Parents usually look forward to the moment when they can start complementary foods. But for many dads and moms, such innovations in a child's life are fraught with considerable challenges.
This is due to the numerous sources of information. What should you give your baby - juice or puree? Someone recommends introducing new food gradually, while someone considers this approach obsolete and recommends giving full portions.
Poor moms get confused about the many food advice. This is why some common myths about complementary foods need to be debunked and practice and common sense should be followed.
It is necessary to introduce complementary foods as soon as the child has the first teeth. Classic textbooks on pediatrics say that the first tooth should erupt in a child by the first six months of life. But why and to whom does he "owe" exactly by this date, with which the beginning of complementary feeding is associated? After all, every person, and even more so a child, is individual. Almost all children develop with deviations from the classical norms. Someone eventually has the first incisor by 4 months, and there are those who have it by the age of one. That is why there is no need to rush or be late with complementary foods.
The main indicator of a child's readiness for complementary foods is the age of the baby. This statement is only partly true. You should not deal with a variety of classic dairy foods in principle by six months of life. It is believed that children on artificial food can start trying adult food a month earlier than infants. By that time, the child's digestive system is already mature enough that it is ready to digest food other than the usual milk. But it is necessary to take into account not only age, but also some other indicators. The baby should have the first baby teeth, its weight should at least double compared to what it was at birth. The baby should be absent from the push-out reflex, and he should already learn to sit, maybe with a little support from adults. The child should be able to look away if he does not like the food offered to him or if he is already full. But the most important criterion is the baby's interest in new food. It is assumed that he will watch with interest how adults eat and try to put pieces of food into his mouth.
Juices should be the first complementary food for the child. About 15 years ago, it was juices that were considered the best option for complementary foods. It was even recommended to give them from the age of three months. This was due to the fact that most of the children then ate artificial food. And the mixtures in those days simply did not contain the necessary complex of nutrients, so a vitamin supplement was required. And the juice was more perceived as a drink, and not as food. That is, they simply replaced the water, giving them a lot at once. It was believed that juice is somewhat similar to milk, so it will be easier for a child to get used to this liquid innovation in his menu. But pediatricians noticed that juices irritate the child's stomach, still young and lead to allergic reactions. This is not surprising given that the liquid is essentially a concentrated squeeze from several fruits. This is why juices are not considered the best starting point for complementary foods. It is better to include in the diet puree from yellow-green fruit varieties. This delicious food really diversifies the baby's diet, because it contains a lot of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, which will help digestion to establish its work.
It is better to start complementary feeding in the summer. It makes sense that in summer it is much easier to include fresh fruits and vegetables in complementary foods. But not everyone has their own garden. And a coincidence is required in the summer of a whole series of factors: the child must be six months old, have his own garden. That is why complementary foods should not be timed to coincide with any season of the year, even if fertile. This step should be started when the child is already six months old and clearly needs complementary foods.
Children on artificial food should begin to feed as early as three months, and should start with cereals. Here two myths converged at once. It is believed that artificial children should receive complementary foods just a month earlier, that is, at the age of 5.1-5.5 months. And then you just need to follow the standard complementary feeding schedule. First, start with fruit and vegetable purees, then introduce cereals into the diet, and then meat, eggs, crackers. It is possible to start complementary foods with cereals only if the baby is clearly not gaining weight.
It is better to introduce kefir into complementary foods as early as possible. And this statement is also a delusion. It is pointless to argue about the benefits of kefir. However, today there is an official point of view that this product should be introduced into the children's menu, starting from 8-9 months. If you do this earlier, then the babies may disrupt the work of the intestines, which will entail the formation of inflammation and irritation on its walls. And where this myth came from is easy to understand. The fact is that in Soviet times, the children's menu was not very diverse, one could only dream of yoghurts and fruits. So they began to use kefir as a complementary food. It should also be understood that in those days there were dairy kitchens where special kefir was prepared, implying its use by babies. Today, kefir for a child can be prepared at home. And when choosing this fermented milk product in the store, you should opt for a special children's product.
If a child refuses a product, then he does not like it. If the child refuses, for example, from green vegetables, then you should not dramatize the situation. Any complementary food, even if it is prepared very carefully and from the freshest products, looks somehow frightening and tasteless for the baby. Indeed, even we often refuse food unfamiliar to us, not trying to taste obviously inedible things. That is why you should not force mashed potatoes into a child. This will result in screaming, crying, spitting out food, and then washing the furniture. If the baby does not want and is not ready to accept complementary foods, then so be it. He has every right to his own preferences and feelings. And there is nothing wrong if complementary foods are replaced this time with the usual mother's milk. It is worth remembering that any innovations in the diet affect babies much more strongly than adults. In this case, it is worth showing patience - to offer the child another vegetable, and the one that is rejected, just give it in a week. It is possible that the opinion of the little one will already change.
Children themselves know what they need to eat. Do not think that children have any mystical knowledge in the range of products. They themselves cannot choose the food that suits their body best. That is why babies have to rely on their parents. They also deal with the diversity of the menu. Today, parents often resort to pedagogical complementary foods, when the child receives a small piece of food from the plate of dad or mom.
Uneaten complementary foods can be reheated and reused. It is worth remembering that the healthiest food is the one that is just cooked. And children under the age of one year should not be given preheated food. And the baby does not need much, he needs very little food. It is quite possible to make mashed potatoes not from a whole fruit or vegetable, but from a piece of it. Heating kills almost all vitamins and trace elements, so such food for the baby will be practically useless. Doctors do not advise giving the child to finish eating and canned puree, even if it has stood in the refrigerator. Even if most of the food is left over, it is better for the mother to eat it. The missing vitamins will come to the child with milk. It will be much more beneficial for both.
Salt, sugar, and spices are contraindicated for children at this age. Sugar or some cinnamon will look ridiculous in the diet of a six-month-old child. But for an older child, already around the year, it is quite possible to add a little salt or sugar to the dish if they refuse to eat it. But salt should not be consumed more than half a gram, and sugar - four grams. Even spices such as parsley or dill are acceptable. Greens are best chopped with a blender to add to minced meat or mashed potatoes. It is also better to pre-boil it in hot water.