Feeding the Baby in the First Year, Ministry of Health
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Feeding the Baby in the First Year

Guidelines for Infant Nutrition from Birth till Age One Year

 

From Birth until Half a Year

  • Breastfeeding is the natural way to provide nutrition, suited to the baby’s needs.
  • It is recommended to breastfeed without adding food or fluids until the age of half a year.
  • Mother’s milk usually fulfills the baby’s nutritional needs until the age of half a year.
    A baby who does not breastfeed or who partially breastfeeds should receive infant formula fortified with iron.
  • Carefully follow the rules for preparing infant formula, while adhering to hygiene and safety rules.
  • It is recommended to expose the baby to (supplementary) solid food from the age of 6 months. Exposure prior to the age of 4 months is not recommended.
  • Between the ages of 4 months and 6 months, the baby may be exposed to (supplementary) solid food, but only after showing signs of readiness (see below), and in tiny amounts.
 
 
Signs of Baby’s Readiness for Eating Solid FoodIs
  • Able to sit with support.
  • Head is steady.
  • Displays curiosity and willingness to eat when the food is brought close to his mouth.
  • Succeeds in moving food in his mouth from one side to the other.
  • Brings his hands and various objects up to his mouth.
 
 
Adding (Supplementary) Solid Food: When, How, What and How Much to Give?
  • During meals, the baby is gradually exposed to new food in parallel with being fed mother’s milk or infant formula.
  • Initially small amounts of food in a special infants’ teaspoon, gradually increased to a meal.
  • Texture of the food - pureed, mashed, without lumps.
  • The transition to a coarser texture is done gradually, in accordance with the baby’s ability to chew and swallow.
  • The foods given may be from the range of foods eaten by the family.
 
 

From Half a Year Onwards

  • It is recommended to continue breastfeeding.
  • Foods from the family’s menu should be added to fulfill the nutritional needs of the growing, developing baby.
  • It is important to select, as initial foods, foodstuffs that are rich in iron, e.g. beef, turkey and other meats, fish, legumes, “infant cereals” fortified with iron.
  • Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C should be included.
  • Eggs - can be commenced from the age of 6 months.
  • Dairy products such as: unsweetened cheeses, leben, yogurt can be an additional solid food for the baby, but in small amounts and as part of a meal.
  • Pasteurized 3% cow milk is given only after the age of one year (1% milk should not be given before the age of two years).
  • Fish - The Ministry of Health recommends that the entire population, including children, consume fish and diversify the types of fish in their diet. There is no need to limit the consumption of fish in the overall population in general and in children in particular, but rather to maintain a balanced and diverse diet (additional information and recommendations regarding the consumption of fish).‎ Be careful to remove small bones from the fish, or alternatively, finely puree the fish.
  • It is desirable to expose the baby to foods containing wheat flour before the age of seven months, preferably in combination with breastfeeding.
  • When approaching the age of one year, it is recommended to give two or three meals per day from the family’s menu in addition to breastfeeding/infant formula.
  • Honey should not be given prior to the age of one year.
 
 

General Guidelines

  • It is important to respect the baby’s preferences. He should not be forced to complete the meal and should not be force fed!
  • It is recommended to serve the baby the foods that the family eats, in accordance with family tradition and culture.
  • It is recommended to encourage eating together with the rest of the family around the table.
  • It is important to allow the baby to eat with his 10 (clean) fingers, a spoon, a cup and plate, and to avoid so far as possible the use of bottles.
  • It is important to curtail added salt or soup powder and to avoid excessive use of sodium-rich foods, such as salty snack foods.
  • It is recommended to limit the consumption of ready-to-eat processed foods.
 
 
Drinking
  • The baby does not need added water until the age of half a year, so long as his main food is mother’s milk or infant formula.
  • At the age of half a year, with the transition to varied meals, drinking water should be added. It is possible to accustom him to drink water from a cup from the outset.
  • Until the age of one year, all types of water should be boiled, including mineral water, bottled water, water in containers and tap water (do not use water from the hot water tap).
  • It is important to give water at room temperature.
  • It is recommended to avoid sugar-sweetened drinks, such as infant tea beverage, green tea, regular tea, fruit juices, juices and carbonated beverages. This is in order to reduce the chance for tooth decay and in order to not accustom the baby to sweet taste.
  • Because there is no information about the safety of herbal compounds, blends and infusions, their use with babies should be avoided.
  • Soy, rice milk and almond milk beverages are not recommended for babies and are not a substitute for breastfeeding or infant formula.
 
 

Beware!

  • Do not warm up food for babies in a microwave oven. The heating does not occur uniformly, and could cause burns in the baby’s mouth.
  • Avoid foods that could cause babies and toddlers to choke.
  • Hard fruits and vegetables - should be cut into small pieces, mashed, grated or pureed.
  • Round foods such as grapes and sausages - should be sliced into two along their length, and cut into small pieces.
  • Avoid giving nuts to children under the age of 5 years.

 

Dietary Supplements

  • Vitamin D from birth until the age of one year, to meet the baby’s requirements.
  • Iron from age 4 months until age 18 months, for the prevention of anemia.
  • Make sure to give the supplements daily.
לחץ לגרסת הדפסהPrint version
  
  
  
  

Publications (Hebrew)

 

 

  • To Eat and Grow - Nutritional Guide for Infants, Toddlers and Children in Educational Frameworks (Kindergartens, Day Care Centers, Afternoon Care Centers, Family Day Care) from the Age of 3 Months to the Age of 5 Years
  • Infant Health and Nutrition Survey - Interim Report- Survey of the Health and Nutrition Status of Infants and Toddlers in Israel