Around 6 months, babies need to meet greater energy and nutrient needs. It's time to introduce "solid" or complementary foods into their diet. Complementary foods are foods other than milk that are easily consumed and digested by the child and that meet their growing nutrient needs.
Is my baby ready?
Milk meets the nutritional needs of most babies up to about 6 months of age. Therefore, the recommended age for introducing complementary foods is 6 months. However, some health professionals sometimes advise to start offering them between 4 months and 6 months.
Since the growth rate and needs vary from one child to another, it is possible that some babies may need to eat before 6 months. On the other hand, it is not advisable to give them complementary foods before 4 months, because that can harm their health.
Eating cereals does not help to make one's nights
It's not because baby eats cereals at dinner that it's nights. The duration of sleep does not depend on the diet, but rather on the temperament, maturity, age and even the environment of the child..
Indeed, the younger children are not ready, physiologically, to eat other foods as milk or infant formula because:
their saliva production is inadequate;
they do not have enough enzymes to digest the food they eat;
their kidneys cannot tolerate large amounts of protein;
their immune system is still immature, which increases their risk of suffering from food allergies .
In addition, studies indicate that peanut exposure between 4 months and 6 months may reduce the risk of developing an allergy to this food. In addition, the introduction of complementary foods between 4 months and 6 months may help the baby to adapt to food more easily than if we wait after 6 months.
Some parents choose not to offer purees to their baby. Instead, they give him pieces of soft food that he can take himself to bring to his mouth. This is calledautonomous power supply or child-led dietary diversification (DME).Parents who choose this approach must wait until their child is 6 months old before offering complementary foods. To know more, see our page Autonomous feeding in babies.
Signs that a baby is ready to start eating complementary foods
Despite these benefits, it must be remembered that not all 4-month-olds are physically ready to eat complementary foods or able to communicate to be fed according to their needs. For this reason, before offering complementary foods to your child aged between 4 months and 6 months, make sure that all the following signs are present :
Breast milk or formula is no longer enough to satiate your baby. This may be the case if he asks to drink more often for more than 5 days and he still seems to be hungry even if he empties both breasts 8 to 10 times in 24 hours or even if he drinks more than 40 oz per day bottle-feeding
He is sitting unaided and is able to lean forward.
He is able to carry food or objects to his mouth and tries to chew.
He supports and controls his head to turn it and make "no" of the head.
He is able to repel objects he does not want anymore, which shows that he is able to push back a spoon to signify that he is no longer hungry.
He shows interest in food.
Interest in complementary foods varies greatly from one child to another. Even before 6 months, some babies will have eyes only for the contents of the plate of their parents. However, others will continue to lose interest, even at 7 months. It is then necessary to encourage these children to eat foods other than milk. As a general rule, when your baby is 6 months old, do not delay in giving him complementary foods. Not only does he need it, but it's also an important time when he develops his taste for food and their different textures.
What About a Premature Baby?
In premature babies the introduction of complementary foods is the same as for full-term babies. On the other hand, you must use the corrected age, that is, the age that the child would have had if he had been born at term. For example, if you give birth after 32 weeks of pregnancy on January 1st, your child will celebrate his 6 months on January 1st.st July, and his corrected age will be only 4 months since the expected date of delivery should have been at the end of February, 8 weeks later. You should start giving complementary foods around the month of September unless you have several of the signs described above and your doctor or nutritionist agrees.
The first foods : rich in iron
It is now recommended to introduce foods rich in iron (the cerealsfortified baby, meat and poultry, fish , eggs, legumes and tofu). Indeed, Health Canada and the guideLive better with our childadvise now to offer meat and alternatives before other foods, as studies have shown that 6-month-olds have iron requirements that need to be filled at this age.
Afterwards, when your child is eating iron-rich foods twice a day, you can introduce other foods ( vegetables and fruits , grain products , and dairy products) to diversify your diet. Wait, however, for 9 months before offering cow 's milk.
The most important thing is to offer one new food at a time during a meal or snack, not to mix a new food with others so that your child gets to know them separately and to choose foods. nutritious and varied. If you wish, you can introduce a new food, or even more, every day. There is one exception, however, with allergenic foods (see " Food Allergies " below).
A baby often needs several days to enjoy a new food. It may be that your child takes - a little or a lot - more time to enjoy certain foods. Continue to offer them regularly, without forcing your child to eat or taste them. If your child still refuses to eat a food after several attempts, stop using it for a while. He may want to taste it in a week or two.
How to proceed?
Starting complementary foods is an important step for a baby. It is therefore best to choose a time when your child is well rested, in a good mood and not bothered by a cold or other health problem.
Some experts recommend offering breast milk or the end-use product before solid foods for up to 7 months. Others believe that drinking can be given as much before or after the meal or even in two.
Be guided by your baby to know in what order to offer her milk and complementary foods. The important thing is that the consumption of solid foods does not reduce the amount of milk it drinks.
To introduce solid foods, first offer small amounts to your baby, that is, about a teaspoon. You can then gradually increase according to your child's hunger. In the beginning, give food once or twice a day. For example, you could offer iron-fortified baby cereal for lunch and meat or tofu for dinner.
NOT'do not forget that until'at 12 months, the milk remains'your child's main food and that solid foods are " compledmentary " with milk. He must drink at least 750 ml per day until'at 9 months and 600 ml per day until'at 2 years.
After a few weeks, your baby could have two or three meals a day. For example, he could eat cereals and fruit at lunch , meat or tofu and vegetables at dinner, and finally fish and vegetables at dinner , depending on his hunger.
Around 7 to 8 months, his meals will be more regular and will combine more food. For example, his dinner could be legumes, vegetables and fruit while he is eating cereal, fruit or vegetables and a cheese or yogurt for dinner. It is also possible to offer him snacks if he has enough appetite.
For at least 1 year, offer to drink or eat to your child on demand. You will then gradually establish a meal and snack schedule.
Keep in mind, however, that these baby menus are just examples. Feel free to adapt your meals to your child's hunger and family habits.
In Canada, the following 10 foods are considered allergens responsible for the majority of severe allergic reactions : peanuts, wheat, seafood (fish, crustaceans and molluscs), sesame seeds, milk, nuts, eggs, soybeans, sulphites and mustard.
According to the new recommendations, there is no clear evidence that later introduction of these allergens would protect a child from food allergies later.
It is therefore no longer advisable to wait to introduce so-called allergenic foods , even for children at risk of allergy (who have a parent, brother or sister with a food allergy). In the latter case, however, it is prudent to talk to a doctor or allergist about how to respond to an allergic reaction.
When you offer a food called allergen to your baby, it is better to introduce it alone and wait two or three days before introducing another food. If your child has an allergy, you will know the cause.
At first, you can introduce your baby to his meals in the form of smooth puree . Some babies also quickly accept crushed foods with only a fork and others will soon eat finely chopped foods or small pieces.
It is important to introduce new textures into your child's diet in order to stimulate it and allow it to develop its skills. Even if he has no teeth, his gums allow him to chew.
As soon as he is able to bring food to his mouth, you can encourage your child to take small pieces of soft food with his fingers : well-cooked vegetables, ripe fruits, Nutrios cereals ... He will put you perhaps even before the fait accompli. In addition to promoting his autonomy, eating with his fingers allows him to develop his fine motor skills. Between 9 and 12 months, your baby will eat almost anything if his food is cut into small pieces.
During the'introduction of food, a bedbed sometimes has gagging'he was going to vomit. He can then cough and spit out the food. It's'acts of'a rednormal flex for edto avoid'he is not'edtuft.
Because they are the same size as the esophagus of a young child, some foods can stay in his throat and block his trachea . Up to age 4, to prevent choking, avoid giving small, hard, round foods such as peanuts, nuts, hard candies, cough drops, popcorn, gum to chew, raisins (unless they are well hydrated, in a muffin for example), whole fresh grapes, slices of sausage, raw carrots and celery, food stitched on toothpicks, cheese stick Ficello type (unless frayed), etc. Check our factsheet to know what to do when a child suffocated
The simplest, and the best, is ideally to prepare oneself the purées of his baby. Here are some tips for preparing homemade purees.
Buy the freshest vegetables and fruits possible. If they are frozen, they must not have salt , sugar , sauce or seasonings. As for the meat, it must be lean and of good quality. Avoid vegetables, meats and canned fishbecause they are often too salty. You can use canned fruits if presented in their real juice. You can also offer unsweetened compotes to your child.
Avoid putting salt, sugar, butter or spices in mashed potatoes. Your baby does not need it, and he must learn to know the true taste of food.
Freeze your mashed potatoes in ice cube trays. Then, store small cubes in labeled and dated freezer bags. You will only have to defrost one or two cubes for a few minutes in a bain-marie at each meal of your baby. As much as possible, try warming only the amount of puree you need.
How to make a puree of fruits or vegetables?
- Wash, peel and cut some fruits or vegetables.
- Put them in a saucepan and add ½ cup of water.
- Place a lid on the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Spread fruit or vegetables in the blender using cooking water to adjust the texture.
- You can also cook all these foods with steam and use the cooking water when you put them in the blender. This form of cooking preserves more vitamins and minerals .
Vegetables and fruit purees can be stored for two to three days in the fridge or two to three months in the freezer, while red meat, poultry and fish purées can be stored for one or two days in the refrigerator or from one to two days. two months in the freezer.
How to make a mashed meat?
- Cook the meat in a saucepan filled with water after removing the skin from the poultry and the visible fat from the red meat.
- Add a carrot, a stalk of celery and a chopped onion, which you will remove before moving the meat to the blender. They will give him taste.
How to make a puree of legumes?
- Soak and cook dry legumes or use canned legumes. In the latter case, be sure to choose a "no added salt" variety and rinse the legumes before mashing them.
- Then use the same cooking technique as for the meat.
Beware of the microwave oven!
It always warms food unevenly. Mashed potatoes, for example, may be cold in some places and hot in others. So be sure to stir all your child's hot meals and check their temperature on the back of your hand or inside your wrist before serving them.
He refuses to eat a food?
If your baby refuses to eat a food, do not insist. A child becomes familiar with food using his five senses. He may need to look at them , feel them , touch them for weeks or months before agreeing to taste them. If forced or insisted, the child will associate the food with a negative experience, and this will further diminish his chances of loving these foods one day.
If your child refuses to eat a food, offer him again a few weeks later. Continue to offer it to him even after 3 or 4 refusals, since it can take 15 or 20 times before he likes a new food, the time that his taste is formed.
Do not worry either if his appetite is very variable: if he refuses to eat one day and if he devours his dish the next day. Trust him because he instinctively knows how to listen to the needs of his body. If he's interested in the spoon and the food, he tells you he's hungry. If he closes his mouth, turns his head, plays with his food, sulks or cries, he tells you that he has eaten enough.
During and after the meal, do not hesitate to offer him water if he is thirsty . It can help chew and swallow,as well as promote hydration.
Organic products must bear the name of'a recognized certification body. C'is what ensures'authenticityed d'a biological product.
Even though organic foods are now quite present in grocery stores, they remain more expensive than their non-organic version. If your budget does not allow you to buy organic food, you can still limit the presence of pesticides in your family's diet. Some non-organic foods contain little or very little pesticidebecause of the way they are grown or when they are grown. Here is a list of these foods.
Organic products must bear the name of'a recognized certification body. C'is what ensures'authenticityed d'a biological product.
Are organic foods better for your health?
According to some, they are, since they do not contain pesticides produced in the laboratory or other "suspect" products, such as antibiotics.
Organic foods sometimes contain more nutrients than products from traditional agriculture. However, the results vary from one study to another. From a nutritional point of view, the difference between organic and non-organic foods would not be important enough to have an impact on health. The important thing is first to consume enough vegetables and fruits, regardless of whether they are organic or not.
References and Resources
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- SIDE, Stéphanie. Babies - 21 days of menus. Montreal, Modus Vivendi, 2016, 210 p.
- DESROSIERS, Hélène and others. Nutrition survey of 4-year-old Quebec children. Quebec, ISQ, 2005.www.stat.gouv.qc.ca
- DORÉ, Nicole and Danielle LE HÉNAFF. Live better with our child from pregnancy to two years: a practical guide for mothers and fathers. National Institute of Public Health of Quebec, Quebec.www.inspq.qc.ca
- ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP. EWG's 2016 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, 2016.www.ewg.org
- LAMBERT-LAGACÉ, Louise. How to feed your child: from breast milk to full meal. Montreal, Editions of Man, 2015, 344 p.
- FRAPPIER, Renee. The guide to healthy and natural food. Sorel-Tracy, Maxam Publishing, 1990, 352 p.
- REGIMBAL, Nathalie and Manon VALADE. Fun to eat well: 80 winning recipes for families. Boucherville, Viséo Publishing, 2006, 96 p.
- REGIMBALD, Danielle and others. Play good food: feed my child from 1 to 2 years old. Montreal, CHU Sainte-Justine Publishing House, 2006, 162 p.
- HEALTH CANADA. Nutrition for healthy term infants: Recommendations for children aged 6 to 24 months. Joint Statement by Health Canada, the Canadian Pediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada and the Canadian Breastfeeding Committee, January 2015.www.hc-sc.gc.ca
- HEALTH CANADA. Canada's Food Guide (2011):www.hc-sc.gc.ca (can be ordered online or by calling 1 800 O-Canada [1 800 622-6232])
- HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES. The enchanted feast of Cru-Cru. Government site to make our children love fruits and vegetables, which also offers lots of ideas for fun recipes for children's parties!www.msss.gouv.qc.ca
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