Early Life Nutrition

Your child’s first few years are filled with rapid growth and development. From the moment they’re conceived, right through to toddlerhood, your child will need the right balance of energy and nutrition to support these changes.

Due to this, early life nutrition plays such an important part in their young lives, supporting the ongoing development of their brain and immune systems, as well as impacting how their body reacts to foods or nutrients.

Beginning in the earliest days of pregnancy, optimal nutritional planning should continue through your child’s first few years. At each stage, Nutricia offers expertise, support and advice in early life nutrition to help support your child’s progress.

Please note: You should always check with your healthcare professional before relying on any information posted on this site.


0-3 months

Benefits of breast milk


Nutritionally complete, breast milk is the only food a baby needs until around six months. It can also help create a special bond between you and your baby.

Did you know?

Prolactin (the hormone that tells the breast to make milk) is highest at night, so feeding your baby at night is very important for your milk supply.

Deborah, Registered Nurse

Nutrition and the Immune System

Breast milk delivers important antibodies that build your baby's immune system.

Gut micro flora during breast feeding


A key benefit of breast feeding is that it helps establish and improve your baby’s gut micro flora.

Find out more at: American Society of Nutrition

Did you know?

Your breast milk is made as required to suit your baby and changes to match your baby’s needs as they grow.

Deborah, Registered Nurse

Nutrition and the Immune System

Gut micro flora helps to develop and strengthen your child's immune system.

Iodine when breast feeding


By consuming enough iodine when breast feeding, you can help support the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system.

270µg per day

Did you know?

Babies are completely dependent on milk as a source of iodine, and need around 90 to 100µg of iodine per day. Babies use this iodine to build their own reserves of thyroid hormones.

Christine, Registered Dietitian

Folic acid when breast feeding


It’s important that you get enough folic acid when you’re breast feeding, as this supports your baby’s normal growth and development.

500µg per day

Did you know?

In September 2009, it became a legal requirement in Australia that all bread-making flour, except organic flour, contain added folic acid.

Christine, Registered Dietitian

3-6 months

Vitamin D for newborns


Vitamin D is important for normal bone structure. Most breast fed infants receive enough vitamin D through breast milk & casual exposure to sunlight. However, if you are concerned about your child's vitamin D level, please consult your healthcare professional.

Did you know?

Safe exposure to sunlight and a vitamin D supplement, for mum, may help ensure your baby gets enough vitamin D.

Deborah, Registered Nurse

Introduction of solids


In Australia, it’s currently recommended that solids are introduced around six months, but not before four months. This is necessary to meet your child's nutritional and developmental needs. A wide variety of food - with an appropriate range of texture and consistency - should be introduced so that, by 12 months, your child is consuming a range of your family's food.

Find out more at: Better Health

Nutrition and the Immune System

Many experts believe that introducing your baby to all sorts of solid foods can help support your child's developing immune system.

Iron-rich first foods


First foods should be iron-enriched to replace your baby’s iron stores. This can help your baby to form blood, and to transport oxygen around their body. Examples of iron-enriched foods include iron-enriched infant cereals, as well as pureed meats, poultry & fish.

Did you know?

It’s believed that up to 5% of the Australian population is iron deficient.

Sue, Nutritionist

6-12 months

Introduction of Nuts


Nuts can be a choking hazard for small children due to their size and consistency. As such, they shouldn’t be given to children under three. However, you can offer nut pastes and nut spreads from around six months.

Find out more at: Australian Dietary Guidelines

Did you know?

The peanut is technically a legume.

Christine, Registered Dietitian

Cows' milk - safe usage


While you shouldn’t give your baby cows’ milk under one, it can be used as an ingredient in cooked foods. Until your baby’s first birthday, use breast milk or a scientifically formulated breast milk substitute (infant or follow-on formula) in their cereal.

Breast milk while introducing solids


Solid food will not fulfil your child’s full nutritional needs, so you’ll need to continue breast feeding or using a scientifically formulated breast milk substitute (infant or follow-on formula) in this phase.

Continuation of breast feeding at this stage will support the progression of your child's immune system.

Introduction of water


If required, at six months of age you can start giving your baby cooled, boiled tap water.

Did you know?

Most exclusively breast fed infants do not require additional fluids.

Deborah, Registered Nurse

Vitamin C while introducing solids


Vitamin C can help your baby to absorb iron from solid food. Your child should be encouraged to eat fruit to meet their daily requirements, although fruit juices and drinks are not recommended at this age.

Nutrition and the Immune System

Vitamin C can be used as a booster for a child's immune system.

AptaNutrition ® 2016