Complementary feeding is a process that usually begins six months after the baby’s birth, consisting of the gradual introduction of solid foods other than breastfeeding into a newborn’s diet.
The aim is not to replace breast milk – formula if that is your case – which will continue to be the basis of your baby’s diet but to cover all the nutritional needs he will start to have and for which, from a certain point on, breastfeeding will not be enough.
Should supplementary feeding begin after six months?
The psychomotor development of each human being is a world. Six months is the most common age, but your baby may be ready to handle and swallow food safely by the fifth or seventh month. This is something completely normal that should not worry you.
Our advice is that you should let your pediatrician guide you, as he or she will be sure to set the right feeding guidelines for your baby.
Supplementary feeding from 6 months
Fruits and vegetables
This group of foods should be introduced progressively into as wide a range of variants as possible. You need to accustom your baby’s taste to different flavors early on, as a result, people will have a more balanced diet or at least children who are less inclined to refuse food.
The only things to avoid are juices that offer no nutritional benefit over whole fruit, and some vegetables such as spinach, chard, garlic, beetroot or cabbage.
Your baby’s supplementary feeding from 6 months should include a daily ration of proteins: meat, fish, seafood, eggs or vegetables.
It is advisable to avoid eating large blue fish such as tuna, swordfish or shark because of the possibility that they contain a high level of mercury; besides, they introduce a good dose of iron-rich foods such as lentils, egg yolks or peas.
Cereals can begin to form part of the infant’s diet in a variety of ways as rice, bread, pasta, oats, potatoes or sweet potatoes, for example.
It is advisable to opt for wholemeal flours as much as possible and to avoid – if powdered cereals are consumed – those containing honey or sugar.
As for dairy, the advice from the experts is that during this period of baby’s life, they should remain their main food. Thus, it is recommended to keep it in demand by the newborn without reducing the number of feeds compared to previous months.
The texture of the food
The AEP recommends progressively increasing the consistency of foods from the time that complementary feeding is started.
Ideally, lumpy and semi-solid textures should become part of your baby’s diet as soon as possible, never after the eighth or ninth month.
The goal is that at twelve months, the baby can have any kind of food like the rest of the family, being especially careful with those that can cause choking.