Play is children's work. In the early days of play, babies develop their gross motor skills (big muscle movements) by rolling and playing on their tummies. Balance and co-ordination are practiced by swinging out at toys and learning to sit. As they grow older, fine motor skills (use of fingers) develop by grabbing hold of smaller toys and trying to pick up blocks. All play revolves around the 5 senses of touch, smell, hearing, taste and sight. Providing babies and children with the opportunity to explore and play using all their senses enables the brain nerve pathways to connect.
Dr J. Fraser Mustard is a world leader in early childhood development. His research, and others, on brain development have shown the "importance to society of early childhood development in creating competent, productive and healthy populations for the future."
A beach ball is nice and light to hold
and nice and light to let go and throw
(but, don't tell superbaby!)
What foods to give
There is no particular order of introducing foods. The key is to provide a variety of tastes and textures appropriate to your infant’s developmental stage. Include a variety of vegetables, fruit, meats and fish. Start to add pasta, rice, couscous, lentils and oats to your baby's diet.
Important: Introduce one new food at a time over 3 days to observe for any signs of allergies and food intolerance.
Fully cooked egg yolk can also be trialled over 3 days.
"There is insufficient evidence to support previous advice to specifically delay or avoid potentially allergenic foods (such as egg, peanuts, nuts, wheat, cows' milk and fish) for the prevention of food allergy or eczema. This also applies to infants with siblings who already have allergies to these foods.” (Infant feeding advice, ASCIA, 2010).
(refer to The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) www.allergy.org.au/ for further information on allergies.)
If any signs of allergies or sensitivities such as vomiting; going pale; rashes around mouth and trunk; restlessness and cramps caused by stomach ache; itching; diarrhoea; swelling, especially around lips; breathing difficulties, e.g., snuffly and gasping breaths, medical attention should be sought and the food avoided until seen by a medical professional experienced in treating food allergies.
Suggested menu planner
Suggested menu planner
Ages listed for each texture are a guide and should be judged on baby’s individual developmental level.
It is important to keep increasing the texture as fussy eaters develop when the texture doesn’t change. The optimal time to introduce changing textures is between seven to nine months even if they have no teeth.
A gag reflex is a baby’s safety mechanism to avoid choking. When a new texture is introduced it is normal for your baby to show this reflex. It tells the baby that this is not nice and smooth to swallow and I need to chew this with my gums more before moving it to the back of the mouth to swallow. Continue to offer the next texture and they will get better with swallowing and the gagging will settle.
To prevent choking, always supervise your baby when eating and only offer foods when baby is sitting upright.