Feeding guidelines for children aged 0-1 year

feeding guide 0 to 1 year

 This is a brief overview only. For more information, refer to the Ministry of Health's background paper Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Infants and Toddlers (Aged 0-2).

Optimal nutrition is probably more important during this time of life than at any other time because of its effect on the infant's brain growth and development of the nervous system, their overall growth and development and future health.
Children aged 0-6 months
Until the infant is around 6 months old, breast milk or formula will supply all the nutrients they need. Breastfeeding provides ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants and toddlers. If the infant is not breastfed, an infant formula should be used until the baby is one year old.
Introducing complementary foods
When the infant is ready, appropriate complementary food should be introduced and breastfeeding continued. Developmental cues should be used to determine if the infant is ready to receive complementary foods. From 6 months old, energy and nutrient needs cannot be met by milk alone and the baby is developmentally ready for new tastes and textures.
Cues that the baby is ready for complementary foods:
• They hold their head up.
• Their mouth opens easily when the spoon touches their lips.
• They make chewing movements.
• They have any increasing demand for feeds.
• Their appetite is clearly not satisfied after finishing the milk feed.

Risks of introducing complementary foods before 4 months:
• Many mothers want to get their baby onto complementary foods as early as possible. Doing this before the baby is developmentally ready is not recommended for a variety of reasons:
• The baby's digestive system may not be physically ready to cope with solids.
• The baby may not have the chewing and swallowing skills needed.
• The baby may be overfed and gain too much weight.
• The protein and salt content of food may place stress on the kidneys.
• The baby's risk of developing food allergies, eczema, asthma, iron deficiency, respiratory disease and diarrhoea may be increased.

When introducing complementary foods:
Start with smooth textures then increase thickness of foods and add lumps.
Increase the variety of foods offered - the more new flavours you can introduce now, the less fussy children are likely to be later on.
Remember, new foods are rejected on average 12 times; keep trying!
Do not add salt, soy sauce, sugar, honey, cream, butter or margarine or artificial sweeteners to foods. Infants have more sensitive taste buds than adults and do not need added flavours.
Infants should be offered many of the foods that cause allergies early to prevent the development of an allergy (unless they already have an identified food allergy). The foods to introduce before 12 months include peanuts (smooth peanut butter), tree nuts, cooked egg, dairy, wheat products and fish.
Visit for more information.

Order for introducing complementary foods and progressing to family foods
The infant can hold up their head, is able to use their tongue to move food and shows signs of chewing movements (around 6 months of age)
Introduce new foods one at a time. Start with thin purées and gradually thicken consistency as tolerated; introduce new flavours.
Suggested foods:
• iron-fortified infant rice, followed by other age-appropriate infant cereals; rice, congee, cassava or tapioca or sago
• cooked and puréed apple, pear, apricot, peach, plum, melon, mango, pawpaw (all without skins, pips or seeds)
• mashed ripe banana and avocado
• cooked and puréed potato, kūmara, taro, pumpkin, carrot, kamokamo (marrow), parsnip, yam, courgette, green bean, broccoli, taro leaf, pele leaf, pūhā, silverbeet, spinach, cauliflower (all without skins, pips or seeds)
• cooked and puréed meat (for example, beef, lamb, pork or chicken)
• cooked and puréed beans, lentils, and legumes
• cooked and mashed egg
• age-appropriate commercial infant foods.

The infant can sit, is interested in finger foods and is learning to chew and bite; some teeth are present (around 7-8 months of age)
Serve some food as finger food.
Suggested foods:
• all types of food listed above
• cooked and puréed meat and chicken
• mashed vegetables and fruit (no need to purée)
• cow's milk, used in cooking
• cheese, yoghurt, cottage cheese, custard
• infant cereal
• well-cooked pasta and noodles
• bread, rēwena bread, steamed plain cake (mantou), steamed dumplings and buns, rusks, crackers, rice crackers
• age-appropriate commercial infant foods.

The infant is interested in an extended range of food and varied texture and in self-feeding, is able to use a feeding cup and eat independently with some assistance, has good chewing and biting and is able to chew lumps (around 8-12 months of age).
Offer an increasing variety of foods, presented in different sizes and textures. Discovering, handling and chewing food assists the development of social skills and promotes the pleasure of eating.
Suggested foods:
• all types of foods listed above
• kai moana (seafood, shellfish and seaweed) for example, fish, kina, pipi, kōura (crayfish) pūpū (periwinkles), parengo (seaweed), pāua, eel
• soy foods, such as soy milk in cooking, tofu, tempeh, soy yoghurt, soy custard
• green peas, cabbage, creamed corn and tomatoes (raw or cooked)
• salad vegetables
• orange, kiwifruit, pineapple, berry fruit
• breakfast cereals for example porridge, wheat biscuits, infant muesli
• peanut butter (smooth)
• age-appropriate commercial foods

The infant is using a spoon with varied degree of success, is now able to eat family foods chopped up, including meat, and enjoys many flavours and textures (1 years of age or older)
Continue breastfeeding and introduce cow's milk to drink instead of formula.
Suggested foods:
• all foods listed above
• wholegrain breads
• plain, pasteurised whole milk, soy milks with calcium



Food safety advice for feeding infants and toddlers

hand washing

  • Always thoroughly wash and dry your hands with soap and water before cleaning and sterilising bottles and feeding equipment.
  • Make sure the area used to clean and sterilise your baby's bottle and feeding equipment is clean.
  • Sterilise all bottles, teats and equipment for infants up to the age of 3 months. Boil bottles and teats or use an appropriate sterilising solution and follow the manufacturer's directions for use.
  • Equipment can be sterilised with sterilising solutions, boiling water or a steam sterilising unit designed for use in a microwave. A dishwasher will not sterilise equipment. If sterilising in boiling water, the equipment should be thoroughly washed in soapy water after each use and then submerged in boiling water for five minutes.
  • Wash hands and use a clean towel before preparing an infant's food or feeding an infant.
  • Wash all babies' utensils in hot soapy water, rinse well in hot water and dry with a clean tea towel or in a dishwasher.
  • Only take out of the refrigerator or freezer sufficient food to feed the infant at one feed time.
  • Avoid leaving any infant food sitting at room temperature for any length of time.
  • Throw out any food the infant has not eaten at the end of the meal. It may be harmful to the infant to reuse food where there has been an opportunity for harmful bacteria to grow on the food.
  • Most commercial infant foods and home-prepared infant foods can be kept in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 48hrs. Read and follow any instructions on the packaging.

Immunity boosting lunch ideas for your children

tip immunity

Winter is a great time to boost your child’s immunity. Along with practicing proper hygiene, eating well is important for protecting your children from germs and sickness.

The most important nutrients for your immune system are zinc, iron, and vitamins A, C, E and B. The best way to get these nutrients is through foods and a balanced diet that offers a variety of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that collectively meet your child’s needs.

Egg, lean meat, beans and seafood are important sources of iron and zinc.
Fill your child’s sandwich with boiled egg, shredded chicken, roast beef, tinned fish or baked beans (you can pack fish or beans separately so that they don’t make the bread soggy).
Some dishes commonly available in the school lunch order menu are good choices too, such as spaghetti bolognese, chicken and vegetables on rice/noodles, beef lasagne, bean salad, or baked beans and cheese toastie.

Vegetables and fruits are good sources of beta-carotene (vitamin A) and C.
Kiwifruit and citrus fruits are rich sources of vitamin C. Because they are in season during winter, these fruits will be cheaper too. Remember to include a piece of these fruit in your child’s lunch box.
Vege up your family meals. For example, grating extra vegetables into meatballs or spaghetti bolognese, adding pumpkin or kumara to mashed potato, using avocado as a spread on toast or including a side of raw vegetables if that is what your child prefers.
Include vegetables as a snack in lunch boxes by cutting them into manageable pieces, e.g. carrot, cucumber or celery sticks, or adding them to a sandwich filing or mixing them in cooked dishes, such as pasta, rice and noodles.

The nutritional goodness in nuts helps support the immune system.
Make nuts your snack for vitamin E and zinc if there are no allergies.
Sprinkle chopped nuts and seeds on your salads and porridge/muesli too.
Remember unsalted and unroasted varieties are best.
Include avocado in your sandwich either as a spread or filling.
If you are a sushi fan, avocado and salmon sushi is a good choice.

B vitamins can not only help the body fight off bacteria and viruses, but they can also help your immune system fight back when your child is unwell.

Aim to include whole grains every day, for example choose wholegrain bread for sandwiches, and whole grain crackers or cereals for snacks.