You’re ready to introduce breakfast, but you’re wondering how. Or maybe you started with baby porridge and are wondering where to go from here. From 101 different types of branded baby porridge to a never-ending stream of breakfast recipes, it’s all a bit overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes the most straightforward ideas are the best. And the good news is that you’re probably already eating a version of the perfect baby breakfast yourself. There’s no better breakfast for your baby (or for you!) than the one you can share.
When should I introduce breakfast?
There’s no right or wrong answer, but most parents introduce breakfast after ‘vegetable first tastes’. So generally at about 6.5 months.
How to plan a balanced breakfast for your baby
I have a simple rule that I teach parents when it comes to planning ALL meals for babies and toddlers.
Choose one iron-rich food, add an energy food (usually a carbohydrate, healthy fat or dairy) and finish with a fruit or vegetable.
And if you follow this formula, you really can’t go wrong!
Here it is in practice to give you seven balanced Breakfast Ideas that you can easily share with your baby.
|Iron-rich food||Energy food||Fruit or vegetable|
|Monday||Ready Brek||Whole milk + peanut butter||Banana fingers|
|Tuesday||Ready Brek Muffin||Greek yoghurt||Raspberries cut in half|
|Wednesday||Sweet potato pancakes||Mashed banana with almond butter|
|Thursday||*Carrot cake porridge with chia seeds||Kiwi quartered|
|Friday||Spinach and tomato omelette fingers||Finger of wholemeal toast||Mashed pear|
|Saturday||Hard-boiled egg (finger food or mashed with Greek yoghurt)||Avocado cut into fingers or mashed|
|Sunday||Weetabix||Whole milk + chia seeds||Strawberries|
*Honey isn’t suitable for babies under one
Finger food or spoon-fed breakfast?
If your baby is over six months, then why not get the best of both worlds and offer both! Or maybe your baby has already decided for you by refusing the spoon.
Luckily, most you can adapt most foods to serve either from a spoon or as finger food. If your baby doesn’t like being spoon-fed, then try serving cereals like porridge or Ready Brek as muffins, porridge fingers and in pancakes. And if your baby doesn’t like eggs as finger food try adding mashed (or blitzed) hard-boiled egg to porridge or yoghurt. It’s easy to serve fruit mashed (try to move on from puréeing fruit as quickly as possible) or as finger food.
Porridge doesn’t need to be boring!
Parents often ask “ is it OK to serve my baby porridge or Ready Brek every day”. Of course! If you eat porridge every day, then it’s perfect for sharing with your baby every day. You’re not a personal chef to your baby, don’t be a martyr to it! And porridge every day needn’t be dull. Just by changing up the flavourings, toppings and finger food, you can offer your baby a new breakfast experience every day.
Seven Days of Porridge Baby Breakfast Ideas
The choice between using Ready Brek or porridge is yours. Just be aware that Ready Brek is fortified with iron while the porridge is an excellent way to push your baby on with lumpier textures. And it doesn’t need to be one over the over, why not mix and match them over the week. You’ll find advice on online about making your own Ready Brek by blending up regular oats. I don’t see the point in this. If you want to serve smooth porridge, then choose Ready Brek (or own-brand versions) and take advantage of the added iron!
Porridge + coconut + banana
Porridge +Greek yogurt +frozen berries
Porridge + peanut butter + strawberries
Porridge + almond butter +pear
Porridge + chia seeds + grated apple
Porridge + raisins + grated carrot + cinnamon
Porridge +nutmeg + mashed tinned mandarins
Serve the fruit either mashed into the porridge or as finger food on the side, or both!
Are other breakfast cereals suitable?
Weetabix is a wheat-based (and gluten-containing cereal) that’s iron-fortified and can be gradually introduced to your baby at any time. As your baby gets older and starts to develop their pincer grip, then you could offer cereals like low sugar Cheerios and bite-size shredded wheat. Although, unfortunately, neither of these are fortified with iron.
Can I use cows milk to make up porridge?
It’s OK to use whole cows milk in food at any time, but it’s not suitable as a drink until after 12 months. If you’re plant-based and would like to share your bowl of porridge with your baby, then that’s fine. Fortified oat milk, coconut milk or almond milk are OK to use (although they contain very little protein), but rice milk isn’t suitable for babies under five years of age.
What milk alternative can I use if my baby has CMPA (cows milk protein allergy)?
If your baby is allergic to cows milk, the best off-the-shelf alternative to use in food is fortified soya milk (if tolerated). If your baby needs to be cows milk and soya free, then choose fortified oat milk. And make sure to consult with a registered dietitian for personalised advice on managing a milk-free diet.
Baby breakfast ideas for egg-allergic babies
Eggs are a breakfast staple and so when you’re baby is allergic to eggs it’s hard not to feel like they’re missing out! My first baby had allergies to milk, egg and peanuts, so I feel your pain!
Which type of bread is best?
In the past, wholegrain products were discouraged for babies under two years of age. However, that advice has changed. It’s OK to offer your baby some wholemeal foods like wholemeal bread and wholemeal cereals like Weetabix. But that doesn’t mean that we want them to fill up exclusively with wholemeal varieties. Babies and young children have small tummies meaning they can fill up quite quickly. Therefore we want to make sure we offer them a balance of foods, some that are higher in fibre and some that are lower in fibre. Try to choose bread with the least amount of salt per 100g.
What about special ‘baby porridge’?
There’s no shortage of baby porridges to choose from. Most baby porridges are blends of oats (or sometimes other cereals like wheat, rice, rye) with milk powder and possibly some fruit concentrates for flavouring them.
Here are three reasons not to bother with baby porridge or cereals.
REASON 1: They’re expensive
REASON 2: They’re not necessary.
Ready Brek, Weetabix or most own-brand versions of these cereals are perfect for your baby. They contain no added sugar, salt and are fortified with iron just like baby porridges.
REASON 3: They can be high in sugar.
Many baby porridge products contain puréed fruit or fruit concentrates, both of which are considered ‘free sugars’. It’s far better to mash or grate fruit into porridge or to serve fruit as finger food alongside the porridge. Mashed, grated and chopped fruit contain less ‘free sugar’ than purée fruit.
I hope this helps you to introduce this important meal of the day in a stress-free and easy way! If you’d like more fuss-free, practical advice on weaning check out Ready, Steady, Wean