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Complementary feeding: what is it and basic guidelines?

Six months. That was the day of the newborn’s life, and it was an important turning point for him and his parents, because he will stop breastfeeding alone, this is the recommendation of all health agencies. It is the starting signal for the so-called “assisted feeding”, a concept that uses two words to summarize the baby’s diet in the coming months. At least until twelve months, their basic life will continue to be breast milk, but after following a series of specific recommendations, they should have started to consume food.

As for assisted feeding, there are many reliable guidelines, although there is no better guide than the pediatrician himself on physical support and his advice. In any case, the first will be very similar to the content prepared by the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEPED), which will be introduced in detail in each food category when appropriate.

In this document, complementary feeding is defined as “the process of providing breast milk to supplement or replace solid or liquid foods other than breast milk or infant formula”. Its objective is to condense the changes that have occurred in the field in recent years through new scientific research, this is an important detail for parents who have repeated their experiences, they should catch up with these changes rather than get caught from their own experiences. to carry out. Your handling of older children.

Crushed in front of Baby Led Weaning

That is, before introducing in detail when to introduce each type of food, the importance of staggering new foods should be emphasized, reserving three and five types for babies. Also, if the new product is not a potentially allergic food, only one or a maximum of two should be added. In this way, it is possible to quickly detect what causes the rejection reaction in the baby’s body: intolerance, allergies, etc.

On the other hand, this is another process that must be approached calmly, step by step, although the goal of the newborn is to tolerate the food in pieces without going through it. This is particularly difficult for parents who choose the BLW method known as Baby Led Weaning, in which solid foods are introduced directly without going through the “puree phase”. Regardless of the chosen feeding method, you should always keep in mind which ingredients are more dangerous to feed in pieces: the apple, the carrot, and especially the nuts. With the latter, the recommendations have changed; Not long ago it was not given to them until they were three years old. However, it is currently recommended that you try them early as the risk of allergy is limited. However, you always have to offer them to the crushed little one. This is the only way to avoid possible suffocation.

When to introduce each food

In the AEPED Supplementary Feeding Guide, the food groups that can be introduced between six and twelve months are clearly listed. All of them are the most important in the Mediterranean diet: from fruits and vegetables, except for green leafy vegetables, which according to health experts must wait a year to eat due to the risk of methemoglobinemia, to meat or fish for eggs or the hen. Also olive oil. In any case, the order of introduction is not critical, it can be adapted to the circumstances of each family, provided that the above conditions are respected, with the separation of several days between one new ingredient and another.

The second big change in the diet occurs at twelve months, as the ratios between food and milk begin to balance and health professionals are already recommending including animal milk in the diet. The same occurs with its derivatives, including cheese and yogurt, which are recommended to always be natural, or when they are not, to avoid sweeteners and other elements that are harmful to health that are part of the composition of flavored yogurt. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and chard can also be included in your child’s diet.

Eating habits

As for the rest, you can drink water from six months to avoid that the baby does not want to drink the milk he needs, so it is strongly recommended to drink according to the instructions of the AEPED guide. Avoid ultra-processed and sweetened products as much as possible. Baby’s sense of taste is more tolerant of sweetness, but his brain has no history of disease, so now it’s easy to adapt to more natural, healthier flavors. Later, since you have tried these types of products in excess, it will cost you more to eliminate them from your diet. If you try to change your eating habits in adulthood, you will know what we are talking about.