Solid foods are assigned to the child, when he or she reaches a certain age and physiological indicators. It complements breast milk or infant formula, the nutritional value of which can not meet the needs of the growing organism. Due to solid foods, when having a relatively small amount of food, the baby gets a lot of energy and nutrients in the form of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Since the first year of an infant’s life is when the foundation of the child’s future health are being built up, proper nutrition including solid foods play an important role.
The First Solid Foods – When and How to Introduce Them
The question “when to introduce solid foods?” is fundamental for a lot of mothers. However, no one can clearly answer this question. It is important to understand that an indicator of readiness of the kid to solid foods is not just age, but a number of parameters of growth and development, including:
- The type of feeding of the baby (breast or artificial).
- The weight of the child, which must be at least twice its weight at birth (preterm infants – 2.5 times).
- The absence of the reflex of ejecting the tongue (ie, if you offer him a drink in the spoon, he will be able to drink it, not smudge on the chin). This is important because solid foods should only be given with a spoon so that it is joined with saliva for full digestion.
- The child’s ability to sit, lean the body to the spoon (showing the desire to eat) or lean backward (refusing to eat);
- The presence of feeling hungry after feeding with formula or mother’s milk, even from both breasts.
- The presence of his great interest in the food eaten by his parents, and the desire to try it.
In every child all the factors manifest themselves in different ages. As practice shows, most commonly complementary feeding occurs in age from 5 months to 9 months. During breastfeeding the pediatricians’ opinion on the introduction of the first solid foods is clear – the baby up to 6 months only needs breast milk. For children who are bottle-fed, solid foods are introduced earlier.
Mothers must remember the main thing – it is better to introduce solid foods a little late than too early. For example, solid foods in 3 months can cause adverse reactions in the body of the child, which physiologically is not yet ready to accept a new food. These reactions can cause abdominal pain, intestinal colic, regurgitation, vomiting and disorders of the stool. Early complementary feeding can cause serious disruption of the digestive system, requiring long-term treatment. Another complication is allergy rash, which is caused by the high permeability of the intestinal wall for large molecules and immature digestive enzymes and immune system. This can severely affect the baby’s immune system, which can lead to frequent infections and the emergence of various chronic diseases.
If solid food is introduced to a child having immature mechanisms of swallowing, there is a danger that he might choke, vomit and even start to lose interest in food. Subsequently, due to the load that the child will suffer because of the early introduction of complementary foods, liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal system will be very vulnerable.
Another negative result is reducing breastfeeding, so that the lactation reduces. That’s why the first solid foods should be introduced only favorable for this time and only after consultation with the pediatrician.
Solid Foods in 3 Months
As we have said, at 3 months in the digestive system the enzymes are already mature, the permeability of the intestinal mucosa decreases, its normal immune system and the mechanisms that allow you to take semi-liquid and solid foods are formed. However, at this age you should introduce solid foods with extreme caution. For children who are breastfed, its introduction is not recommended. The question of feeding the infants who are fed with baby formula should be solved only by the pediatrician.
Solid Foods at 4 Months
Kids who are breastfed, still do not need complementary feeding, getting all the necessary nutrients from their mother’s milk. Although this time the body is already preparing to receive food other than breast milk and infant formula. Babies who are bottle-fed, can start to be given fruit juice with the doctor’s permission, and the juice must be single component. Better if those are drops of somewhat familiar apple juice.
Then, watch the reaction of the child and if you do not notice any disturbing symptoms such as skin rashes, intestinal colic, disorders of the stool, you can begin to gradually increase the amount of juice a few drops per day.
At the beginning, the easiest way to get the juice is by grating an apple on a grater and squeezing out a few drops of juice in a teaspoon through a sterile bandage. It is important to remember that introducing solid foods with the help of a bottle with a pacifier is impossible. You should feed the baby with a spoon, and then use a special cup.
Solid Foods at 5 Months
Solid Foods at 6 Months
At 6 months, most babies should be given complementary foods in the form of vegetable puree (weak children can be given cereals). The best vegetables for the first complementary foods are squash or cauliflower, but it is better to be careful with carrot, because it can cause allergies. You can add a few drops of vegetable oil into the vegetable puree. Gradually increasing the feeding portion in the form of vegetable puree, you should replace milk feeding. By 10 months a baby should eat up to 200 grams of vegetable puree at a time.
Solid foods at 7 months
A toddler of 7 months can be safely fed with porridge. In the first week it should be liquid porridge, prepared from 100 ml of water and 1 teaspoon of cereals. Then you can start to make it thicker and prepare 100 ml of water and 2 teaspoons of cereal. A toddler at this age can be fed with rice, buckwheat or corn gruel prepared from cereals, pre-crushed in a coffee grinder. Porridge is boiled in a small amount of water and then diluted with a mixture of breast milk to the desired consistency (but not cow’s milk, which is a strong allergen). In the early days, you can only give a few teaspoons of porridge, then gradually bring it up to the amount of 150 grams a day. This portion of porridge can fully replace breastfeeding or formula. If the young mother does not have the time or skill to prepare a porridge, she can use ready-made cereals, the choice of which is very rich today. During the preparation, be sure to follow the instructions.
In addition, the diet of the baby at this age can be supplemented with egg yolk, hard-boiled egg, chicken or quail. The first portion should be not more than a match head, then it can be increased to half a teaspoon.
Solid Foods at 8 Months
8-month-old baby should be already offered dairy products, which are very useful for the regulation of its digestion and strengthening the immune system, as well as fruit purees. At this time, the menu can be supplemented with cheese and yogurt. Buy these products in the department of children’s food, or prepare your own. At 7 months, the baby can receive 1 teaspoon of cheese and 30 ml of yogurt or kefir. A healthy 1-year-old child can eat 50 grams of cheese and 100 ml of milk beverages. Fruit purees should be given in 1 teaspoon. Then, increasing the dose every day, it must be brought up to 100-130 g.
Solid Foods at 9 Months
9 months is a good time to introduce meat, which is a source of protein, iron and vitamins. However, you should be very careful with the introduction of meat, and in case of failure you do not need to show great perseverance.
To begin with, you can try meat rabbit, turkey or veal (some children are allergic to cow protein – hence their diet should not contain veal). It is not necessary to offer the broth, better give the baby chopped meat in a blender with vegetable soups or purees, because it is better absorbed. Start from 0.5 teaspoon per day, eventually increasing the dose to 3 tablespoons.
Solid Foods at 10 Months
Fish is characterized by a perfect amino acid composition, it is absorbed well by the child’s body. However, it may be an allergen. Therefore, the first time it should be given during breakfast, so that during the day you can watch the reaction of your baby’s body. Nutritionists believe that children under one year should receive complementary foods not meat, but white marine fish (such as hake, cod and so on). The first portion of the daily fish feeding should be half a teaspoon, eventually increased to 50 grams.
Solid Foods at 11 Months
At this age, you can expand the diet of the child further, offering him different fruits and vegetables. Children of this age, as a rule, have from 4 to 6 teeth. So you can try to give the food, crushing it in a blender or grinder, or slicing it in small pieces. Instead of mashed meat you should already give steam meatballs or patties, and leave the vegetable pieces in purees.