First steps in expanding baby's diet
introduction, around 6th month of baby's life, of food products that are chewed and bitten has a positive effect on speech and occlusion development.
Baby's readiness is often signaled: he starts to demand milk more often, he also wakes up for feeding more often, and starts to reach for food we eat.
If you have doubts whether it is the right time for culinary experiments, consult a trusted pediatrician. Currently, specialists recommend to start expanding baby's diet around 6th month of his life. This also applies to babies fed with formula.
You should not wait too long with expanding the baby's diet, as by feeding him with thick mashes you teach him chewing and bitting necessary for correct development of speech and occlusion. Too long feeding with milk alone can lead to health problems due to deficiencies of vitamins A and D, iron, and zinc.
You should start with buying a comfortable high chair, as well as several bibs, bowls, plastic spoons, a grate, a blender, and bottles with a measuring scale to precisely measure a portion of food. When the baby does not sit up yet (there are infants who learn that skill even around 9th month of their life), set the chair backrest in a semi-inclined position. Never feed the baby when he is lying or his head is tilted back, because there is a risk of choking.
- first adult food for the baby
For the start, you can give to your baby grated and cooked apple, potato or carrot. During first days let the baby get used to the new taste and texture of food, so a few spoons will be enough. First give some milk, and then well-mashed puree. An ideal time will be a dinner time. Evening feeding with new products can end with flatulence, stomach ache and, in consequence, a sleepless night.
Remember to introduce each new product separately, and wait for 3–5 days before you try another one. During that time observe the baby. When any worrying signs occur, such as colic, diarrhea, or rush, the new food should not be given. However, when everything is all right, after several days you can introduce a new vegetable. After some time you can cook the first soup with several vegetables (pumpkin, broccoli, parsley, zucchini or squash) or use a ready one in a jar. Add olive oil and semolina to cooked vegetables. It's time to introduce into baby's diet a grated apple, in form of puree or juice.
Semolina is gluten, and a previous approach was to wait with it until 10th month of a baby's life. Currently, majority of scientists are of the opinion that early administration of gluten supports prevention of celiac disease. The best way is to start with vegetables or fruit, to which you add half of a teaspoon of cooked semolina after several weeks.
Something to drink
When you start to expand the diet, the baby is thirsty more often because of a change in food texture. We teach drinking by giving water or baby juice diluted with water from a cup. You can use a cup for feeding, a training cup or a non-spill cup with a soft spout. Avoid giving sweetened drinks to the baby.
Gruel, meat, eggs
In 7th month, a breastfed baby can start eating gruels: corn, wheat and rice. Those containing formula are prepared with water, while those without formula you can prepare with your own milk with some water added. It is a good, filling meal, particularly before sleep.
Around the same time we start to introduce meat, preferably chicken, turkey or rabbit. You should cook it separately, mash it and add to a soup. Babies fed with formula can start to eat gruels and meat one month earlier. You should also start giving fish alternately with meat.
In 7th month a baby's diet should also include an egg yolk. Add half of a hard boiled yolk to the meal every second day.
Between 8th and 10th month we expand baby's diet with new fruit, including pears, apricots, peaches, nectarines, currants, raspberries, plums, grapes, kiwifruit, watermelon and other. Be careful with strawberries and wild strawberries. Wait until 12th month before introducing citruses.
New vegetables are added to those given at the beginning: cauliflower, kohlrabi, leek, celery, beetroot, followed by onion, peas, cucumber, pepper, tomatoes, broad beans, asparagus and spinach. In 10th month you can add new cereal products: infant biscuits, noodles, bread. In 11th month the baby should be given dairy products, such as curd cheese, yogurt or kefir.
Pay attention to ingredients quality
Ensure good quality of food eaten by your baby. Select healthy, low-processed products. When you cook yourself, buy fresh, tried ingredients from organic farms, and free-range eggs. If you decide to use jars, always read labels, and avoid unnecessary sugar, salt, or preservatives.