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June 27, 2020 6 min read
The first few months of your little miracle's life are flying by! Not a day goes by without something new happening. The first time your baby smiles at you, grabs things, and starts slowly showing interest in the things you do is so exciting. The moment might come that you ask yourself, when is it appropriate to share some solid foods with your little one?
In the first few months, only breast milk or a an infant formula that's made to be used from birth are appropriate. In theory, you could start to introduce solid foods after 5 months. Why in theory? Because not every child’s digestive system is ready for solid food in the first 6 months. You should "listen" to what your baby is saying when they start showing interest in your food. If they seem satisfied with breast milk or formula only, there is no need to push them into eating something else. After about 6 months, babies need more nutrients due to their development and moving around more and you will notice an interest in other foods. Your child will give you clear signals when they are ready for complimentary food.
There are a number of ways to prepare solid foods and implement it in the diet of your baby. One of the most common methods is to make porridges from:
Foods high in prebiotic fibers are especially good for supporting your child’s immune system. Beans, peas, bananas, berries, and oats contain lots of prebiotics. It’s best to blend or mash foods to a suitable texture, harder fruits and vegetables should be cooked to soften them. Finger foods can help your child improve their hand-eye coordination when they grab the food themselves and it will get them used to different textures.
A hungry baby is not up for experiments and with a full stomach, they are likely to not want food at all. To avoid any difficulties when introducing solid foods you can breast or bottle-feed your baby before offering new kinds of foods with a flat baby spoon. Slowly increase the amount in the following days. Because the amounts you are feeding won’t be sufficient, they should receive their preferred milk as usual. It is best to feed your baby with a plastic baby spoon because metal spoons pose a risk of injury.
Your child's taste must first get used to the new foods. The change should, therefore, take place very slowly and at your child’s pace. The aim of the first feeding attempts should be to get your baby used to the spoon and the consistency of new food. How babies react to a diet of solid foods can be very different. Some are instantly hooked, others are skeptical and need a little more time to get used to it. Give your child and you the time you need. There is no need to rush anything.
A vegan diet without meat and milk is not recommended for babies and toddlers, as a purely plant-based diet cannot satisfy nutritional needs. A vegetarian diet for small children is possible as long as nutritious foods such as vegetables, fruit, and wholegrain products are on the table. In addition, the child should be given regular milk products, eggs, and fish. However, parents should keep the following nutrients in mind when living a vegetarian lifestyle: Iron, protein, zinc, calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. However, before you feed your baby a vegetarian diet, talk to your pediatrician about this.
In the first 6 months, you should stick to breast-milk or formula (or a combination of both). It gives your child the time to develop so they can cope with solid foods and will be able to feed themself, like holding finger foods and moving food around their mouth, chewing, and swallowing. That way they are prepared to have mashed and soft finger food. Pay close attention to foods that can trigger allergic reactions and start by feeding only small amounts and one at a time, so you can spot any intolerance.
From around 6 months your baby can have these foods:
They will only need small amounts of solid food during the day. If you have noticed that your child is not reacting to foods likely to cause allergies, offering those foods regularly can help to minimize the risk of future allergies. Contact with possible allergens such as cow's milk or gluten in the first year of life promotes the development of tolerance in childhood.
After 6 months your baby has had lots of practice learning how to eat. Eating together helps your child learn by watching you, so enjoy your meals together! We have compiled an example of a feeding schedule for orientation, but you should stick to the one that suits you and your baby best.
5th-7th month, vegetable-potato-meat porridge at noon:
A good way to introduce supplementary food is with a vegetable porridge at noon. Especially suitable and popular is the naturally slightly sweet carrot. In addition to carrots, nutritious vegetables such as parsnip, pumpkin, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, fennel or courgettes may also be included in the baby's menu.
In the beginning, when introducing complementary foods, you should add new foods to your child's diet every two to three days. This way, the baby becomes familiar with the new taste and it is easier for you to determine whether the child is allergic to a food. If they refuse an ingredient, do not give up immediately. Studies show that it takes up to seven trials for a child to accept an ingredient.
If the start is successful - after about a week or two - you can switch to a vegetable and potato porridge at noon. Your baby will continue to receive his or her milk as usual. If the vegetable-potato-meat porridge appeals to your baby, you can slowly move on to a meaty baby menu (vegetable-potato-meat porridge). This saturates to such an extent that your child no longer needs milk afterward. The meat’s iron, which is particularly important at this stage of development, can be better utilized if you offer your baby fruit porridge rich in vitamin C afterward - preferably only when the baby accepts and tolerates the diet well. Replace the meat component of the porridge with fish from time to time, because of its high amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
6th-8th month, milk-cereal porridge in the evening:
When your child is six to eight months old, you can gradually introduce a milk-cereal porridge as an evening meal. The milk it contains ensures the supply of protein and calcium in addition to breast milk or baby milk. The basis for the porridge is undiluted whole milk (3.5 % fat). Whole grains, oats or millet are particularly suitable as grains. Our Holle organic baby porridges come in fine, readily soluble flakes and are made using whole grains. They can be easily prepared in a number of ways to add variety to your baby's weaning diet.
7th-9th month, fruit-cereal porridge in the afternoon:
After seven to nine months, fruit and cereal porridge are a good snack. It replaces the milk meal in the afternoon.
How much should my child drink after the introduction of complementary foods?
Since you have now replaced three milk meals with porridge, your child will need additional fluid with each porridge. Water is your best choice; at the beginning of the supplementary diet, about 200 milliliters are sufficient, i.e. about one cup per day. The more porridge meals are added, the higher the liquid requirement will be. By the time the third pap is introduced, your baby should be drinking about 400 milliliters a day.
10 - 12 month, breakfast in the morning:
When your child is about ten months old, you can now replace the milk meal in the morning with breakfast, such as a slice of bread with butter or cream cheese or milk muesli. At this age, the transition from mash food to solid food also takes place slowly. Give your child increasingly chunkier foods such as small noodles, rice, soft boiled vegetables, a piece of banana or pear, etc., if they haven’t had any yet. At around one year of age, your child can eat at the family table. Ensure that the seasoning of the food is suitable for children. They should not be spicy, salty, or overly sweet.
We recommend: Baby Cereal Pancakes Recipe
We hope to have given you some advice on how you can implement solid foods in your child’s diet. Look forward to some easy-to-make and healthy recipes on porridges and more!
Please be aware that this information is based on general trends evidenced in babies and toddlers, it is in no way medical advice. Your doctor should be your first source of information and advice to make choices related to your child's diet. Always consult your pediatrician prior to making any decisions about your child’s diet or if you notice any changes in your child.
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