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Important things to remember

Note: The information featured on this page is currently under review, and will be updated in due course. Please ensure that you speak with your health care professional about any queries you may have about the issues covered here.

  • Never force feed your baby.
  • Do not add solids to your baby’s bottle. To develop feeding skills properly, it is important for your baby to learn to take solid food separately from liquids.
  • Do not add salt to your baby’s food or to the water it is cooked in. There is enough salt naturally present in foods.
  • Do not give honey before one year as there is a small risk of tummy infection.
  • Do not add sugar to your baby’s food.
  • Do not add chilli to your baby’s food to start off with, but herbs, onion, garlic and spices are okay.
  • Give home-cooked foods as much as possible.
  • Giving meals variable in taste and, later, texture will help your child like lots of different foods. It also means that your baby gets a good balance of nutrients.
  • Babies do not need or necessarily prefer bland flavours.
  • If you would like to give your baby a vegetarian diet, please discuss this with your health visitor.
  • Vegan diets are not recommended for infants.
  • Whole nuts should not be given to children until the age of five because of the risk of choking.
  • If your baby becomes constipated, ask your health visitor for advice. Constipation is quite common in premature babies.
  • Eating together with friends or family is a great opportunity to have a special and enjoyable time. Watching others eat and joining in is an excellent way for your baby to learn about mealtimes.
  • Preterm babies are at no more risk of developing an allergy than term babies. If you are breastfeeding, the risk of developing an allergy-like condition called coeliac disease will be reduced if you introduce foods containing gluten before you stop breastfeeding. It is best to give foods containing gluten between five and seven months, for example those made with wheat (such as bread and pasta), oats, barley and rye.

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