The general principles for weaning your baby and introducing solids:
For babies who are breastfed only, we must start solid foods after 6 months. Between 4-6 months if you think that your baby’s weight gain is not enough, continue to breastfeed only, and consult with your pediatrician before introducing solid foods. For babies fed by formula, you can start with infant rice cereal at 4 months and introduce yogurt at 5 months. But I recommend not introducing vegetables and fruits before 6 months.
Please remember, in this period, solid foods are only complementary to breastfeeding. If possible, between 6-8 months, 70-80% of the energy needed per day must be through breastfeeding. That means if your breast milk and the weight gain is satisfactory and if your baby enjoys breastfeeding, give only 2 meals of solid foods and continue breastfeeding. But as your baby gets used to different tastes, you can choose each day alternately 2 of 4 different meals, like vegetables, fruits, rice cereals and yogurt.
It is very common during the first few trials, that your baby will reject the spoon with his or her tongue. It is an involuntary reflex, that will end until 6-7 months. It doesn’t mean the baby didn’t like solid foods.
The best way to assess the adequacy of feeding is the weight change. In order to track weight gain, you should visit your pediatrician for regular health controls.
Solids are very valuable for nutrition and also they provide your baby a way to discover gradually new pleasures and tastes, different food consistencies. Foods introduced in this period are fruits and vegetables purees, rice cereals, yogurt, cheese, egg, jam, biscuits and breads for babies.
- You should start solid foods with a small amount and with spoon and then we proceeded to a full meal.
- You have to try new food when your child is hungry before any food that he is more used to, such as breast milk or infant formula.
- Don’t hurry: In order to avoid food allergies, you must introduce one new food, every 3-4 days.
- Pay attention to food allergies. Check your baby for any symptoms before continuing with suspect foods.
- Never give a pacifier dipped in sugar or jam.
- If your child doesn’t like some important foods, try them repeatedly every 2-3 weeks.
- Be sure that the food you give your baby are clean and freshly prepared.
- Respect the appetite of your little baby.
- Until 12th months, you should boil water and cool it down before giving to your baby.
Foods which are forbidden until your baby is one year old:
Cow’s milk (even bottles, pasteurized milk-tetrapacques: all are the different types of cow’s milk). Honey, strawberry, nuts such as hazelnut, peanut etc.. Seafood with the exception of fish should not be given also until the 12th month. If there is no allergies, after the 8th month , walnuts can be given, because of their high amount of omega 3 oil, until the time when fish can be introduced. (You can crush and mix walnuts in yogurt or fruit puree)
The first solid foods:
After the 6th month you can start with apple, peach, banana. Begin with 1-2 teaspoons, increase gradually. They can be mixed with grape juice and after 8 months even with tangerine or orange juice.
Preparation: Depending on the season the first introduced fruits are unsweetened apple, banana or peach. Wash the fruits thoroughly, peel and mash them with a fork or blender. You can mix them with yogurt and it can be a total meal. In order to prevent dental cavities, don’t give fruit juice in a bottle.
If breast milk is not enough we introduce rice cereal at 4-6 months, if it is sufficient at 6 months. Generally it is a night meal, according to the hours of sleep we give at 10 pm or 12 pm, it can help parents because it will help the baby sleep longer .
Preparation: Cook 1 glass of water and 3 teaspoons of rice flour, after cooling, add 6 units of infant formula. We can also give cereal formula. In order to prevent Celiac disease, the powder of different grains must be added to diet after 7 months.
We can introduce at 4-6 months. In general it is an afternoon meal. But it can be also given as an evening meal instead of rice cereal.
Two weeks after introducing rice cereal, begin vegetable puree with 1-2 teaspoons and increase gradually. Start with bland, semi-liquidfoods with a smooth, creamy consistency.
The first trials are prepared with carrot, potato and 1 teaspoon of rice. After the first week 1 teaspoon of olive oil can be added. For urmet babies who don’t like this simple puree, you can add butter instead of olive oil or a little Labneh cheese. But you should never add salt in vegetable purees.
After the 3rd week you can enrich the content of the puree by adding different seasonal vegetables. When we have so many different types of vegetables, you can prepare different double and triple vegetable combinations.
You can store 1-2 days in the refrigerator, but for green vegetables like spinach, chard,parsley etc.. they should be instantly consumed, so that their vitamins and minerals are not lost. And also purees and soups containing green vegetables should not be heated too much, or heated more than once.
At the 4th week, to provide the iron need, a tablespoon of ground beef should be added into the puree.