Baby Food Choices: Your Basic Feeding Guide for the First Year

Baby Food Choices: Your Basic Feeding Guide for the First Year

As a new parent, the birth of your child presents many challenges. For one, after nights of peaceful and uninterrupted sleep, your little one may suddenly start waking up and crying in the middle of the night. This starts a new, difficult chapter for many parents—figuring out how to put their babies back to sleep.

However, most parents are not aware that nutrition can affect the amount and quality of sleep your baby might get. In fact, giving the right food choices for your infant is extremely important in his or her development and growth. This will eventually help your little one sleep through the night.

And while there’s no one-size-fits-all guide on feeding your baby, simply understanding what he or she is going through can greatly help you in making the appropriate food choices. In this infographic, Nurture Parenting breaks down each stage in your baby’s first year and shows which food choices to give or avoid.

An Age-by-Age Feeding Guide on Baby Food Choices

0-4 Months

On the day your baby was born, his or her stomach is only as large as a marble. In order to seek nourishment, he or she may latch on your breast.

  • What to Feed

These two food choices are already filled with all the necessary nutrients your baby needs.

  1. Breast milk
  2. Formula
  • How Much Per Day

To aid in your baby’s development and growth, you may need to feed him or her about 7-9 times per day. Do keep in mind that there’s no fixed number of feedings required daily—it’s best to feed your little one on demand.

  • Foods to Avoid

Your baby’s digestive system is not physically developed enough to handle the following food choices.

  1. Solid food
  2. Cow’s milk
  3. Juice

Did You Know? Introducing solid foods early in your child’s birth may result in poor feeding experiences and increased weight during infancy and early childhood.

  • Essential Tips
  1. New babies under 6 weeks may feed 2-4 hourly especially during a growth spurt and overnight. It is not necessary to wake your baby to feed during the night and most babies need 1-2 night feeds at this age.
  2. As your baby grows, he or she may need to take in more milk or formula. This is also the time when a predictable feeding pattern starts to show.
  3. If your infant is still hungry after feeding, he or she may be experiencing a growth spurt. Follow such hunger cues and continue feeding your little one.

4-6 Months

There is no need to introduce solid foods yet at this early age. However, if your baby can hold his or her head up or weighs at least 13 pounds (6 kilos), you may want to begin feeding your little one with soft foods.

  • What to Feed

By the time your baby turns 6 months old, his or her natural supply of iron and vitamins may have already been depleted. That’s why it’s best to introduce foods filled with these nutrients. 

  1. Breast milk
  2. Formula
  3. Semi-liquid, iron-fortified cereal e.g. porridge oats, quinoa flakes made with baby’s usual milk or full cream cows milk
  4. Pureed fruit (apples, bananas, and peaches)
  5. Pureed vegetables (squash, sweet potatoes)
  • How Much Per Day

Mix a teaspoon of cereal with 4 to 5 teaspoons of breastmilk or formula. Its consistency should be the texture of custard or yoghurt.

For pureed food, start with a teaspoon then slowly increase its amount to a tablespoon.

  • Foods to Avoid
  1. Citrus
  2. Large chunks of food
  3. Honey
  4. Raw Egg
  5. Chilli and spices

Did You Know? Citrus fruits can irritate a baby’s stomach and cause severe rashes. This ultimately affects his or her sleep.

  • Essential Tips
  1. Introduce one new food at a time and give your infant time (at least 3-5 days) to adjust. This would help you figure out what specific foods cause allergic reactions.
  2. When preparing homemade baby foods, avoid adding sugar or salt as it may lead to obesity later in life and kidney problems.
  3. For pureed fruits and vegetables, make sure to remove all seeds or piths to avoid choking.

6-8 Months

Once your baby turns 6 months old, he or she may begin teething. This is the perfect time to introduce solid foods.

  • What to Feed
  1. Breast milk
  2. Formula
  3. Iron-fortified cereal (barley, oats)
  4. Pureed or strained fruit (apples, avocados, bananas, peaches, and pears)
  5. Pureed or strained vegetables (carrots, squash, sweet potatoes)
  6. Pureed legumes (black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils)
  7. Pureed meat (beef, chicken, pork and liver)
  8. Pureed tofu
  • How Much Per Day

For cereals, your baby can take in as much as 3 to 9 tablespoons in three feedings. But make sure to limit the intake of meat and legumes to a 1/3 of each meal.

  • Foods to Avoid
  1. Raw Egg
  2. Honey
  3. Whole Nuts
  • Essential Tips
  1. The amount of breast milk an infant takes decreases as his or her intake of solid foods increase. However, at this age, breast milk still remains an important source of nutrients.
  2. If you have just started with solid feeding, make sure to give your baby extra water at each meal in a cup.
  3. Feed all food (except formula) with a spoon. This would help your baby learn how to eat with a spoon.

8-10 Months

At 8 months old, your baby would start picking up objects with his or her hands. Your little one may also have the tendency to put everything inside his or her mouth. 

  • What to Feed
  1. Breast milk
  2. Formula
  3. Iron-fortified cereal (barley, oats, mixed cereals)
  4. Mashed fruits (apples, avocados, bananas, peaches, and pears)
  5. Mashed vegetables (carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes)
  6. Protein (diced or small chunks of meat, poultry, tofu, beans)
  7. Finger foods (puffs and dry cereal, scrambled egg bits, bread, teething biscuits)
  8. Pasteurised cheese, cottage cheese
  9. Lots of good fats in each meal – 50% of each meal should be good fats e.g. butter, olive oil, coconut oil, cheese, cream, peanut or almond nut butter, avocado etc.
  10. Introduce finger foods
  • How Much Per Day

Feed at least 1/2 to 1 cup each of solid food at each meal. For protein-rich foods, 3 to 4 tablespoons are recommended.

  • Foods to Avoid
  1. Hot dogs
  2. Honey
  3. Raw Egg

Did You Know? Honey should not be given to babies before they are 1 year old.  It can cause infant botulism.

  • Essential Tips
  1. Introduce a wide variety of foods into your baby’s diet. This helps them develop good eating habits later in life.
  2. Do not limit your baby’s cholesterol and fat intake. These are needed for brain development and growth.
  3. It is important to closely watch your infant while he or she is eating. Make it a habit to keep your baby seated while eating.

10-12 Months

As your baby turns 10 months old, he or she can swallow food easily. This is also the time when your infant starts using a spoon to feed himself or herself.

  • What to Feed
  1. Breast milk
  2. Formula
  3. Iron-fortified cereal (barley, oats, mixed cereals, wheat)
  4. Diced or sliced fruits and vegetables
  5. Protein (small chunks of meat, poultry, tofu, boneless fish, beans)
  6. Finger foods (puffs and dry cereal, scrambled egg bits, bread, teething biscuits)
  7. Pasteurised cheese, cottage cheese, unsweetened yogurt
  8. Combo foods (beans and broccoli, lasagna, casseroles)
  • How Much Per Day

Feed 1 to 1 ½ cup each of fruits and vegetables. Giving 4-5 tablespoons of protein-rich foods is necessary for your little one’s growth and development. Increase your baby’s intake of dairy to at least ½ cup a day.

  • Foods to Avoid
  1. Candies and chocolate
  2. Raisins
  3. Popcorn

Did You Know? Chocolate contains a significant amount of caffeine. As such, avoid feeding it to your baby in order to ensure proper sleep.

  • Essential Tips
  1. Avoid feeding your little one with canned foods. These contain high levels of salt and sugar that are harmful to his or her health.
  2. Do not force your child to eat all the food in his or her plate. It may lead to disturbances in appetite and result them to become pickier as they get older. 
  3. Help your baby give up the bottle by the time he or she turns 1 year old.

Your baby’s food choices not only affect the rate of his or her development, but also impact his or her sleeping habits. That is why it’s important to provide your little one with the appropriate food choices to ensure both proper growth and sleep.

Have you already fed your baby with these food choices, but he or she is still not sleeping peacefully at night? You may want to consult Nurture Parenting, the baby sleep experts in Sydney, Australia. For over 16 years, we have helped many families solve their problems through our Nurture Sleep Program. Through 7 easy lessons, we can take your baby from sleepless to slumber. Contact us today to get started!

Found this infographic helpful? Check our blog for more informative articles about baby sleep.

Kind & Gentle Sleep Training Is So Important

Kind & Gentle Sleep Training Is So Important

In exchange for a free phone consult, I asked Gina, my other half’s niece, to write me a blog about her experience. Here it is and I think it will help many other mums get help and know they are not alone.

Blog from Gina

I am lucky enough to know Karen and have been given some wonderful advice by her since our daughter (who just turned 1) joined our family. Karen is someone who I have full faith in because I know she is very qualified in this field, understands babies and most importantly she is KIND and loves babies!  To say Karen knows her stuff about baby development and sleep is an understatement.

Waking a lot at night

Last year we brought home a newborn who slept well and from early on was doing long stints of sleep. When our daughter started and kept waking up 4+ times per night at around 4.5 months old, Karen was the person I called as I thought it wasn’t the best idea to just keep feeding her all those times and hope for the best.
I did not want to be at either end of the spectrum – leaving my baby to cry or feeding to sleep every single time, which would not have been sustainable for anyone.
In that call Karen did me a big favour- she gave me permission to not feed my baby every single time she woke overnight (without making me feel like a horrible mother!). Some feeds were ok as she was still a young baby, but some feeds went.

Needs and Appetites of a 4 Month Baby

Karen explained the needs and appetite of babies and how too many overnight feeds can impact day time appetite and get us into a bit of a muddle (which we were in by that stage). With Karen’s tips, my husband and I were able to respond to nighttime wake-ups and be with our baby in a way that was gentle but also didn’t perpetuate a cycle of waking and feeding for months and months.

Introducing Solids

Karen also gave me tips on introducing solids and making the most of awake time – all extremely helpful and valuable information for new parents. The nighttime waking reduced and we now have a very happy one year old who sleeps brilliantly day and night.
Simply put, Karen is the best … she is knowledgeable, balanced and measured in her advice and most of all kind (to parents and babies) in her approach which is really what you want.
Thank you Karen for everything you do  x
Read more here about introducing solid food.
And my new online Nurture Sleep Program.

It will stop the guesswork and give you:
a tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep) ✅
Evidence based ✅
Gentle baby sleep methods ✅
Holistic assessment ✅
Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep ✅
Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos ✅
Prevention for under 4 months ✅ so no need to do sleep training ever ✅
And all at a low $97 for a very limited time ✅
Can you tell Karen is getting rather excited for all you parents who need a good nights sleep and one that happens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and not just in a blue moon 🌑 .

CLICK on the link below to find out how my new online program can help you and your baby

Nurture Sleep Program


Not Once but Twice

Not Once but Twice

When you’ve helped a family not just once but twice now to get a good night’s sleep it definitely needs sharing.

“Hello lovely Karen,

I’ve been holding out emailing you a progress and finally I have great success I wanted to share.

I am not surprised that William has adjusted so quickly and he’s even more deliciously adorable than ever. I think he’s loving the tweaked routine as much as mum & dad are.

Since our call last Sunday will has now slept through the night 4 times, and requires less and less time from us to resettle himself if he does wake. The last 2 nights he had slept from 6.45pm – 6.45am (I literally have to wake him).

He even had a big upper tooth pop through in the last week and we didn’t even realise

I’ve also seen an improvement in his lunch sleep – with more 2hr sleeps from him.

I’ve definitely taken your advise on clothing and am rugging him up more overnight which I definitely think has helped as well as re-thinking his diet.

I feel really confident now that I’m doing the right thing and he certainly seems sprightlier and happier in himself.

You are amazing!

I’ll keep you updated once we make it through the 4 week stage.



This is mum’s testimonial on my Facebook Page.

We’ve first used Karen with our 1st baby when she was 8 months, and just recently I contacted her again for my 2nd bub who is now 8 months.

I am not surprised that we’ve seen immediate results and after 4 nights we are now getting continuous sleep through the entire night from our 8 month old! We are all much sprightlier and happier than ever before.

Karen has given me the confidence and tools to understand my children’s needs for sleep and nutrition. Both my kids are now amazing sleepers and I credit this to Karen.

What is involved in my sleep methods?

Superfine merino sleepwear is better for baby than cotton

Sleep training has changed this mums life!

Sleep training has changed this mums life!

Levi 8 months old

I have been meaning to write you to let you know the progress of Levi. I still recall that first meeting when you said to me that I will enjoy my baby so much more after sleep training and since seeing you and following the sleep training, it has changed our lives. He is so much happier, not as cranky, increased appetite and naps are improving.
The morning naps we can pretty much walk away and he self-settles immediately. It brings me so much joy seeing him eat, while we are still working on getting him to be more adventurous with food and lumpier food, he pretty much eats all 3 meals a day now! Oh, and dessert has been a huge hit. This is from a kid who hardly ate and always refused his bottle, it has been the biggest change for the better and certainly reduced our stress levels a lot. And not to mention, I am finally sleeping consecutive hours!!!!!!!
Karen, thank you so much for your help. I am so grateful we saw you and we will continue to work with Levi as he settles more. It really has changed our dynamics and I am enjoying him so much more. And more importantly, he seems to be much happier. I think the last thing for us is really the morning where he still wakes at 5 am demanding a bottle.
Wishing you all the best with your book release and your business. You are amazing Karen, I can only imagine how many families you help and change their lives too.
All the best
A very happy and sleeping mum X
I kept telling myself that his sleep would improve

I kept telling myself that his sleep would improve

Case study

I just had to share this amazing case study of a family with a 14 month old toddler, Christian who was waking many times at night. Mum was so exhausted she’d lost her confidence and was co-sleeping and breastfeeding to sleep. Mum kept telling herself that his sleep would improve. Unfortunately it rarely if ever does unless you do something about it. Here is their story.

Kirste, Alan & Christian

When we first welcomed our beautiful boy Christian into the world, we naively thought that when you put a baby down to sleep, they simply just slept.  We also thought that as he got older, his sleeps would become longer.  Although I had read a little bit about babies’ sleep cycles, as first-time parents, we were definitely in the dark in relation to sleep.

In the first 6 months of Christian’s life, I probably took the term “demand feeding” literally and this was impacted further as we were living in an apartment at the time, so whenever he woke at night, I would feed him back to sleep.

Short day naps

As the months rolled on, I kept telling myself that his sleep would improve when we moved him to solids or when we moved him into a cot or into his own room or out of the apartment and into our house.  However, with these transitions, the frequent night wakings and short naps throughout the day continued.

By the time Christian was 12 months old, we had been to a residential sleep program, had a sleep nurse visit our home, conducted an overnight sleep study in hospital and purchased countless toys, CD’s and booklets from the internet.

Waking 6-8 times at night

At 14 months of age, the night wakings had escalated and were as many as 6-8 times each night and I was so exhausted that I had started to bring him into our bed to co-sleep and breastfeed.

toddler sleepI had lost a lot of confidence in this aspect of my parenting and I really didn’t know how I was going to turn this around, but a chance catch-up with friends, resulted in a referral to Karen.  They had brought Karen into their home some years before when their son was 2 years old as they were experiencing similar problems.  Upon contacting Karen, the decision to bring her into our home was further reinforced by a recommendation from Lisa, Nurture Parenting’s Client Relationship Manager who had also utilised Karen’s expertise.  I was convinced even further when I sent through a list of questions and Karen took the time to phone me personally and to answer every question in detail.


Learning skills and self-soothing

Karen is an angel and we will be forever grateful to her for teaching all of us the skills to ensure Christian sleeps through the night and has longer day naps. This is a key point – you will learn skills and your child will learn how to settle. This is especially important because when your child is sick and you divert from the sleep training methods, then you need to be able to get things back on track when your child is well again.

Karen’s philosophy blended perfectly with ours in that we did not want any form of controlled crying and we wanted to maintain the bond and trust we had built with our Son and to improve his sleep in the kindest and most respectful way.  Karen did just that – she is firm but very kind.

Overnight stay

Karen stayed for one night at our house and our world changed on the second night when Christian slept for 10.5 hours straight, without waking.  Christian continued to sleep through every night.  Even when we came across fevers and ear infections, and I diverted slightly from the sleep training methods, I was able to get him back on track within a week of him being well again.

Karen has also provided advice to us on weaning from the breast and toddler behaviour when she didn’t have to, but she kindly took the time to do so.  She has an abundance of knowledge, insight and expertise in sleep but also in all areas that relate to babies and toddlers.  She is highly qualified and experienced and she is honestly the only person I would recommend.  If you are hesitating or thinking about using Karen, stop thinking and call her as it will be the best investment you will ever make and she will change your lives for the better.

We can’t thank you enough Karen!

Kirste, Alan and Christian xxx

baby sleeping





Toddler Sleep Training

Belle is 3 years old and bedtime had become a battleground. This family had been told to let Belle cry herself to sleep alone. They were looking for a kinder alternative and found it in Karen. Watch this video to see more. If you want to learn more how Nuture Parenting can help you go to:

Posted by Nurture Parenting on Sunday, March 12, 2017

What is involved in my sleep methods?

Baby boys and sleep problems

Superfine merino sleepwear is better for baby than cotton


Are you looking for the same baby sleep support that Charmaine got with Angus above?

You can access my 3 decades of experience as a registered midwife and child and family health nurse via the Nurture Sleep Program. You can take your baby from sleepless to slumber in up to 7 easy lessons across 3 age groups once you join.

🍌 FOODS that promote baby sleep
ROUTINE: easy, flexible, sleep-ready
💡 ENVIRONMENT: getting it right
👶🏽 DEVELOPMENT: changes, how these affect sleep
😴 SLEEP METHODS: secret tips that will change your life

It will stop the guesswork and give you:
A tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep)
Gentle baby sleep methods
Holistic assessment
Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep-inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep
Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos
Prevention for under 4 months so no need to do sleep training ever
And all at a low $97 for a very limited time

Nurture Sleep Program

Terrible Toddler sleep – Eli’s story about her son Brendan

Terrible Toddler sleep – Eli’s story about her son Brendan

Sleep Success with my son Brendan 16mths – 2.5 yrs old.

My son Brendan has always been a terrible sleeper. From the day we brought him home from the hospital we did what many new mums do with a first born baby, we rocked him to sleep, feed him to sleep, sang songs whilst rocking and swaying him to sleep, co-sleeping with him many nights cos we were too tired. This led to him being a terrible sleeper. He woke so many times a night for the first few months (4+ times) and each time I breastfed him back to sleep. We tried to get into Tresillian but the wait list was 4 months away. The sleepless nights went on for a long time…

At 12 months of age, we had enough of the sleepless nights as my husband and I were both working now so found a sleep consultant for some advise. She was highly trained, worked at Tresillian and Karitane. She told us we needed to put him in his own room because up till now he was in our bedroom, and no milk bottle at night. She advised we pat him on the bum and sing loudly over his cries till he fell asleep. We tried this for several weeks but not much changed.

The sleepless nights continued

… now he was about 15 months and the separation anxiety had kicked in. We needed to rock him to sleep each night, or he would jump and down in his cot. He was still waking up between 2-3 times each night and many nights we gave him water now instead of milk.

Now I was several months pregnant with my second child and the first trimester I already caught 2 colds and 2 rounds of gastritis probably due to my lack of sleep. and I could no long rock my toddler to sleep or hold him till he fell asleep, so I was desperate to get help again. We sought out another sleep consultant over the phone and she advised we walk in and out of the room every few minutes till he learnt to fall asleep on is own and it could take up to 2 weeks. We tried this method also and he was still waking at night. We just about gave up and thought we have a lost cause.

Then we heard about Karen from Nurture Parenting. We were referred by many mothers on Facebook and several of my clients had used her as they heard me complain about no sleep and saw how tired I was. Being pregnant, no sleep and working I was losing my mind.

We were sceptical of yet another sleep consultant

…especially my husband as he thought none of these methods work. But I knew Karen was different, she was holistic in her approach and I’m a holistic health practitioner myself. She looks at all different issues together regarding sleep; diet, clothing, room environment, behaviour. We were advised to give my now 16-month-old foods high in fat and tryptophan to help sleep, make sure he was dressed warmly at night, dark room and most importantly be consistent in the sleep training and she promised he would be sleeping through the night by end of the week. By now he had probably slept through the night maybe a few times since birth!

She taught us the Magic Presence method. The first night we did this he took just under an hour of crying before he fell asleep and woke several times but he managed to self-settle himself and slept through the night, the second night was much less crying maybe around 20 minutes, he woke few times but we also managed to resettle himself. One week later he was sleeping through without us needing to go into his room at night. We felt human again and I was finally getting some much-needed sleep before baby no 2 arrived.

Brendan was the perfect sleeper

…until the night his baby sister came home from the hospital! He was now 22 months old and had slept perfectly for the last 6 months after Karen’s sleep training. By now he was also scaling the cot and could jump out, so we decided to move him from the cot to a bed. We decided to put a mattress on his floor. Now Brendan’s sleep was starting to become undone again. He was getting fussy to put down due to his newfound freedom in the room, he was dealing with a new sibling, mummy didn’t have time for him as much and he was starting to act out. We sat in his room until he fell asleep but he would muck around for up to 1 hour before bedtime and started waking up several times a night again sometimes awake for up to 2.5hrs. After calling Karen again, she told us we needed to put a security gate on his room door so he couldn’t open his door. This led to much banging in the middle of the night and waking up his poor sister many times and many nights. Each time he woke at night we rushed into his room straight away and daddy would pick him up, give him a cuddle, give him a sip of water and put him back to sleep on the mattress. Sometimes he would go back to sleep easily sometimes he would throw tantrums that lasted 1-2 hours. Most nights he woke between 2-4 times. This went on for many months, we thought that it was just a phase and he would eventually go back to the great sleeper we knew he was.

Now I was getting desperate again, with a newborn and feeding and my toddler waking up 2-5 times I barely got any sleep at night. So now we had to enlist Karen’s help again. She advised we needed to show Brendan some tough love to get him sleeping through the night again. She recommended another approach which is in the NEW ONLINE TODDLER SLEEP PROGRAM.

By night 5 he was sleeping through again. He slept through for the next 5 nights and we also didn’t need to sit inside his room for up to an hour each night.

We can’t thank Karen enough for her help both times with Brendan’s sleep. Her techniques worked successfully both times and we feel human again. My husband and I are her biggest fans and we have our sleeping toddler back again! May the good sleep continue…

And if you’re battling with getting your little one to sleep then… You need to know about my NEWLY launched online #nurturesleepprogram 💤😴
It will stop the guesswork and give you:
a tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep) ✅
Evidence-based ✅
Gentle baby sleep methods ✅
Holistic assessment ✅
Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep-inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep ✅
Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos ✅
Prevention for under 4 months ✅ so no need to do sleep training ever ✅
And all at a low $97 for a very limited time ✅
Can you tell Karen is getting rather excited for all you parents who need a good nights sleep and one that happens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and not just in a blue moon 🌑

CLICK on the link below to find out how my new online program can help you and your baby.