Nutrition for babies

First 3 Months

Benefits of breast milk

Nutritionally complete, breast milk is the only food a baby needs until around six months. It can also help create a special bond between you and your baby.

Find out more at: Ministry of Health.

Nutrition and the Immune System

Breast milk delivers important antibodies that build your baby’s immune system.

Breastmilk is the only food a baby needs until around 6 months.

Gut micro flora during breast feeding

Nutrition and the Immune System

Gut micro flora helps to develop and strengthen your child's immune system.

Breast feeding helps establish and improve the newborn's gut micro flora.

A key benefit of breast feeding is that it helps establish and improve your baby’s gut micro flora.

Find out more at: Ministry of Health

Iodine when breast feeding

By consuming enough iodine when breast feeding, you can help support the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system.

150µg is recommended daily when breast feeding

Consuming iodine while breastfeeding helps the development a baby's brain and nervous system.
Iodine helps the development of a baby's nervous system.

Folic acid when breast feeding

Folic acid helps a baby's normal growth and development.

It’s important that you get enough folic acid when you’re breast feeding, as this supports your baby’s normal growth and development.

500µg per day

3-6 Months

Vitamin D for newborns

Vitamin D is important for normal bone structure and if you're breastfeeding. If you're concerned about your vitamin D level, please consult your healthcare professional.

5µg/200IU with an upper limit of 3200IU/80ug

Vitamin D may reduce a child's risk of developing allergy.

Introduction of solids

Nutrition and the Immune System

Many experts believe that introducing your baby to all sorts of solid foods can help support your child's developing immune system.

Introducing solids at around six months is currently recommended in Australia.

In New Zealand it's currently recommended that solids are introduced at around six months old. This is necessary to meet your child's nutritional and developmental needs. A wide variety of food - with an appropriate range of texture and consistency - should be introduced so that, by 12 months, your child is consuming the same food as the rest of the family.

Find out more at: Ministry of Health

Iron-rich first foods

First foods should be iron-rich to replace your baby’s iron stores. This can help your baby to form blood cells and transports oxygen around their body. Examples of iron-rich foods are pureed meats, poultry and fish, and iron-enriched infant cereals.

A baby between 6-24 months needs a higher iron intake than a grown man due to rapid brain growth.

9mg per day

Pured meats, poultry and fish are examples of iron-enriched foods.

6-12 Months

Introduction of Nuts

Nuts should not be given to a child under three years.

Nuts can be a choking hazard for small children due to their size and consistency. As such, they shouldn’t be given to children under three. However, you can offer nut pastes and nut spreads from around six months.

Find out more at: Ministry of Health

Cows' milk - safe usage

While you shouldn’t give your baby cows’ milk before the age of one, it can be used as an ingredient in cooked foods. Until your baby’s first birthday, use breast milk, a scientifically formulated breast milk substitute (infant or follow-on formula), or boiled water in their cereal.

Cow's milk should not be given to a baby under the age of one year.

Breast milk while introducing solids

Introducing solids and breast milk.

Solid food will not fulfil your child’s full nutritional needs, so you’ll need to continue breast feeding or using a scientifically formulated breast milk substitute (infant or follow-on formula) in this phase.

Continuation of breast feeding at this stage will support the progression of your child's immune system.

Introduction of water

If required, at six months of age you can start giving your baby cooled, boiled tap water.

An infant can be given cooled, boiled tap water at six months of age.

Vitamin C while introducing solids

Vitamin C can help an infant absorb iron from solid food.

Vitamin C can help your baby absorb iron* from food sources. Your child should be encouraged to eat fresh fruit to meet their daily vitamin C requirements. At this age, drinking fruit juice is not recommended.

* Non-haem iron (from plant sources) absorption is enhanced by the presence of vitamin C (Nutrition Guidelines NZ).

Nutrition and the Immune System

Vitamin C can be used as a booster for a child's immune system.