The introduction of complementary foods is an important step towards the formation of children's health, familiarizing the child with the variety of existing tastes. In addition, by starting to eat complementary foods, the baby develops the skills of independent food consumption. Before introducing complementary foods, you should know why, when, and how to introduce them.
Why introduce complementary foods? The fact is that by 4-6 months, breast milk and formula are no longer able to fully meet the needs of a growing child's body for nutrients and energy. In addition, by the age of 3 months, the baby has digestive enzymes. Swallowing mechanisms and local immunity of the children's intestines are formed a little later - closer to 4 months.
You should start introducing complementary foods about 4-6 months of a child's life, when he is already:
- confidently holds the head and turns it;
- sits with support;
- reaches a weight of about 6 kg;
- remains hungry even after 8-10 breastfeeds or drinks up to 900 ml of the mixture per day.
Over time, the introduction of complementary foods was determined. Now let's talk about how to introduce complementary foods. It should start with vegetable or fruit purees, cereals, always one-component. They should be free of sugar, salt and thickeners. Read the product label carefully to ensure that no other juices or purees are included in the product.
Give each new product to the baby only if he is completely healthy, and offer it before morning breastfeeding in order to track the reaction to it during the day.
Introduce a new product gradually. Start with half a teaspoon and gradually work up 15-30 mg every day for 8-10 days. If the child does not tolerate the product well, you need to stop feeding and try to introduce it again after a while. If the negative reaction recurs, discard the product, try replacing it with a similar one.
Before introducing a new product, first feed the child with the previous one for at least 5-7 days. And do this with every new complementary food product. Otherwise, you will not know which particular product caused the rejection.
Each new complementary food product must also be one-component, like the first. So if a baby develops a rash, digestive problems or other manifestations of food rejection, you will know exactly which product is "to blame" for this.
At six months, you can start introducing your baby to meat products. One-component mashed potatoes will be the ideal starting point for this acquaintance.