It seems like only yesterday that breastfeeding was established or infant formula was selected, when it comes time to address new issues. When to teach children to eat something else besides breast milk or formula? Where to start complementary foods, how to introduce it correctly? The Healthyinfo portal knows all the answers.
How to understand that the child is ready for complementary foods
The time when a child can be offered other food, and not just formula or milk, depends on the characteristics of his development. Before being puzzled by the introduction of complementary foods, parents should make sure that there are all the prerequisites for this:
The child can sit independently or with a little support.
If you offer him a solid piece of food, he will not push it out with his tongue. The corresponding reflex usually fades away by four to five months of the baby.
The child shows food interest — that is, it reaches for the food that adults eat.
If the child is full, he may turn away from eating or move the spoon away.
On a note!
According to most pediatricians, if a child is fed with breast milk, it is advisable to introduce the first complementary foods at 6 months of age, and if he uses an adapted milk formula, then complementary foods can be introduced a little earlier — at 4 months of the baby.
Some parents ask, is it necessary to introduce complementary foods to a six-month-old child? If he is drinking breastmilk well or is eating formula and is feeling full, should he delay introducing complementary foods?
It is best to discuss this point with your doctor. But it should be borne in mind that many experts do not advise postponing the acquaintance of the baby with new food. The need of a 6‑month-old child for the intake of vitamins, minerals and protein increases, and breast milk or formula is no longer able to fully replenish it.
On a note!
How a child eats in the first year of life depends on his health in adulthood. Scientists have proven that the risk of allergies, cardiovascular disease, tooth decay and overweight is higher in those people who did not eat properly in early childhood.
How to choose complementary foods
Recommendations on which product to start introducing complementary foods will be given by the pediatrician in charge of the child. But usually complementary foods start with vegetables, while strictly one vegetable at a time is introduced into the menu. If the child responds well to one vegetable, then next week you can introduce him to another one. Ideal first vegetables for a baby are zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower.
If the child is underweight, you can consider introducing cereals into the menu. The best cereals for children are buckwheat, millet, rice and corn. Cereal porridge should be given once a day. Usually the child is given one cereal for a month, and then introduced to another.
At 7–8 months, the child can be introduced to fermented milk products, chicken yolk and fish puree. And the age of 10 months is great for offering a child lean meat — chicken, turkey, rabbit meat, beef. Closer to the year, children can cook milk-cereal porridge.
Introduction to a new product should be scheduled for the first half of the day. This is necessary in order to track the reaction of the child. Start the introduction of complementary foods should be with a minimum portion — enough 1–1.5 teaspoons of complementary foods. If there are no negative reactions from the gastrointestinal tract of the child or manifestations of allergies, the amount of food should be gradually increased.
The volume of a single serving can be calculated by the formula: 10 g for each month of a baby’s life.