Breastfeeding provides all the baby’s nutritional needs till his 6 months. Thereafter, the body of the child needs additional protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. How to introduce complementary food properly? This article will help you to learn the answer to this question.
How to understand that it is time to enter a new food into the diet?
Some mothers believe that the complementary food should be introduced as early as 4-5 months. In some cases, this view is correct, and in which it is not necessary to rush things? Consider a few signs that the child is ready to consume new products:
- The weight of the little man has doubled since his birth. If he was born prematurely, then 2.5 times.
- Baby should not reflexively push the objects dropped into his mouth with his tongue. This ability protects the baby in the first months of life and is vital. With the growth of the child, the reflex disappears and from then on it is possible to offer the first complementary foods. It is easy to check the readiness of the child to receive food. To do this, pour some water in a spoon and give it to the child. If the liquid is on the chin, your time has not come yet.
- Baby should be able to sit and keep his head well. This skill will allow him to turn away and show that he does not like the new food, or send a signal that he is already full.
- The lack of mother’s milk is a signal that your son or daughter needs extra feeding.
- Reaching the age of 4 months. It is not recommended to use complementary food until this time.
- The appearance of the first tooth.
- Interest in what the parents eat and the desire to taste their dishes.
Of course, it is not necessary to wait until all of the above symptoms coincide. The pediatrician, who oversees the health of the baby from the birth, will help determine the optimal time for the introduction of complementary foods.
Rules of the introduction of the new food into a diet
So, how to introduce complementary foods? Consider a few simple rules.
It is important to add new products to the child’s menu only when he is completely healthy. Otherwise, his state of health may be impaired. In addition, it will be hard to understand the cause of the origin of pain and identify allergenic foods.
Any food should be warm, so be sure to check it before feeding. Eliminate the possibility of burns or, on the contrary, the probability of sore throat.
After feeding the baby should be offered the breast or formula milk.
Any new products should be introduced gradually, starting with half a teaspoon. In such a way you will be able to exclude allergenic foods and make sure that the stomach and intestines of your toddler respond well to this meal.
New products are introduced only after the baby is fully accustomed to the previous. The gap between them should be not less than one week.
How to start complementary food?
There is no clear and correct answer on this issue. Ten years ago, doctors recommended introducing of the complementary foods with fruit puree. In our time, this view has been criticized. It is believed that the sweet taste of these products will contribute to habituation to sugar and candies.
Most pediatricians offer to enter vegetables into the baby’s diet starting from his six months. It can be mashed broccoli, cauliflower or zucchini. These products rarely cause allergy or indigestion.
Other doctors believe that the first products to be offered to the kid, are yogurt and cottage cheese. In defense of this opinion it can be said that these products are similar in composition to human milk, and do not overload the baby’s liver.
If the child is not gaining weight, his parents are recommended starting complementary foods from cereals. It is not necessary to prepare dishes of the usual cereals, and then grind them through a sieve. You can buy the porridge, which is designed for the first feeding, in the store and brew it for your child for breakfast.
Remember that any food should be introduced in the menu gradually. It is best to begin doing it on the second morning feeding and then to trace the body’s response. If rash appears on the skin or there are complains of abdominal pain, the selected product should be excluded from the menu for some time.
The order of complementary foods introduction
By 8 months the baby eats about five times a day. In the morning he is offered the porridge, then meat and vegetable purees, fruit in the afternoon, cottage cheese in the evening, and breast milk or formula milk before the bed time.
Some mothers supplement the evening menu with a few spoonfuls of porridge to make the baby sleep tight and not to wake up from hunger.
In ten months, the steamed fish and vegetable soups are introduced in the menu. Remember that meat and chicken broth is not recommended to be given up to one year. You can then supplement the usual menu with cooked and grained yolk.
Meat products must be given to your child daily. First he is offered mashed turkey, rabbit and beef. This meat is considered as a low-allergenic, which cannot be said about the chicken. Grinded chicken should be given in small portions, and you should closely monitor changes in the baby’s health. Ideally, it should be abandoned at all, restricted to the listed set of products.
Fruits that you will give your child should not be exotic. It is best to start complementary food with the apple puree, and then enter the pears and berries. You can buy ready-made baby food or grind fruits by yurself using a grater or a sieve (eg., baked fruits).Do not forget that the little man menu should be varied, include the fats, proteins and carbohydrates. If the mother has milk and she wants to continue to feed her baby, then it is better to do it at night or before the day sleep. You can also brew adapted infant formula, which is sold in the department of children’s products.