The stages of baby food diversification
Food diversification is one of the major stages in the child's evolution. Introducing him to new flavors, textures, smells and colors is to awaken him to nutrition and initiate him to the pleasure of eating. Step by step, the child becomes familiar with new foods, for his greatest pleasure and your greatest happiness.
The start of food diversification: between 5 and 6 months
From 6 months, exclusively consumed breast or infant milk is no longer sufficient to cover the baby's nutritional needs. It is therefore important to diversify the diet of the child who is able to chew food in order to swallow it.
Because of the risks of food allergies, it is strongly advised to start the food diversification before the 4 months of the child, the intestinal barrier not being mature enough. For children said to be "at risk of allergy" - father, mother, brother or sister with allergies - it is recommended that diversification be started only after 6 months of age.
Remember these rules when diversifying:
- The child at the heart of everything
- From liquid to solid ... there is no hurry
- A novelty by a novelty
- First diversify the midday meal
Fruit introduction from 4 months
From 4 months: in addition to the bottle or feeding at noon or in the afternoon, you can offer your baby 1 to 2 teaspoons of cooked and mixed fruit.
At 6 months: half a jar of compote per day.
At 12 months: a jar of compote to distribute for lunch and afternoon tea.
At 18 months: 2 fruits per day. The fruit corresponding to the value of the child's closed fist. So for small handcuffs, half an apple corresponds to the value of a whole fruit.
Introduction of vegetables from 5 months
At 5 months: 2 to 3 teaspoons of vegetables per day.
At 6 months: the equivalent of half a jar of vegetables (50-60g).
At 1 year: 80 to 100 g divided between noon and evening.
At 18 months: 100 to 150 g divided between noon and evening.
Tip for the first few weeks: make a homemade puree, mix to obtain a smooth texture, and freeze it in an ice cube pan. You can defrost the small cubes as you go without spoiling a whole jar. Start with two ice cubes at breakfast and gradually increase the quantities.
Starchy foods from 5 months
At 5 months: a teaspoon per day of gluten-free cereals.
At 6-8 months: a small potato to put with the vegetables and 1 tablespoon of cereals with gluten.
At 12 months: 2 to 3 tablespoons of cereal, 2 egg-sized potatoes, and a slice of bread.
At 18 months: 3 to 4 tablespoons of cereal, 3 egg-sized potatoes, and 2 slices of bread.
At 3 years: 3 egg-sized potatoes, and 3 slices of bread.
Proteins: meats, fish and eggs
Meat, fish and eggs are a preferred source of iron for your child, whose needs are great at this age. You can choose :
All meats, including cooked ham without rind, limiting offal and cold meats.
All fish: fatty, lean, fresh or frozen, but avoid breaded fish. Remember to vary them while offering two portions of fish (including a fatty fish) per week to your child, and of course remember to carefully remove the edges.
At the start of food diversification, mix the proteins with the vegetables. Thereafter, cut them very finely or mash them.
In terms of quantity, do not add a serving of meat, fish or egg per day to one of the two main meals (noon or evening) and count:
From 6 to 8 months: 10 g in total per day, the equivalent of 2 teaspoons of meat or fish or 1/4 of hard-boiled egg.
From 8 to 9 months: 15 to 20 g in total per day, the equivalent of 2.5 to 3 teaspoons of meat or fish, or a little more than 1/4 of hard boiled egg.
From 10 to 12 months: 20-25 g in total per day, the equivalent of 4 teaspoons of meat or fish, or just under 1/2 hard boiled egg.
From 12 months: 25 to 30 g in total of meat or fish per day or 1/2 hard-boiled egg.
Water is the only drink to offer your child when he is thirsty outside his meals. Use the same water as to prepare your bottle.
Fruit juices are not essential, infant milk and breastfeeding are precious suppliers of vitamins.
For VEGAN or vegetarian parents
If for adults, it is quite possible to replace animal proteins with plant products such as tofu or legumes, it is not the same for children, as the nutritionist explains: "It is very important to meet the protein needs of babies with meat, fish or eggs, because studies have shown that plant products are not suitable for their development, they need animal proteins. It will take 15 months for legumes to be well tolerated by their digestive systems.
Sugar, salt, cow's milk: what to avoid during the first year
The 1000 day theory considers that everything is formed in children between 0 and 3 years old, so we prefer to offer the healthiest food possible during the first three years. The basic principles: "do not add anything (sugar or salt) so as not to get used to them, and avoid industrial products as much as possible." We choose compotes and dairy products in the baby section, without added sugars, and we avoid as much as possible all sugary drinks - soda, syrups, fruit juices - before 3 years. For milk, it is recommended not to give cow's milk, too rich in proteins, before 3 years: "studies have shown that the consumption of cow's milk in babies can cause overweight in adulthood, we therefore prefer reconstituted growth milk.
If you can't prepare meals ...
Do not feel guilty if you cannot make homemade meals for your child. On the other hand, choose commercial dishes specifically prepared for children who meet strict French and European standards.