.

Preparing Infant Formula

The following video will give you some tips on how to prepare formula and feed your baby. There are also tips on how dads can help!

Insert video: https://youtu.be/4G2zznRlLHs

Prepare Formula

  • Wash your hands before preparing bottles to ensure they are germ free.
  • Infant formula requires boiled fresh water and powdered infant formula.
  • Boil water and allow it to cool until lukewarm.
  • Make sure you choose a formula suitable for your baby’s age. Consult a health professional if you’re unsure.
  • Read the instructions on the tin carefully.
  • Add water to the bottle first and then add formula.
  • Fill each bottle with the correct amount of cooled boiled water.
  • Fill the scoop (provided in the tin) with formula and tap it to remove air gaps. Level it with a flat blade. Do not pack the formula in tightly.
  • Add the correct number of scoops for the amount of water in the bottle. Do not use half scoops.
  • Store the scoop in the tin. Do not wash the scoop as it can introduce moisture, which makes the formula go bad.
  • Assemble the bottle and shake until the powder is dissolved.
  • Check the temperature by sprinkling a drop or two onto your wrist. Milk should be warm when fed to your baby, but it’s better for it to be cool than too hot.
  • If you need to warm your milk, stand the bottle briefly in warm water. It is not recommended to use a microwave to heat milk, as this can lead to hot spots that may burn your baby’s mouth

Safety Tips

  • It is preferred to prepare only one bottle at a time and just before feeding.
  • If formula is needed ahead of time, put it in the fridge as soon as it’s made.
  • Any formula that has been at room temperature for an hour should be discarded.
  • Any formula left at the end of a feed must be discarded, as it will be contaminated once sucked on.
  • Throw out opened formula tins after a month, or if past the ‘use by’ date.

Feeding Baby

  • Make yourself comfortable and hold your baby gently but firmly.
  • Holding, cuddling and talking while feeding is good for development and bonding.
  • Your baby needs a good seal between mouth and bottle, check that the teat is not too big or too small for your baby’s mouth to seal around it.
  • Position the teat in your baby’s mouth and he/ she will start to suck on it. Keep the neck of the bottle at an angle so that it fills with milk.
  • When your baby stops sucking strongly, or after half the bottle is drunk, stop and see if your baby wants to burp (see Does your baby need a burp?).
  • Always hold your baby in your arms and stay with him/ her while feeding, as an unaccompanied baby may choke.
  • Introduce a cup from 6 months of age to reduce teeth decay. Aim to only use cups from 12 months of age.

For more parenting information, visit www.raisingchildren.net.au.

3-6 months

Looking for hunger signs is a better way to know when to feed than waiting a set number of hours. On average babies are now feeding every 3-4 hours so you might see these hunger cues every 2-3 hour which can include;

  • Crying and unsettled.
  • Opening mouth and turning towards breast.
  • Your baby might also suck fingers or a fist when hungry. However now at around 3 – 4 months, babies start doing this for comfort and as part of their development.

Hunger Cues add video (insert link)

Breastfeeding is recommended from birth to 12 months and beyond as long as mum and baby are happy to continue. Breastfed babies usually get all they need. In the early days they may take up to an hour to feed and will often fall asleep while feeding. By the time they are 2 – 3 months old, they are more alert and feeding may only take about 5-10 minutes.

Signs that your baby is getting enough breast milk include:

  • Your baby will also tell you when to stop feeding, by turning the head away, losing interest and getting distracted
  • Generally content after a feed.

Overfeeding can be an issue with bottle fed babies. Often this happens because feeding is too fast – all over in 10 minutes. It’s usually better to slow down the feed, so that it takes 20 – 30 minutes. If the milk is flowing too quickly and your baby is struggling to keep up with the flow, it’s important that you follow your baby’s cues to take a break or finish feeding. This is a good time to check the nappy and check for wind. Then offer the bottle again. If your baby has been feeding for 20 – 30 minutes and does not want more, then it’s time to finish the feed.

For bottle fed babies, the amount per feed stated on the tin is only a guide. Don’t be concerned if your baby doesn’t want that much, unless it becomes persistent or your baby is not gaining weight. Your baby should appear content after feeding, have a heavy, wet nappy 6 – 8 times a day and a bowel motion at least once a day. There’s more information in our Bottle Feeding topic.

For more information refer to ‘Breastfeeding your baby’ booklet by NSW Ministry of Health or download a copy from the NSW Kids and Families website www.kidsfamilies.health.nsw.gov.au

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended to around 6 months. Introducing solid foods from around 6 months is necessary to meet your baby’s nutritional and developmental needs. Your baby is ready to experiment with a variety of foods other than milk when:

• The “tongue-extrusion�? reflex (that pushed food out of the mouth) has disappeared.

- Still appears hungry even when they have had all of their milk feeds.

• They can sit upright when supported and have good head and neck control.

• Showing an interest in food that others are eating – they may try to grab the food.

6-12 months

Looking for hunger signs is a better way to know when to feed than waiting a set number of hours. On average babies are now feeding every 3-4 hours so you might see these hunger cues every 2-3 hour which can include;

  • Crying and unsettled.
  • Opening mouth and turning towards breast.
  • Your baby might also suck fingers or a fist when hungry. However now at around 3 – 4 months, babies start doing this for comfort and as part of their development.

Hunger Cues add video (insert link)

Breastfeeding is recommended from birth to 12 months and beyond as long as mum and baby are happy to continue. Breastfed babies usually get all they need. In the early days they may take up to an hour to feed and will often fall asleep while feeding. By the time they are 2 – 3 months old, they are more alert and feeding may only take about 5-10 minutes.

 

 Signs that your baby is getting enough breast milk include:

  • Your baby will also tell you when to stop feeding, by turning the head away, losing interest and getting distracted
  • Generally content after a feed.

 

Overfeeding can be an issue with bottle fed babies. Often this happens because feeding is too fast – all over in 10 minutes. It’s usually better to slow down the feed, so that it takes 20 – 30 minutes. If the milk is flowing too quickly and your baby is struggling to keep up with the flow, it’s important that you follow your baby’s cues to take a break or finish feeding. This is a good time to check the nappy and check for wind. Then offer the bottle again. If your baby has been feeding for 20 – 30 minutes and does not want more, then it’s time to finish the feed.

For bottle fed babies, the amount per feed stated on the tin is only a guide. Don’t be concerned if your baby doesn’t want that much, unless it becomes persistent or your baby is not gaining weight. Your baby should appear content after feeding, have a heavy, wet nappy 6 – 8 times a day and a bowel motion at least once a day. There’s more information in our Bottle Feeding topic.

For more information refer to ‘Breastfeeding your baby’ booklet by NSW Ministry of Health or download a copy from the NSW Kids and Families website www.kidsfamilies.health.nsw.gov.au

 

I need more help with Breastfeeding

Being a new mother is exhausting – there’s a lack of sleep and lots of time and effort taken up feeding and caring for the baby. It can take 6 – 12 weeks to establish a good breastfeeding routine. During this time a mother needs a lot of support from friends and family. Partners will benefit by actively caring for the baby, this will help build a bond and can be very rewarding for both! Partners should get used to calming and settling their baby, not leaving this all to mum. This should become a fun and bonding experience. Grandparents can also be a valuable source of help for new parents. There are also lots of community resources available to support you. Parent groups are also great – you can meet up for coffee, have a chat and get great ideas and support from your peers.

See the video below for suggestions on how your family, friends and community can help

 Insert video https://youtu.be/Xys5G2AR5go

 

If you have breastfeeding concerns which you are not able to work through on your own, seek out any of the following helpful services.

 

Child and Family Health Nurses

There are professional nurses trained to support women with breastfeeding issues. Many local health services have drop-in breastfeeding clinics, breastfeeding groups or home visits. Your local Child and Family Health Centre is a great place to seek help. They are backed by the Health Department of the NSW Government and staffed by nurses qualified in Child and Family Health. To find your nearest centre, contact Health direct Australia on 1800 022 222.

 

Australian Breastfeeding Association 

The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA)hyperlink to website  is Australia’s largest breastfeeding information and support service. Breastfeeding is a practical, learned skill and ABA help more than 80,000 mothers each year. ABA also provides up-to-date information and continuing education for thousands of health professionals working with mothers and babies. Breastfeeding Helpline 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 268). The Breastfeeding Helpline is available 7 days a week. It is staffed by trained, volunteer counsellors who answer calls on a roster system in their own homes.

 

Lactation Consultants

A lactation consultant is highly trained specialist, who can provide support and advice, often in your own home or clinic settling. You can access free lactation consultations from a Child and Family Health Centre, or use a private consultant, who will charge a fee. For more information contact your child and family health nursing service, family doctor or look in your telephone or online directory for private consultants. This list may help you.

 

Telephone Support

For telephone support, try the following:

Karitane Careline 1300 227 464
Karitane is a registered charity backed by NSW Health. The Careline is open 7 days a week.

When to introduce solids

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended to around 6 months. Introducing solid foods from around 6 months is necessary to meet your baby’s nutritional and developmental needs. Your baby is ready to experiment with a variety of foods other than milk when:

• The “tongue-extrusion�? reflex (that pushed food out of the mouth) has disappeared.

- Still appears hungry even when they have had all of their milk feeds.

• They can sit upright when supported and have good head and neck control.

• Showing an interest in food that others are eating – they may try to grab the food.

 

Tips for introducing solid foods

Let your baby decide how much food they eat. They will give you cues if they want more or have had enough. Offer small frequent meals and allow your baby to decide when they have had enough, don’t push them to eat more than they want.

Start with iron rich foods such as iron fortified cereals, meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, legumes and tofu. Foods can be introduced in any order and in amounts that suit your baby, until they are eating a wide variety of family foods from the 5 food groups. More than one new food can be introduced at a time.

Offer small, frequent meals and allow your baby to decide when they have had enough. Don’t push them to eat more than they want.

Signs that your baby has had enough are:

  • Turning or looking away,
  • Pushing food out of their mouth,
  • Closing their mouth,
  • Playing with or throwing food.

Remember at this early stage that milk is still an important part of your baby’s diet. Water is the best additional drink to milk and should be offered in a cup from 6 months. Fruit juice is not recommended, as there is too much sugar and little fibre.  Avoid honey until your baby is 12 months old.

  • Always cook eggs thoroughly.
  • At 12 months offer cows milk rather than formula. There is no need for Follow-on or Toddler formula unless your doctor recommends it.
  • Stop using bottles from 12 months and offer drinks from a cup. Bottle use after 12 months can lead to increased tooth decay and ear infections.

 

Introducing a variety of different foods and textures

• Start by offering pureed family foods

• Progress to mashed, then minced foods then whole foods

• By 8 months your baby will enjoy finger foods

• Let your baby experiment with food, offering a variety of food types and colours. This may take a few attempts before they accept some foods

• Getting messy, spitting out food and gagging is normal as your baby learns how to eat (the gag reflex helps prevent your baby from choking)

To keep your baby safe when introducing solid foods follow these guidelines:

• Stay with your baby at meal times

• Use a harness in high chairs

• Avoid whole nuts, seeds, hard fruit, hard vegetables, honey and raw eggs

• Avoid herbal teas and soft drinks

 

Choking is always a potential hazard. We recommended that all carers learn first aid for children. The following video has advice on managing choking.


Insert video: https://youtu.be/H5_fHPCDfP4

Sourced from the Raising Children website, Australia’s trusted parenting website. For more parenting information, visit www.raisingchildren.net.au.

12+ months

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended to around 6 months. Introducing solid foods from around 6 months is necessary to meet your baby’s nutritional and developmental needs. Your baby is ready to experiment with a variety of foods other than milk when:

  • The “tongue-extrusion” reflex (that pushed food out of the mouth) has disappeared.
  • Still appears hungry even when they have had all of their milk feeds.
  • They can sit upright when supported and have good head and neck control.
  • Showing an interest in food that others are eating – they may try to grab the food.

Let your baby decide how much food they eat. They will give you cues if they want more or have had enough.

Offer small frequent meals and allow your baby to decide when they have had enough, don’t push them to eat more than they want.

Start with iron rich foods such as iron fortified cereals, meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, legumes and tofu. Foods can be introduced in any order and in amounts that suit your baby, until they are eating a wide variety of family foods from the 5 food groups. More than one new food can be introduced at a time.

Offer small, frequent meals and allow your baby to decide when they have had enough. Don’t push them to eat more than they want. Signs that your baby has had enough are: Turning or looking away, pushing food out of their mouth, closing their mouth, playing with or throwing food.

Remember at this early stage that milk is still an important part of your baby’s diet. Water is the best additional drink to milk and should be offered in a cup from 6 months. Fruit juice is not recommended, as there is too much sugar and little fibre.  Avoid honey until your baby is 12 months old.

  • Always cook eggs thoroughly.
  • At 12 months offer cows milk rather than formula. There is no need for Follow-on or Toddler formula unless your doctor recommends it.
  • Stop using bottles from 12 months and offer drinks from a cup. Bottle use after 12 months can lead to increased tooth decay and ear infections.
  • Start by offering pureed family foods
  • Progress to mashed, then minced foods then whole foods
  • By 8 months your baby will enjoy finger foods
  • Let your baby experiment with food, offering a variety of food types and colours. This may take a few attempts before they accept some foods
  • Getting messy, spitting out food and gagging is normal as your baby learns how to eat (the gag reflex helps prevent your baby from choking)

To keep your baby safe when introducing solid foods follow these guidelines:

  • Stay with your baby at meal times
  • Use a harness in high chairs
  • Avoid whole nuts, seeds, hard fruit, hard vegetables, honey and raw eggs
  • Avoid herbal teas and soft drinks

Choking is always a potential hazard. We recommended that all carers learn first aid for children. The following video has advice on managing choking.

 

Sourced from the Raising Children website, Australia’s trusted parenting website. For more parenting information, visit www.raisingchildren.net.au.

1-2 Year

Offer a variety of healthy foods from the 5 food groups each day. The following is a rough guide to the amounts and types to offer, but don’t worry if your child doesn’t always eat all of these every day.


  • Full cream dairy products are recommended until toddlers are 2 years old. After 2 years, low fat milk can be offered, and skim milk after 5 years. If milk alternatives used, make sure it is a calcium-enriched variety. Toddler milks or ‘special’ for toddlers are not required.
  • Added sugar is not necessary and only give honey in small amounts.
  • Make biscuits, cakes, chocolate and other sweets a ‘sometimes’ food. Replace them with snacks such as frozen fruit, bread with a spread (perhaps cut into interesting shapes), raisin toast, celery sticks, cheese sticks, frozen yogurts or crackers, and crisp bread spread with a soft cheese.
  • Avoid using sweets and chocolate as rewards.
  • Avoid take away or pre-packaged food that contain high levels of salt and fat.
  • Avoid adding salt to home prepared foods. This helps prevent toddlers becoming accustomed to a salty taste. High salt intake can eventually lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Move away from bottles and offer drinks from a cup. Toddlers filling up on milk don’t have room for solids and therefore may become iron deficient. Water is the best thirst quencher.
  •  Encourage your child to be active
  • Slow down, relax and enjoy family meal times together 

 

 

For more detail, see the Australian Federal Government’s Australian Guide to Health Eating.

Involve your toddler in preparing their meals e.g. homemade pizza, fruit salad, sandwiches.

Reduce distractions, for example turn off the TV and electronic devices.

Try to keep mealtimes regular and predictable.

Sit down together when eating, preferably at a table with the family.

Provide opportunities for your child to see other children and adults eating new or different foods.

Mealtimes can provide a time to be with your child and role model positive eating habits.

Offer new foods regularly, even if the child at first indicates they are not interested in the food.

Encourage your toddler to touch, smell and taste new foods (without any expectation of them swallowing it), taking time to enjoy the texture and become familiar with what they are eating.

Praise your child for positive mealtime behaviours like trying new foods, eating finger foods, trying a spoon, waiting their turn, for example “thank you for staying on your chair”.

Expect some mess and use surfaces that are easily cleaned.

Respond to your toddlers cues, this may include signs that they are tired, hungry, wanting more food or that they have had enough.

 

The following table gives an idea of the behaviours you can expect at meal times

http://karitane.com.au/mybabyandme/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Toddler-feeding-behaviour.jpg

 

2-4 Years

At Karitane, we are aware that mealtimes can be a challenge at times. Toddlers will eat different amounts on different days. This depends on their day’s activity, if they are tired or unwell.

• Offer a range of nutritious foods to your toddler. Be guided by your child - don’t force them to eat if they don’t want to and don’t withhold healthy food if they are hungry. As long as your toddler is active and well, eating a variety of healthy foods, there is no cause for concern

• A well-balanced diet is recommended for all family members, while keeping in mind the size and appetite of each individual

 

The following is a rough guide to the amounts and types to offer, but don’t worry if your child doesn’t always eat all of these every day.

 

  • Full cream dairy products are recommended until toddlers are 2 years old. After 2 years, low fat milk can be offered, and skim milk after 5 years. If milk alternatives used, make sure it is a calcium-enriched variety. Toddler milks or ‘special’ for toddlers are not required.
  • Added sugar is not necessary and only give honey in small amounts.
  • Make biscuits, cakes, chocolate and other sweets a ‘sometimes’ food. Replace them with snacks such as frozen fruit, bread with a spread (perhaps cut into interesting shapes), raisin toast, celery sticks, cheese sticks, frozen yogurts or crackers, and crisp bread spread with a soft cheese.
  • Avoid using sweets and chocolate as rewards.
  • Avoid take away or pre-packaged food that contain high levels of salt and fat.
  • Avoid adding salt to home prepared foods. This helps prevent toddlers becoming accustomed to a salty taste. High salt intake can eventually lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Move away from bottles and offer drinks from a cup. Toddlers filling up on milk don’t have room for solids and therefore may become iron deficient. Water is the best thirst quencher.
  •  Encourage your child to be active
  • Slow down, relax and enjoy family meal times together 

What About Childhood Obesity?

Childhood obesity is a growing problem in Australia. In 2007-08, one-quarter of all Australian children, or around 600,000 children aged 5-17, were overweight or obese, up four percentage points from 1995 (Australian Bureau of Statistics Year Book Australia, 2009–10).

Key tips to prevent childhood obesity

  • Breastfeeding is protective against Childhood Obesity.
  • Most babies regulate their breastmilk intake so they are less likely to overfeed.
  • With bottle fed babies, don’t feel that the baby needs to finish every bottle. Throw away unused formula after baby has finished feeding.
  • Juice is one of the main causes of childhood obesity. It gives lots of sugar with none of the fibre of fruit.
  • It’s normally not recommended to give low fat milk to babies under 2 years of age. However, if your baby is overweight before 2 years, your doctor may recommend using low fat milk.
  • Don’t give junk food or fried foods as part of your child’s normal diet. French fries (chips) should not be considered a vegetable!

The following video talks about how to protect your baby from Childhood Obesity. Insert link

Involve your toddler in preparing their meals e.g. homemade pizza, fruit salad, sandwiches.

Reduce distractions, for example turn off the TV and electronic devices.

Try to keep mealtimes regular and predictable.

Sit down together when eating, preferably at a table with the family.

Provide opportunities for your child to see other children and adults eating new or different foods.

Mealtimes can provide a time to be with your child and role model positive eating habits.

Offer new foods regularly, even if the child at first indicates they are not interested in the food.

Encourage your toddler to touch, smell and taste new foods (without any expectation of them swallowing it), taking time to enjoy the texture and become familiar with what they are eating.

Praise your child for positive mealtime behaviours like trying new foods, eating finger foods, trying a spoon, waiting their turn, for example “thank you for staying on your chair�?.

Expect some mess and use surfaces that are easily cleaned.

Respond to your toddlers cues, this may include signs that they are tired, hungry, wanting more food or that they have had enough.