The first two years of life are important for a child’s development as well as for his diet. These are the years when he forms the tastes of all the basic foods, this is the period when the child’s stomach is strengthened to withstand different types of food – processed or raw – so the order in which they are introduced is very significant.
Breastfeeding babies in the first year of life with a woman’s milk has always been considered the best type of feeding because a woman’s milk is unique in its properties.
Breastfeeding has a significant impact and is therefore important for both child and mother. Experts estimate that exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age alone can reduce infant mortality by 10%.
After all, mother’s milk is a unique product created by nature to nourish infants, adequate to the functional capabilities of their digestive tract and has protective properties due to the main nutritional components, and protects babies at different levels of life.
After birth, in the first days of life (5-6 days), the baby consumes colostrum, from the 6th day of life until 2-3 weeks of life – the transitional milk, and from 2-3 weeks – the mature milk of the mother.
Breastfeeding should be compulsory and exclusively natural until 6 months of age, and it is compulsory for the child to drink milk until the age of 1 year, and pediatricians recommend that the baby drink milk even until the age of 1.5 or even 2 years.
An interesting fact is that breast milk is very important to drink when teeth appear, especially fangs – because the baby is soothed by milk, and if he refuses to eat, breastfeeding helps him to get through this period easier.
Breastfeeding your baby is not a sentence
Usually, there are cases where breastfeeding is not available for certain reasons or medical contraindications for the mother or baby. To date, this is not a disaster, modern manufacturers of baby food have developed a highly adapted milk formula.
Of course, young parents need to carefully consider the composition of the product, so as not to meet an unscrupulous manufacturer. Baby formula should be made only from high-quality cow’s or goat’s milk, contain probiotics and prebiotics, the number of vitamins, and trace elements corresponding to the baby’s age.
So, if your baby is not destined to grow up breastfeeding, choose the best organic formula. Artificially-fed children are recommended to introduce complementary foods two to three weeks earlier than breastfed babies.
When a baby is ready to eat complementary foods
It is important that in the first 6 months of a baby’s life, he or she receives breast milk or highly adapted formula, with no other liquids, although many pediatricians encourage us to give water to children, especially if it is summer.
Let’s look at the signs that a baby is ready for complementary foods:
- No expulsion reflex;
- Opens her mouth to a raised spoon;
- Does not turn away from the food offered and does not spit it out;
- The child sits with support (special high chair);
- The baby shows interest in the food on adults’ plates;
- Doubling of weight since birth;
- It has been more than three days since the vaccination. You should not start complementary feeding if you are sick.
Order of introducing complementary foods
In the case of breastfeeding (if the child is perfectly healthy), you should start talking about complementary feeding when the baby is 6 months old. With artificial feeding, the conversation about introducing complementary foods enters when the baby is 4 months old.
Some mothers hold the view that breast milk contains all the necessary vitamins-micronutrients, so you should not rush with complementary feeding. Of course, this is true – if the mother keeps a proper diet, a nutritious diet.
But in fact, complementary food helps to prepare the digestive system of the baby – the child learns different tastes, because it’s no secret that when the baby receives only breastfeeding, some digestive juices are released, in the case of complementary food – quite different, so by introducing complimentary food, we gradually prepare the enzyme system.
Given the fact that the first stage of the problem of complementary food “teach” the digestive tract to digest not only breast milk but also other products, it is very important to observe the sequence of introduction of complementary foods:
- the first complementary food is introduced at the beginning of the second-morning feeding, then the child is breastfed;
- the amount of complementary food should not be more than half a teaspoon, the portion gradually increased to 150 ml;
- one product is introduced and for 5-7 days, monitor the presence of symptoms of intolerance (bloating, rash);
- the complement should be homogeneous, without lumps, and swallow without difficulty.
What Food Can Be Used As Complementary Food
The first complementary food is given in the form of vegetable purée of heat-treated vegetables – zucchini, cauliflower, and broccoli which are all high in fiber for kids that help with digestion and gut health.
Mashed green apple and banana are introduced after the child gets used to the vegetable.
Mashed potatoes are not recommended as independent complementary food because of the high starch content, so it is introduced as an additive to the already familiar products.
In some cases, pediatricians advise starting complementary feeding with oatmeal.
First, the child is accustomed to buckwheat, rice, and corn oatmeal, and then to oatmeal.
If possible, give preference to baby food produced industrially, which guarantees safety.
If oatmeal is substituted for the last meal, the child will be full and sleep longer.
Breastfeeding with sour milk products is recommended after 7-8 months of age if there are no other health recommendations.
In addition to the main complementary foods, additional products are introduced into the child’s diet:
- egg yolk.
Fruit compote is introduced from 6 months of age, starting with a teaspoon to maintain a drinking regimen.
Butter and vegetable oil (5 g) is introduced in vegetable purées and oatmeal.
Stuffing of cooked meat is added to vegetables and dairy-free oatmeal.
Meat broth is introduced at 8 months of age by adding it to vegetable purée.
Egg yolk is added to the oatmeal by a pinch 2 – 3 times a week.
What should I do if my baby does not accept a certain product?
If there are rashes on the baby’s skin, the baby worries about intestinal disorders, anxiety associated with stomach pain, or if there is a tendency to constipation-diarrhea due to the introduction of a certain product, we leave in the diet products of all previous stages of complementary feeding, but the one that triggered the disorders, we cancel.
If the mother finds it difficult to understand which product caused the disorders, it is necessary to return to the baseline – breastfeeding, which at the same time will encourage compliance with a hypoallergenic diet or a balanced diet of the mother.
If the baby is artificially fed, it is necessary to return to the use of formula without complementary feeding. Therefore, it is necessary to take the same steps of introducing complementary food as before, carefully watching the reaction of the baby.
Proper nutrition shapes the health of the child. Therefore, it is the parents’ responsibility to strictly follow the pediatrician’s recommendations and, if necessary, seek advice.