Complementary feeding for toddlers

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When can I start complementary feeding?

When breast milk is no longer enough to meet the nutritional needs of the infant, complementary foods should be added to the diet of the child and the transition from exclusive breastfeeding to family foods, referred to as complementary feeding.

Children from 6 to 18-24 months of age, and is a very vulnerable period. It is the time when malnutrition starts in many infants, contributing significantly to the high prevalence of malnutrition in children under five years of age world-wide. WHO estimates that 2 out of 5 children are stunted in low-income countries.

How frequent should my toddler be fed?

Complementary feeding should be timely, meaning that all infants should start receiving foods in addition to breast milk from 6 months onward. It should be adequate, meaning that the complementary foods should be given in amounts, frequency, consistency and using a variety of foods to cover the nutritional needs of the growing child while maintaining breastfeeding.

Some feeding recipes

Pureed vegetables

Ingredients

  • 1 small potato, peeled
  • 1 small piece pumpkin peeled
  • 1/2 cup carrot, grated
  • 1 small piece green leafy vegetable (broccoli, zucchini, lettuce)

Method

  • Chop all vegetables finely.
  • Using a steamer or saucepan, bring a small amount of water to the boil.
  • Add the vegetables, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook quickly until vegetables are soft.
  • Press vegetables through a strainer or puree in a blender or food processor.
  • Offer the new food at the beginning of feeding time when your baby is hungry. This will increase acceptance of new flavours.

Pureed fruit

Ingredients

  • Fresh apple
  • pear, peach
  • apricot
  • dried prunes (stones removed)

Method

  • If using fresh fruit: wash, peel, core and dice it.
  • If using dried fruit: wash and dice it, then soak it in just enough water to cover it for at least 15 minutes before cooking.
  • Place fresh fruit or soaked dried fruit and any remaining liquid in a saucepan.
  • Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the saucepan and cook quickly until fruit is soft.
  • Press pulp through a strainer or puree in a blender.

Pureed meat with sweet potato

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of lean meat (e.g. chicken, beef, veal, lamb), finely chopped or minced
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato, peeled and chopped

Method

  • Place meat and sweet potato in a saucepan with enough water to cover.
  • Simmer gently until tender and well cooked.
  • Press through a sieve or blend to a smooth consistency.

Rusks

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf unsliced wholemeal bread

Method

  • Cut about 4cm of crust from all sides of bread. Cut crusts into fingers.
  • Spread crusts over a baking tray and bake in a slow oven for about 1 hour until dry.
  • Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Use as required. Store for a maximum of 1 week.

Pureed steamed fish

Ingredients

  • 1 fillet of fish

Method

  • Place fish in a steamer or saucepan with a small amount of water.
  • Cover and steam until fish is well cooked.
  • Carefully remove all bones and skin and press through a strainer and puree in a blender.
  • The fish may be served with white sauce from 9 months.

Banana rice pudding

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup cooked rice
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) expressed breast milk, formula or full-cream milk (if over 12 months)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 banana, mashed

Method

  • Mix together the cooked rice, milk and banana.
  • Heat in a saucepan over low heat until milk is absorbed, stirring frequently. Stir in vanilla.
  • Cool and serve warm or cold.

Milk custard

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 250mL expressed breastmilk, infant formula or milk (if over 12 months)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon pureed fruit of choice

Method

  • Place cornflour and vanilla in a saucepan and mix to a smooth paste with a little breastmilk/formula/milk.
  • Stir in the remaining breastmilk/formula milk.
  • Slowly bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring continuously for about 10 to 15 minutes until thickened.
  • Remove from heat, stir and pour into bowl.
  • Cool slightly, then put in the fridge to set.
  • Serve with the pureed fruit.

Pureed chicken in white sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons flour or cornflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter or oil
  • 100mL breastmilk/formula/milk
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cooked chicken (no skin)

Method

  • Over a gentle heat, blend flour and butter/oil in a small saucepan until a paste is formed.
  • Add milk gradually and stir continuously so lumps don’t form.
  • Bring to the boil and keep stirring until a thick sauce forms.
  • Add chicken and press through a strainer or puree in a blender.

Scrambled egg

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 150mL breastmilk/formula/milk

Method

  • Whisk egg yolk and milk.
  • Pour mixture into a frypan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally with a fork.
  • When cooked, cool slightly and serve.

Baked egg custard

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 150mL breastmilk/formula/milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon pureed fruit

Method

  • Beat egg, milk and vanilla together.
  • Pour into an ovenproof dish (about the size of 1 cup/250mL). Stand in a baking dish containing enough water to come halfway up the side of the ovenproof dish.
  • Bake at 180°C for about 25 to 30 minutes or until set.
  • Serve warm or cold with pureed fruit.

Mince stew

Ingredients

  • 1/4 finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 diced carrot
  • 1/2 stick of finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup mince

Method

  • Sauté onion in a little vegetable oil.
  • When onion is soft, add in carrot and celery and stir.
  • When these vegetables have slightly softened, add in mince and brown thoroughly.
  • Add a little water if needed. This will also help break up the mince and form a sauce.

From Queensland Government

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