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Five things you probably don’t know about the growth and nutrition of your baby

1.            Babies lose weight after birth.

It is common for babies to lose up to ten percent of their birth weight in the first week of life. Babies often take the first 14days or 2weeks of life to regain the weight lost and return to their birth weight. If your baby has not returned to their birth weight by three weeks of age you should seek advice from a professional

 

2.            Babies grow quickly in their first year of life.

The general expected weight gains for babies in the first year of life are:

•              0 – 3 months: 150-250g / week

•              3 – 6 months: 100-150g / week

•              6 – 12 months: 70-90g / week

•              By about 4 – 6 months of age a baby’s weight will double their birth weight.

•              By about 12months of age a baby’s weight will have tripled their birth weight.

These are a general guide as some will grow faster and some slower. You may like to keep track of your baby’s growth with the charts in the ‘red book’ you get at the hospital after the baby’s birth. Talk through these with your GP, child health nurse, or dietitian if you have any questions.

 

3.            There is a ‘window of opportunity’ to introduce solids.

Preterm (born before 37 weeks) and Term babies start solids at different times. It is recommended to start solids with Preterm babies around 5 – 7 months actual age. However, for term babies it is recommended to start solids around 6 months of age.

 

4.            Babies will show ‘signs of readiness’ for introduction of solids.

In addition to your baby being an appropriate age to start solids they also need to be showing signs of readiness to start eating. Your baby should be able to:

•              Sit with support and hold their own head up

•              Show interest in people eating foods

•              Lean towards food when offered and open their mouth

•              Put toys/fingers into their mouth

•              Appear alert and ready for a new type of feeding

•              No longer have the extrusion reflex (tongue thrusting when spoon or food is put into mouth)

 

5.            You can help reduce your baby’s risk of developing food allergies.

There is no particular order of foods to start when introducing solids, it is just important to introduce a variety of solids starting with iron rich foods while continuing to breastfeed. Recent research recommends including foods containing allergens – egg, nuts, wheat, dairy and fish, to reduce the risk of developing a food allergy (Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy). Aim to introduce a new allergen food every 2-3 days, one food at a time. If tolerated, continue to offer newly introduced foods regularly as part of the diet. If your baby develops a reaction to a food, avoid that food and speak with your family doctor.

If this article has brought up questions for you or you would simply like to talk through your baby’s growth and nutrition needs with a dietitian, make an appointment to see one of Mater Health and Wellness’ specialist dietitians. Phone Health and Wellness on 07 3163 6000 for more information or to make an appointment.

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