Dietary requirements of infants

a feeding bottle full of milk

An infant's nutritional needs are unique and help to support the most rapid growth and development stage of their life. Until a baby is six months old, breastfeeding or infant formula should provide them with the nutrients they need to get the best start to life. After six months of age, breast or formula milk alone will no longer be enough to meet their nutritional and developmental requirements, and the introduction of solid foods should slowly begin.1

How can you make sure your infant meets their dietary requirements?

Breast milk or formula will continue to be a good source of nutrition until a child is at least 12 months of age but the introduction of different foods will also help to meet their daily requirements.1

Food tips for infants after six months of age:

  • Rice-based infant cereal is often the preferred food to start with. Ensure it's iron-enriched as a baby's iron stores begin to run low at around six months of age.2
  • Once infant cereal is well-tolerated you can begin introducing different vegetables and fruit, one at a time. Pureed or mashed potato, pumpkin, zucchini, carrot and stewed apple and pear are commonly offered first3 and are good sources of essential vitamins and minerals.
  • From around 7 months of age, meat and chicken can be introduced,3 as a good source of iron and other nutrients. Oat and wheat-based cereals, rice, pasta and toast may also be suitable.3 Try to introduce new foods every three of four days to avoid confusion and rule out sensitivities.1
  • From about eight months of age, small amounts of milk and dairy products can be offered as an important source of nutrients including vitamin A, calcium, zinc and protein.3 Try full-fat yoghurt, custard, or grated or melted cheese over toast, meat or vegetables.
  • Cooked egg can be introduced at around 10-11 months of age.3 Eggs contain high-quality protein, vitamin A, calcium, iron and B vitamins.3
  • Full fat milk as a drink is recommended at around 12 months of age and is an important source of energy, fat and some vitamins.3
  • Once your child is 12 months old, offer a range of different foods such as fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, dairy, meat, fish and eggs. Eating a wide range of foods provides a wide range of nutrients and helps your little ones form healthy eating habits from a young age.