When a child reaches its first half a year, he is becoming more skillful. He can now openly show what he likes and what he doesn’t like. A child that is breastfed benefits from breast milk and long-term breastfeeding (up to two years or longer) is always recommended.
Starting with solid foods
Whether your baby is breastfed or not, we should usually start adding solid foods or additional liquids after his sixth month of age. We can start earlier if he is hungry, but never do so before his 17th week of age. Waiting to add other liquids or solid foods until the seventh month is not really beneficial for the baby. For a breastfed child, breast milk is the best way to go for the whole first six months.
We should not give a baby under the age of four months (whether it is breastfed or not) anything more, not even juice of tea! Breast milk (and formula) has enough vitamin C, so juices aren’t needed.
We should start with only a teaspoon-full
We start with only a small amount before noon breastfeeding or drinking. Typically, the first solid foods are purees from one type of vegetable. Give your child a sweet, soft, mashed vegetable cooked in unsalted water – you can use carrots, parsley, potatoes, broccoli cauliflower, etc. At first we only serve one type of vegetable.
It’s enough to mash the vegetable with a fork, because if a child gets used to very finely mashed foods, he may later refuse tougher pieces.
Be patient! You should consider one or two fully swallowed teaspoons a success. After that, breastfeed him or feed him infant formula. Some children need about 10-20 tries of a certain food before they like the taste.
Introducing more flavors in the foods
In the next three to four days you can introduce another type of vegetable. Such a time gap is needed to fully recognize if the baby likes or can handle a certain food item. You can now mix the previously tried out vegetable with meat, and slowly raise the amount of solid foods given to the baby at the expense of milk. Meat is a very important source of iron, protein and fatty acids.
Between the second and the third week, replace “noon milk” with solid foods. Of course, such scenario will not be a possibility with all children and that is fine. The result is, that a baby will get 150-200 grams of meat-and-vegetable soup at noon (instead of breast milk or formula) six times a week.
Meat & egg yolk
At first, the amount of lean and finely cut meat per dose should be one tablespoon (about 20g); later, from the seventh month, we slowly raise to two tablespoons (about 40 g) per dose. Once a week it`s good to replace the meat-and-vegetable soup with chicken egg yolk (or twice a week a vegetable soup with a half of yolk). The yolk must be cooked in boiling water to prevent any bacterial disease. Egg white is not suitable for children under one year of age.
After introducing meat and vegetables – or during that time – we can start feeding our baby fruit puree and cereal porridge. These can replace evening milk.
The purchased porridge should say what type of cereal it is made of and what age it should be served from. The porridge either contains milk and has to be diluted with water, or it’s without milk, which has to be added.
Porridge and other foods that contain gluten (flour and flour products, semolina pudding) should ideally be introduced while the baby is still being breasted, but never before his fourth month of age. At that time, the mucous membrane is not mature enough to handle gluten.
Rice does not contain gluten, so rice porridge can be served earlier (for example when treating infant diarrhea).
9. – 10. Month
In regards to growing teeth, we include tougher foods, soft cooked vegetables and larger pieces of meat during the ninth month. This is to help support chewing. We also start handing the child his food, so he can hold it alone (like a roll or a piece of bread) and practice chewing.
As for side dishes, we can try feeding our baby different types of coarsely chopped pasta (spaghetti, egg noodles, etc.). During this time, when solid foods are a big part of the diet and contain less water, we add about 200 ml of infant water to the babies diet. Children that are not breastfed should drink about a double of that amount (around 400ml)
The amount of milk a baby should drink during this time should be about 400 ml a day.
Fruit juices should be fed in smaller amounts (primarily to vary the diet), at around 120-150 ml a day. Later, when the child is a toddler, you can raise to 250ml a day.
Cottage cheese in the foods
Cow milk and dairy products such as cottage cheese are not suitable for children under one year of age. They are too heavy on the organism and a cow’s milk protein can be a source of some later allergies. The only thing recommended is yoghurt with fruit that can be fed to an 8-9th month old child.
10. – 12. Month
At this time, the child’s diet starts looking more and more similar to the diet of a toddler. Daily intake of meat can be raised to three tablespoons a day. Pasteurized milk can be introduced at tenth month, but not as a drink, but only as additional “food”.
Foods should not be salted or sweetened
Not even fruit should be sweetened. Fruit contains fruit sugar and so additional sugar could burden the organism, increase tooth decay and provide too much extra energy. Also, a child could then refuse non-sweetened food. Salted foods place heavy demands on the kidneys, which are still being developed.
We should avoid artificial preservatives in the foods, artificial sweeteners, ketchup and mustard.