When my son was about to transition to solids I got in touch with Mirna Sabbagh, Nutritionist and Dietitian and IBCLC at myPediaclinic in Dubai Healthcare City. Mirna had previously assisted me with breastfeeding my son, so she was my natural go to person when it came to making sure that my nutritional knowledge was up to date for weaning my boy.
Mirna has created a monthly nutrition plan for children starting with 6 months of age that ensures the child develops a positive relationship with food while getting all his nutrient needs in order to avoid deficiencies, obesity, diabetes, and food disorders. She focuses on a behavioral approach with older children and adults for cases such as preventing obesity, picky eating, diabetes management, weight loss, cardiovascular diseases, kidney problems and more.
Below is a summary of nutrition guidelines for children 6-12 months by Mirna Sabbagh – Licensed Dietician and IBCLC.
An overall healthy diet for a baby 6-12 months
• Has enough calories to sustain energy levels and growth
• Is balanced in healthy carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats.
(Healthy carbohydrates: whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Healthy proteins: lean protein without saturated fats such as skinless chicken, healthy meats, fish. Healthy fats such as omega 3 and omega 6 found in oils and fish and nuts.)
• Has adequate fluids
• Make sure the child is having a variety of colors of vegetables such as green and orange to ensure Vit A and B intake
• Make sure to give a fruit a day (starting 8 months) to ensure Vit C and selenium, and phosphorus
• Have meats in small amounts 2-3 times a week, iron has utmost importance at this age. On days without meat, make sure to give legumes such as lentils or chickpeas
• Have fish atleast once a week preferably wild
Conscious household shopping should keep in mind
• Freshness of fruits and vegetables, pick seasonal when possible
• Low level of chemicals and processing, pick thin skinned fruits such as apples and strawberries organic
• Low levels of hormones and antibiotics, choose organic meats when possible or meats of European sources.
• Be aware of health claims that are made to trick consumers.
• Limit saturated fats and completely avoid added sugars.
Safety of foods
• Fruits and vegetables should be washed properly with vinegar and water
• Meats and chicken should be thawed properly and cooked thoroughly
• Meats and chicken should be handled carefully with gloves and proper hand washing to avoid food borne illnesses
• Cooked food should not be left outside the fridge for more than 2 hours
• Food should be cut in proper portions to avoid choking
Summary of tips of feeding babies between ages 6-12 months
• Setting should be comfortable, preferably during family meal times along with the parents
• Babies should be allowed to dictate amount but not type of food
• Baby will be able to eat alone foods that are very soft and can be mushed by fingers, at the end try to help them
• Meal time should be fun for the whole family with no added pressure if the toddler is messy or should not finish food portions.
• Children mimic parents and display similar food attitudes as parents.
• Babies often reject foods that they previously liked, and to display irrational behavior for a temporary period. During this period try to relax, this too shall pass.
• Start with small amounts and increase gradually. Give a 3 day rule to all new foods until the baby can eat all foods.
6 months to 7 months
Goal: Introduce a variety of new foods, vegetables and meat and chicken and fish so that baby can start family foods in a month.
• First 2 weeks: 1 meal.
Week 1: no meats
Week 2: start introducing meat
• Second 2 weeks: 2 meals
• Texture: Either puree or mash
7 months to 8 months
Goal: To introduce new breakfast, vegetable and grains
• First week: Introduce more vegetables.
• Second and third week: Introduce more adult like food for breakfast.
• 4th week: Introduction of whole grains
• Frequency: 2 times a day
8 months to 9 months
• Goal: Introduce a 3rd meal and all fruits
Try a new fruit for 3 days throughout the whole month including mango, kiwi, strawberry, blueberry.
9 months to 10 months
• Goal: Introduce more whole grains and legumes
• Introduce burghul, brown pasta, lentils, okra, white beans all 3 days at a time.
10 months to 11 months
Goal: Introduce dinner and make fruits a snack
11 months to 1 year
Goal: Add a snack to make 3 meals and 2 snacks
To make an appointment with Mirna please contact:
My Pedia Clinic FZ LLC
Phone Number: 04-4305926
Dubai Healthcare City, Al Razi Building,
No. 64, Block B, First Floor, Unit No. 1011