I’m wondering what a good diet is for a 10-month-old boy. He is wheat intolerant. He has a variety of fruit mixed with porridge for breakfast. Sweet potato, carrot and mango for lunch and mixture of veg for dinner. I have wheat-free pasta and couscous to try. I’m also not sure if I should introduce meat and if I am  giving him the right foods for a balanced healthy diet.

Jane responds

Without knowing more about your little one and his individual history I can only offer you general advice. However, it is unusual for a 10-month-old baby to have wheat intolerance. Have you had him medically assessed and has this been proven through investigations? It’s important to do this so that his diet isn’t restricted unnecessarily. It would be useful for you to check the ascia (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy) and to speak with your GP about a referral to a paediatric dietician for specialist advice.

Feeding a 10-month-old

At 10 months his diet needs to be close to matching the rest of the family. It does sound like he’s having plenty of fruit and vegetables but may not be getting the protein and iron he needs for optimum growth. Dietary iron is vital to support brain and overall development.

Although high in fibre, vitamins and minerals, fruits are also high in sugar which is rapidly absorbed and doesn’t satisfy hunger. The NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) and Nutrition Australia guidelines are very clear about the importance of infants receiving iron-rich foods to meet their growth requirements. The other important issue is texture. Babies need to be offered chewable, more textured foods at 10 months. Finger foods are ideal at this age and stage. Purees and soft foods don’t support chewing which in turn, supports speech development.

He does need meat at this age as well as other iron-rich foods. Eggs, red meat, fish, chicken, iron fortified cereals and green leafy vegetables are all good iron-rich sources. He also needs around three to four milk feeds a day, supplied either through breast or formula feeding.

A 10-month-old baby needs three main meals a day, ideally each has a protein and iron serve.   And two small snacks at around morning and afternoon tea time. If he’s still having milk feeds overnight there may be benefits in stopping these. Night feeding can impact on appetite through the day, which in turn can affect sleep and general routines.