Starting complementary feeding
Understanding complementary feeding
It is recommended to start with cereals and vegetables and then introduce fruits (if fruit is introduced at the same time as vegetables, the child may prefer the sweet taste and refuse the vegetables). The complementary feeding process involves 5 main stages:
1. Complementary feeding starts at between 4 and 6 months and no earlier because your baby’s digestive functions are still immature.
2. From 4 months, babies can swallow semi-liquid foods and their tongue movements become more coordinated.
3. From the 5th month, babies are capable of chewing and nibbling even if they don’t have any teeth.
4. From 7 months, babies are capable of holding their own food. This is a very important step when they can begin eating finger foods.
5. At 9 months, babies can swallow small lumps of food.
What’s the best way to begin complementary feeding without stressing your baby?
To avoid rushing your baby’s digestive development, it’s important not to introduce more than one new food every 2 to 3 days and to always give it in small amounts. If they refuse a food, don’t insist. It can take a baby weeks or even months to accept a new food, depending on the individual. Choose a quiet time. Avoid mornings when your baby is very hungry, or evenings when she is tired.
Introducing allergenic foods
It is recommended that allergenic foods be introduced one by one, at the ages of 4 to 6 months. Introducing these foods before the age of 4 months increases the risk of allergy. However, it appears that the risk may also be increased if they are introduced too late, after the age of 6 months. It is during this period that it is advised to introduce fish, egg, celery, kiwi, red fruits, exotic fruits, etc. Peanuts and seafood should also be offered without too much delay. You can find other articles on complementary feeding, along with our articles on “The stages of complementary feeding” and “Complementary feeding: what foods should you give your baby?”