Do you know what is the optimal time to introduce complementary feeding? We teach it to you, along with the best foods to start it.
Choosing the correct first solid foods for a baby’s diet is key. The initiation of complementary feeding is a huge step forward in the development of the child. A mistake here could pay dearly, since the consequences are manifested in an increased risk of allergies.
As a general rule, the specialist doctor offers a series of indications about the moment to introduce certain foods that can be conflictive or difficult to digest. It is important to keep these tips in mind as they will prevent future problems or intestinal disturbances.
When is it recommended to supplement baby food?
Keep in mind that breast milk has proven to be the best food for the baby during the first year of life. This is evidenced by a study published in the journal Minerva Pediatrica. It contains essential nutrients and a series of bioactive compounds that facilitate the development of the child.
However, after 6 months of life, breast milk may not cover all caloric requirements, which rapidly increase. Therefore, it is a good time to introduce the first solid foods, taking advantage of the fact that the digestive system is already somewhat mature and is tolerating them better and better.
Now, you have to be selective, not just any edible can be introduced at this time. For this, there are many guidelines that can be followed to follow a correct complementary diet.
Recommended first solid foods
The first solid foods that can be included in the baby’s diet, at 6 months, are the following.
In the vegetables section you can introduce some legumes, such as lentils. It is worth noting that if they are consumed before this age (6 months), allergies may develop in the future.
Also spinach or beans are a good option at this time. However, it is always recommended to serve them well mashed puree, to facilitate swallowing and subsequent digestion.
All these products have essential minerals necessary for the proper functioning of the body. An example of them is iron. A deficiency of the same could lead to the development of anemia in the medium term, as stated by research published in the journal The Medical Clinics of North America.
Among the first recommended fruits are the banana and the apple. In this case it is again advisable to offer them in the form of porridge, since the acceptance will be greater. However, it is also possible to allow the child to experiment with medium-sized apple pieces, so that they get used to its organoleptic characteristics.
Keep in mind that the apple itself stands out for the presence of pectin inside. This element acts as a prebiotic, since it is in the group of soluble fibers. Its regular consumption stimulates the growth of microbiota bacteria, according to a study published in Experimental & Molecular Medicine.
Some cereals are also suitable for the baby’s diet due to their complex carbohydrate and mineral content. Anyway, it is recommended to always resort to whole varieties. At the same time, it is important to ensure that they do not have added sugars in them, as this could increase the risk of diabetes.
It should be noted that one of the best quality cereals is oats. This can be introduced in the baby food and in the purees that are offered to the child, combined with fruits or other vegetables. In this way, the nutritional density of the food is increased, making it easier to meet daily requirements.
Meat can also be offered from 6 months of age. Its consumption is important since it contains proteins of high biological value, with all the essential amino acids and a good score in terms of digestibility. It is essential to ensure the supply of these nutrients to allow growth.
In any case, certain precautions must be taken regarding the introduction of meat in the baby’s diet. The first thing to be clear about is that you should opt for white meat varieties, these being chicken, turkey or rabbit. It is also important to cook them well before grinding them, to eliminate any possible microbiological risk.
When to see a professional?
The normal thing is that the baby is consuming different types of food in crushed preparations without any problem. However, there are certain warning signs that indicate that it is optimal to consult a professional. One of them is the loss of weight on the part of the child, when she is in a phase where she should increase in size quickly.
On the other hand, if frequent digestive disorders are detected, such as diarrhea or constipation, it is also important to see a specialist. The same happens if the baby develops colic and allergic skin reactions to certain foods. In this case, tolerance and allergy tests will have to be carried out to discover the focus of the problem.
It is essential to choose well the first solid foods for the baby
A mistake in choosing the first solid foods for the baby’s diet can cost dearly. For this reason, we recommend that you stick to the ones we have mentioned, in addition to including some other possibility such as certain white fish as the months go by. When in doubt, always consult a specialist.
Also keep in mind that there are very complete guides where the time of inclusion of each of the foods in the baby’s diet is reflected. Some of them cannot be administered until the first year of life is completed, as is the case with honey.
Finally, do not forget that breast milk is still the best food for the child during this period. Complementary feeding serves to offer an extra supply of nutrients, but its introduction should not imply the cessation of breastfeeding.