During the baby's first year, his diet changes dramatically. After exclusive breastfeeding or the bottle, you will gradually introduce the different foods into baby's meals. This is the start of the great adventure of food diversification. When to start and what foods to introduce? Find out our answers about infant food month by month.
1. Infant food from 0 to 4 months
1.1 Infant food when breastfeeding
The good news is, there is nothing better than breast milk for your baby. It contains everything it needs for its growth and proper development: proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins (all except K and D). Another significant advantage; breastfeeding provides the baby with antibodies that strengthen his immune system. He should thus have less risk of getting sick compared to a bottle-fed toddler. The nutritional qualities of breast milk can vary depending on your baby's needs. It's still great; on the practical side, you can breastfeed on demand, take advantage of it. Without exceeding 7 feedings per day.
1.2 Infant food with babies’ formula
Breast milk provides the best nutrition for infants, and breastfeeding is one of the most recommended methods for feeding newborns, but some factors can lead the mother to resort to using a formula for babies, and some mothers can combine breastfeeding with infant formula. If the mother cannot breastfeed, she must use infant formula fortified with iron. You should note that a nursing child needs between 60-90 milliliters of formula at each feeding. Often he will eat at a rate of every 3-4 hours during the first weeks of his life. Still, it is recommended at first to feed the baby formula milk when needed or when crying because of hunger, and with time the child grows up and will regulate the time of feeding automatically.
2. Infant food from 4 to 6 months
Your baby is 4 months old; it may be time for a change in diet with the start of food diversification. Other parents will prefer to wait 5-6 months. Which foods to start with?
2.1 Infant food at 4 months
A 4 months old baby weighs about 6 kilos. He eats an average of 5 daily bottles of 180 ml each. He does not currently have any teeth and does not know how to chew. However, since birth and today, the baby has had what is generally called the extrusion reflex, which prevents him from choking. This is because it pushes his tongue forward when a food or solid object enters its mouth. At 4 months, the baby is, therefore, not yet able to eat solid food.
2.2 Infant food; which foods to favor?
At only four months old, it is difficult to talk about food diversification. This is because the breast milk or infant milk you give to your child is more than enough for its healthy development until you marvel at your six-month-old baby. However, you can start to get your little one used to discovering new flavors from his fourth month.
You can start by introducing gluten-free infant flour into infant milk. Once this step is over, you can also add a little cooking broth to the milk. The alternative; prepare your bottle by adding a teaspoon of baby food or homemade puree. Mix everything well, and everything should appear uniform.
2.3 Infant food at 5 months
If you didn't start diversification at 4 months, you can start it at 5. At this age, the number of solid meals in his diet should not exceed two meals, with 6 feedings of milk.
You can give him;
- Gluten-free 1st age cereals
- Vegetables and fruits. You can offer him all vegetables (green beans, zucchini, carrots, etc.). Vary it every day. Initially, however, avoid those that are too rich in fiber or with too strong taste (cabbage, turnips, etc.)
2.4 Infant food at 6 months
Your 6 months old baby weighs around 7 kilograms. Under the effect of teething, its first tooth begins to appear. The lower central incisors are usually the first to come out. How can you be sure that your baby has his first tooth? At six months, your baby is surely a little cranky, may have loose stools, and a slight fever of less than 38 ° C. Want to relieve it? Give him a special teething massage.
Besides, the baby still has his extrusion reflex. It rejects all hard elements and can, therefore, only eat perfectly liquid food without lumps. So be sure to mix all the meals you give him.
To feed your 6 months' baby, prefer vegetables, which you will give to him in the form of mash. On the menu: broccoli, carrots, green beans, turnips, zucchini, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and potatoes. You can also offer your baby ham to mix in mash, for example, or pieces of turkey (white, grilled then mixed) as well as some lean fish such as hake, sea bream, or whiting, too well -cooked then mixed. Babies can also eat hard-boiled egg yolks from the age of 6 months. As for drinks, you can now offer your little one various juices such as orange juice, grapefruit juice, and citrus juices in general.
Related: Baby’s food recipes from 6 to 12 months
3. Infant food from 7 to 9 months
3.1 Infant food at 7 months
Your 7 months old baby is making a lot of progress! He begins to chew and may try to eat very small solid foods (grated, for example). However, your child may still have their extrusion reflex. So pay close attention to the first solid foods you give him because he may try to reject them for fear of choking. Go slowly, little by little. If the first solid foods are not for this month, Baby will taste them next month. On the other hand, teething continues, and new teeth start to appear: the lateral incisors.
3.2 Infant food to introduce at 7 months
- Cooked cheeses made from pasteurized milk. For all other cheeses, wait one year.
- Cooked seafood. It is important to give it as soon as possible to reduce the risk of allergy later.
- Nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, etc.) in finely mixed form in cookies or desserts.
- The oil, if it hasn't already. Choose it based on its intake of omega 3 and 6. For a baby, the intake of omega 6 should be 6 times greater than that of omega 3, but not more. Too much omega 6 can lead to an increased risk of obesity and metabolic diseases. Avoid sunflower oil, which only contains omega 6. Use rapeseed, walnut, or even soybean oil. Olive oil is especially interesting in terms of taste but provides very little omega 3 and 6.
Butter and sour cream can replace the oil in your baby's mash from time to time. Be careful, the butter must be raw (or heated) but not cooked. Indeed, fried foods produce trans-fatty acids harmful to the cardiovascular level.
The crouton of bread. Kids love it! Give your baby a piece of crouton, 5-7 cm long by 3-4 cm wide, which he will put in his mouth. He will be able to suck it and chew it. A great way to discover that food is not always mixed. This is essential learning! To avoid the risk of suffocation, when the piece of bread becomes too small, take it back.
3.3 Infant food at 8 months
At 8 months, the discovery of food continues. You can start to add cereal products such as buckwheat, croutons of bread, cereals with cocoa. You can do the same with new meats such as horse (grilled and mixed) or guinea fowl (roasted then mixed). As for vegetables, lentils, flageolet beans, red beans (canned or very cooked), and white beans, you can also use cauliflower or celery in the form of mash.
Baby's 8 months are also an opportunity for you to introduce him to new fruits such as fresh pineapple, strawberries, melon, raspberries, and even grated coconut, which you can mix and give him in a compote.
3.4 Infant food at 9 months
This month begins the fourth phase of infant feeding and the big change for baby at 9 months. You can now give him pieces, even if he has only 2 to 6 teeth. However, some will have already started integrating pieces as early as last month.
At this age, you can give to your baby jam, industrial fruit compote, chocolate or cocoa cereals, and ripe, raw fruits. As for vegetables, don't hesitate to offer him button mushrooms, celeriac and celery leaves in mash form. You can also give baby's dishes a little more flavor with garlic and aromatic herbs (basil, tarragon, chives).
4. Infant food from 10 to 12 months
Your 10 months old baby is celebrating the arrival of his first molars this month! A great novelty on the dental flare. His incisors also continue to grow, so your baby may be a little cranky from the pain. What to do about teething? Opt for the special small teeth massage. Despite these small inconveniences, these new teeth allow the baby to better accept the pieces in his purees and the little bits of certain raw fruits. But above all, do not rush things if the baby refuses to eat, give him very small pieces, and gradually increase the size of the food.
At 10 months, the baby continues to diversify in food. You can give him new vegetables such as rhubarb, sweet corn, or even broccoli, provided the purees are well prepared. The ripe and mashed avocado will also please your baby's taste buds. From 10 months, you can vary its compotes by now adding grapes, raspberries, and strawberries. On the grain side, oats, rye, and barley are now allowed.
Baby's tenth month is also an opportunity to introduce him to the liver and sardines in canned olive oil (to be served crumbled, in a mash, for example).
4.1 Infant food at 11 months
At 11 months, there are no new foods. Take advantage of this period to add foods recommended during the previous months to your child's meals that you have not yet had the opportunity to give him. You will thus discover a little better his food preferences and be able to adapt your recipes to your baby's tastes.
4.2 Infant food at 12 months
Your 12 months old baby is more and more enjoying eating alone like a grown-up, with his hands ... On the other hand, his teething continues, and he chews better and better thanks to his incisors and first molars. So you no longer have to mix all of the baby's food and can give him smaller or larger pieces.
Make sure to give your baby enough protein, especially with mutton or fatty fish such as salmon or tuna. For the fish, choose fresh pieces (not frozen) that you will cook and then mix. Now that your baby is one-year-old, you can also offer him corn flakes that you will let soften in the milk. Rice grains are also allowed. On the sweet side, blackberries and citrus fruit in small pieces are now available to your child and honey, but only in small quantities to sweeten their dairy products. It will be necessary to wait until his 15 months to give him honey on a toast. As for alternative sugars such as sweeteners, they are naturally prohibited.
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Originally published on Live Positively.