Mother and Baby

A GP And Nutritionist Answers Your Baby Food Questions

Missed our Wednesday Lunch Club with nutritionist Dr Sarah Brewer? Don’t worry, you can read all of the advice she shared here

Every week at Mother&Baby, we bring you the Wednesday Lunch Club – a chance to get brilliant advice for your fertility, pregnancy and parenting questions from a top expert.  

This week, nutritionist Dr Sarah Brewer was on board to give you advice.  

Dr Sarah Brewer is one of the UK’s leading medical nutritionists and is the author of over 60 self help books for the whole family. As well as being a licensed doctor, Sarah is also a nutritionist and a nutritional therapist and is currently supporting the launch of new immune boosting drink, Nuture.

If you missed the chat, here’s what happened…

I’ve heard that lots of high fibre foods aren't good for my 13-month-old baby to eat. Is this right?

Dr Sarah: All fruit, vegetables, beans and cereals contain different types of fibre, some soluble and some insoluble, but all types are important for digestion and many of us get too little – including infants.


However, too much fibre can lead to bloating and wind, but if your baby seems fine on the amount you are giving, I wouldn't worry unduly. If you increase the fibre content of your baby’s diet, do it slowly so the digestive system gets used to it, and ensure your baby stays well hydrated. Eating fibres without sufficient fluids can cause constipation rather than moving bowel contents through smoothly.

Would you give babies finger food with no teeth?

Dr Sarah: Absolutely! My eldest didn't develop a single tooth until 13 months – I started to fear he'd never have any, though it was a blessing for breastfeeding! Soft foods like avocado, peach and melon are easy to eat with gums, but harder foods like carrot sticks are also good as they help to massage the gums, especially when teething.

My baby loves self-feeding but rams the whole lot in and tries to swallow without much chewing. I break it into small piece but he struggles to hold smaller pieces. How can I encourage him not to shove it all in?

Dr Sarah: Could this be because he's really hungry? Perhaps a bottle before a meal might help slow him down a bit. Some babies are just fast eaters, but chewing is an important part of digestion, and bolting down food can lead to wind and indigestion.


My three-year-old son has started refusing to eat vegetables in the last few days. He used to be slightly picky but at least he would try different things. I've tried making dinner time exciting and offering different varieties and coloured veg. Any other ideas please?

Dr Sarah: Children often go through a picky time. Research shows that if you keep offering the same option they usually start eating it eventually, through it can take up to 16 occasions to reach this stage! Can you tell if he prefers soft textures like avocado or crisp ones like carrot sticks or apple slices?

My baby likes his food cold, even roast dinners! Is this common or likely due to teething?

Dr Sarah: It’s difficult to say. Your baby could just like the contrast to warm milk, but as long as he’s eating well I wouldn't worry. Just keep offering warm food, but cold food is just as nutritious.


My nine-month-old son’s really good at being spoon-fed but won't feed himself and won’t hold his own cup or bottle. Any advice?

Dr Sarah: One of my children liked having everything done for him, too. Keep offering him the spoon, cup and bottle and eventually he'll decide to try by himself. Children love messy play with food so feeding himself may be a good way to start if you don't mind food everywhere! Don't worry though, as long as he's eating well that's what's important.

Children love messy play with food so feeding himself may be a good way to start if you don't mind food everywhere!

What’s the best formula alternative to breast milk?

Dr Sarah: This is a difficult question to answer, as all formulas are designed to offer the right nutrients. Flavours and added extras vary. When weaning, you can still breastfeed, of course, but this isn't always easy or possible to keep up. Check the packs of follow-on milks and compare content and price.

I’m worried about my baby choking if I use baby-led weaning. I'm scared to let my daughter hold the food herself! How do I feel more confident with it?

Dr Sarah: As long as you're with her all the time she is unlikely to come to harm. You might feel more confident if someone sat with you for a few mealtimes and I can thoroughly recommend attending a first aid course, which will cover how to treat choking.


I know when weaning, milk is still a massive part of baby's diet, but how much purée should a baby start with and when should it be increased? How long should you wait to reduce the amount of milk?

Dr Sarah: Between the ages of six to nine months, once your baby easily accepts food from a spoon two or three times a day, she usually needs 500-600ml breast or formula milk per day plus weaning foods. 600mls is around 20oz, or three bottles so looks like she's on target! Do get her weight checked if you're concerned, but it's natural to cut back on milk once solids feature more in the diet.

It's natural to cut back on milk once solids feature more in the diet

My baby is 17 weeks old and lately she is hungrier than ever. She's already on 8oz every three hours at the moment and she does go about 10 hours through the night. My health visitor she said to try hungrier formula, which I did, but my baby would do the exact same still drink it all and want more after and just cry. She has water, too, throughout the day and will have a full 9oz bottle of water on top. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Dr Sarah: Some babies do seem more hungry than others, and it can be a worry to ensure they are getting enough without getting too much. Hungry baby formulas do work well, but be guided by how well your baby is gaining weight in relation to her length.

She could be on a growth spurt and needing extra food. Your HV or GP can plot her weight and length on growth charts to help guide you. The fact that she goes for 10 hours through the night (lucky you) means she needs more food during the day than a baby that gets fed during the night, too.


I've been weaning my six month old for a few weeks now. I’ve been making my own purees and he loves lunch and tea but for breakfast he has Aptamil porridge with homemade fruit puree and he never wants more than a few spoonfuls. Is there anything I can make myself to give him for breakfast? Or any other tips to help him have more breakfast? He has his bottle beforehand – anything from 4-7 oz of formula milk.

Dr Sarah: Sounds like you have everything under control. Having had a bottle beforehand, he probably isn't that hungry first thing. Perhaps cut back on the bottle a bit, or offer breakfast a bit later as more of a mid-morning snack? Most babies are quite good at regulating their intake so just be guided by him.

What topics would you like covered on the Wednesday Lunch Club? Let us know in the comments box below.


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