It’s no secret that the nutrition of children and adults also determines the state of health in general. Rational nutrition promotes health, resistance to harmful environmental factors, high physical and mental performance, as well as active longevity.
The basis of rational nutrition – is balanced, that is, the optimal ratio of components: protein, fat, carbohydrates, macro-and micronutrients. With such a diet, the baby’s body receives a variety of nutrients for normal growth and development.
Infants up to 6 months of age should be exclusively breastfed or artificially fed with an adapted mixture because breast milk is the ideal food for them during this period.
When do I start the introduction of complementary foods?
The child’s diet in the first year of life should expand gradually. Around the age of six months, the child’s mobility increases, leading to an increase in energy requirements. Mother’s milk or formula is no longer able to fully meet the natural needs of the body, so you should introduce complementary foods or those which your kid can consume other than breast milk or formula.
Generally, complementary foods are crucial in providing your little one with a healthy diet. These include options like fruits, meat, infant cereal, and other protein-abundant foods which are pureed, chopped, or strained. Modifying your child’s complementary foods depends on their development. For example, as they grow, you can vary the texture from pureed to chopped food pieces. Exposure to these food textures can help them transition into an adult diet without hassle.
But it’s important to know that the introduction of complementary foods should by no means replace breastfeeding or feeding with adapted baby formula, these are two parallel processes. From six months of age, children must necessarily start drinking water, if you have not done so before. Preferably, pour it in a glass so that the baby learns to recognize food and drink. I think it is not necessary to emphasize that children should not be given carbonated drinks, tea, and coffee.
Consequently, complementary foods should not start before 6 months of age and under the condition of food interest in the child. It is not worth introducing it earlier, because the baby’s digestive system, kidneys, and motor skills are still developing and before 6 months of age there is a higher risk of choking on food.
Introducing complementary foods at the recommended time promotes health and may play a role in preventing future overweight and obesity. You should not blindly adopt the experience of the older generation, because these recommendations may not be competent and outdated.
The world is not standing still, and today’s children are much more developed for their age than their parents were. So keep up with the times and be interested in current trends in children’s nutrition. Also, do not forget about the recommendations of pediatricians. This way, you won’t force your baby to eat certain complementary foods that can have a negative impact on them later on. For example, when your little one is subtly pressured to consume specific foods, it may result in picky eating behavior. Introducing various flavors and expanding their palate may become more complicated when this happens.
Thankfully, picky eating doesn’t have to last forever. It can only be a phase your child must go through for a specific period. In that case, you can take some steps to help manage their picky eating tendencies and allow them to explore different kinds of foods. For one, you can give your kid healthy snacks from Serenity Kids or other reputable food providers, perfectly created for picky eaters. This way, you can help improve their behavior toward certain foods.
What products can be introduced into baby food after 6 months?
Depending on the type of complementary food and the texture with which you decide to start (purée or chunks), foods can be cooked in water and blended with mashed potato or served in chunks according to safe serving rules (small pieces so that the child does not choke). Multiple foods should not be mixed into the purée at the same time. Introduce each one separately so that the child learns to distinguish the flavors.
For the beginning of complementary feeding well suit boiled or stewed vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkin, and zucchini. Fruits and berries can be given raw or puréed. Well tolerated banana, nectarines, blueberries, apples, and pears.
By the way, the latter can be baked – it only improves their taste. When you are going for a walk with your baby, especially in the summer, it is worth taking the well-stored baby food pouches snacks with you, and they are very convenient to use.
Be sure to have protein products in your baby’s diet. Meat should be lean: turkey, quail, rabbit, veal, chicken. For by-products, rabbit liver should be chosen. Fish and seafood should wait until the age of 1 year. Among the dairy products, you can choose kefir, cottage cheese, and yogurt.
And how without oatmeal or legumes. A good choice is buckwheat, lentils, chickpeas, rice, and corn grits, they are less allergenic. Oatmeal is introduced after introducing any gluten-containing cereal. But bulgur, wheat groats, pasta, and couscous are allergenic because of their high gluten content. Among fats, it is best to use olive, corn, and linseed oils or butter.
The main factors that form the basis of the selection of products for complementary feeding – are the health of the baby and the peculiarities of his development. Consider everything: the presence of allergies, disorders of indigestion, poor weight gain, and more. Begin complementary feeding should be based on the needs of the child, and not on reaching a certain age mark.
How to properly introduce complementary foods
The basic recommendations for the introduction of complementary foods during breastfeeding and complementary feeding are the same. Nutrition is introduced before feeding formula or breast milk.
As the portion of complementary food increases, the amount of breast milk or formula decreases proportionately. Evenly, complementary foods should replace them 100% and turn into breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Offer new products several times. It may take up to 8-10 attempts for the child to “take in” the new taste.
Your baby is ready to receive complementary foods if:
- has no expulsion reflexes;
- opens his mouth to a raised spoon;
- does not turn away from the food offered and does not spit it out;
- the child sits with support (a special high chair);
- the baby shows interest in the food on adults’ plates;
- doubling of weight since birth;
- it has been more than three days since the vaccination. When sick, you should not start complementary feeding.
Consequently, proper nutrition forms the baby’s immunity to the future. Also, young moms should not be in a hurry to expand their baby’s diet. Do everything evenly and properly increase his diet. If this fails, we recommend contacting your pediatrician, he will help solve the problem.
“Children’s iron reserves begin to deplete after about six months from birth, so it is now recommended to introduce foods rich in iron: meat, poultry, eggs, fish, liver, legumes, whole grains,” says Olga Dorosh.