The introduction of solids into the baby’s diet or, for short, dietary diversification, is a crucial step in the optimal development of the child’s organism. This stage can be amusing for the parents, seeing their child react at different tastes, but it also comes with a lot of fears and worries. At once, the fears and worries regarding its fever, how its hands and feet are moving or whether it is blinking normally take a backseat. Now, its reactions to different tastes and types of food come first. Every mother starts with the plain, yet difficult question: “Where do I begin?” and after this hard beginning, the natural “What do I cook next?” follows shortly.
Kipy offers you the answers to your questions regarding the manner in which you can diversify your baby’s diet and at the same time allow him to form sound dietary habits:
Diversification at 4 or 6 months of age
Present recommendations coming from specialists suggest that mother’s milk or formula should be the main nutritional source for the baby of up to 6 months old, although some Pediatricians recommend that diversification start as early as 4 months of age. Depending on the baby’s development and the recommendations of specialists, discuss with the pediatrician closely monitoring your baby to figure out a dietary diversification graph. The early introduction of certain solid foods comes with some risk factors. For example, the introduction of complementary foods aside from the diet of milk or formula earlier than 6 months can raise the uptake of calories and can cause infantile obesity.
How do you know your baby is ready for solid foods?
Every mother knows her little one best and can tell whether he needs more nourishment or whether the quantity of milk or formula suffices.
Signs the baby is ready for solid foods:
– Waking up often at night to be bottle or breast fed: the fact that the baby wakes up and is hungry more often than usual can make you ask yourself whether it is in need of a change in diet.
– The diminishing of the baby’s reflex to push out with the tongue: this reflex allows the baby to drink and swallow liquids more easily. In the first four months of life, it serves as a protection from choking. When any unusual substance is placed on the tongue, it is expelled automatically instead of going down the throat. Between 4 and 6 months of age this reflex diminishes gradually and a spoonful of puree will have more chances of reaching the tummy.
– The baby can sit on its bum and holds its head without support: now the baby is capable of holding the milk bottle with its hands or can push it aside when satiated. This is important because now the baby is capable of limiting its own uptake of food. This helps the child to stop its parents in case they are overfeeding, even if they keep giving it food thinking it is hungry.
– The baby becomes curious and puts all kinds of objects in its mouth.
Healthy principles in baby’s diet
The first steps to a child’s dietary diversification are very important because, by introducing new foods, you will be also shaping your child’s dietary habits – these habits need to be healthy, because they will stick with him throughout his life.
In the following paragraphs, we will offer a few examples of some of the frequent mistakes parents make in regards to their child’s diet. The correct start of the dietary diversification will eliminate the risk of infantile obesity and, along with it, will raise the child’s immunity.
Don’t add sugar or honey to your baby’s tea
Sugar adds empty calories, without adding nutritional value. This predisposes the baby’s organism to obesity, because it builds an appetite for sweets. Some parents often make the mistake of replacing sugar with honey, because they consider it to be healthier. It is indeed healthier than sugar, but it is very sweet and it will impact the baby’s taste, making him later reject less sweet fruits or vegetables, on the account that they are not tasty enough.
Don’t introduce store bought yogurt in your baby’s diet
Leave out salt from your baby’s diet
Any dish is savory for the baby. The little one does not have an acquired taste, and you will reflect your own habits and preferences in his diet. So, a 4 or 6 months old baby does not need salt. Still, you can add condiments to your baby’s meal, to allow him to develop a varied taste. However, you have to be careful what condiments you use. The bags of condiments available in stores contain big amounts of salt, so it is recommended you use dried herbs. They add rich flavors to the food and you can apply the same principles to the meals you serve to the entire family. This way, you will set a sound habit for everybody and you won’t be accused of pampering your child.
Fruits are desert, not meals
Some mothers choose to start diversification with fruit juice. This is another mistake parents make in the child’s diet. Even if the juice is homemade, most of the nutrients in fruit are found in the pulp. That is why you can try to replace the famous fruit juice with pureed fruits. Fruit juice is one of the main causes of infantile obesity, because the baby associates the juice with water and will completely refuse to drink water. A baby needs water because it favors the development of cerebral substances. Don’t forget that the human brain is 70% water. Fruits have to be consumed responsibly by babies, because they lead to weight gain.
A baby’s diet must contain varied vegetables, not just potatoes
Dear mothers, potatoes are not the only vegetables. There are a lot of vegetables that can be eaten both fresh and boiled and are a lot healthier than juice or mashed potatoes. Potatoes contain starch and just as honey, can develop the baby’s taste for sweet foods. A child who is only fed potatoes and carrots will refuse less tasty veggies such as zucchini, celery, cucumbers and so on. You can start your baby’s diversification with a spoon of fresh veggie broth, strained, followed by gradually increasing the quantity.
Proteins a child needs
Parents usually choose boiled chicken meat as the first source of protein in the baby’s diet. However, proteins have to come from other sources, such as pork that contains less saturated fats and fish. The chicken that is available in stores is raised in intensive conditions and actually no longer contains the proteins necessary for a child.
A correctly diversified diet helps the child develop a taste for certain flavors and healthy foods.
At what age have you started the diversification of your baby’s diet?