The 4 Most Frequent Doubts About Complementary Feeding
Is your baby already 6 months old and ready to start incorporating new foods? Here are the most frequent doubts about complementary feeding.
The start of complementary feeding is a critical point at the dietary level, as the nutritional needs of little ones increase and it’s crucial to satisfy them. This isn’t only important when it comes to ensuring proper growth, but also to avoid certain diseases. However, it’s not always easy to implement complementary feeding and its implementation may raise some doubts. For this reason, we’ll try to resolve the most frequent doubts about complementary feeding in order to make life easier for new parents. Don’t miss this article!
Frequent doubts about complementary feeding of babies
The first thing to be clear on is that it’s best to follow the instructions of your pediatrician regarding the right time to introduce foods to your child. Some foods may not be appropriate for the first stages for several reasons: They’re potentially allergenic or have a high risk of choking, among other issues.
Now, let’s clear up the most frequent doubts about complementary feeding. Take note!
1. What food should complementary feeding start with?
There’s no universal consensus about the best food to start this process. What we do know is that it’s important to ensure adequate protein intake from the early stages of life, because children need more of it in this stage of high growth.
For this reason, a good option is to start with lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and even some easily digestible fish. Of course, they must always be well cooked to limit microbiological risk.
At first, it’s best to introduce foods one at a time and with a space of 2 or 3 days between each one in order to check if your child tolerates them well. If so, foods that they’ve already tried and have tolerated well can be mixed.
2. Is it better to offer mashed or solid food?
Traditionally, babies started complementary feeding with mashed food or “puree” in order to facilitate chewing and swallowing, as well as to reduce the risk of choking and limit the fear of new parents.
However, nowadays many specialists have begun to focus on the importance of offering whole foods from day one in this process. According to the well-known baby-led weaning method, you need to let your baby handle solid foods so that they get used to the different textures and are more likely to accept them.
This technique offers multiple benefits for the health and development of the little ones. To name just a few, it helps reduce food refusals in the future, which translates into a more varied and healthier diet for life.
According to a study published in the Italian Journal of Pediatrics, baby-led weaning is considered a safe method, as long as it’s done under supervision.
3. How much should a baby eat?
Babies have an excellent innate ability to self-regulate their intake. For this reason, food should be offered on-demand, in the same way as breast milk. And in this sense, it’s important to respect when the child shows that they’re done eating, even if it seems to you that they’ve eaten very little.
Another important fact is that complementary feeding doesn’t replace breastfeeding, so this nutrition source may be enough for the child at certain times of the day and generate fullness. So, if your baby is usually regular with their milk feedings and rejects food right after nursing, the next time you can try to wait between nursing and meals.
4. When can you start introducing sugar?
The feeding guides of scientific societies recommend avoiding added sugars in children under two years of age. However, some lower-quality formula milks include them among their ingredients. For this reason, it’s crucial to read labeling carefully to choose an optimal product.
As a general rule, the presence of simple sugars should be reduced in the diet of children of all ages. Regular consumption of sweets or juices during the early stages of life increases the risk of type 2 diabetes in the future.
Therefore, it’s always best to opt for fresh foods with high nutritional density.
It’s essential to optimize complementary feeding to improve the health of infants
In order to maintain good health over the years, it’s important to establish a good feeding pattern from the beginning of feeding.
As much as possible, it’s important to include different fresh foods in the dietary pattern to achieve a varied diet. This way, deficits of essential nutrients that condition the proper functioning of the human organism are avoided.
Finally, remember that from the early stages of life, it’s essential to promote good lifestyle habits. Not only in terms of nutrition but also to ensure a good night’s rest and regular physical exercise. Achieving a good body composition will help prevent many complex diseases in the long term.