La diversification alimentaire : par où commencer ? - Élhée

Dietary diversification: where to start?

Around 4 to 6 months The great period of dietary diversification begins for babies and their parents. Expected by some, feared by others, it is marked by the discovery of fruits and vegetables first in the form of compotes and purees, then in pieces, but also through gradual reduction of bottle feeding or breastfeeding .

What does dietary diversification mean?

Baby is no longer an infant, he is growing and his needs and desires change, almost every day. His nutritional needs initially become more important as he learns to move around. Also quickly, his desires change. Your child, increasingly curious, sees you eating and wants to imitate you by tasting what is on your plate.

If he happens to pushing away your bottle, refusing breastfeeding or reaching for your meal , this may be the right time. You can start diversifying.

The WHO recommends an exclusive milk diet for all babies until 6 months. However, the 4th month medical examination with the pediatrician naturally addresses the issue of dietary diversification. Take the opportunity to ask all the questions that come to mind to get this new learning experience with baby off to a good start!

Until what age should you give him bottles?

If dietary diversification complements breastfeeding, bottle-fed milk or mixed breastfeeding on average from 5 months, it is no coincidence. Between 4 and 6 months, voluntary swallowing begins . Babies then naturally acquire the coordination necessary to eat solid foods.

However, nothing obliges you to abandon the sweet moment of the bottle or breastfeeding. Moreover, there is no no contraindication to children drinking milk (breast milk or infant formula) as long as they express the desire or need for it . Just see with what pleasure two or three year olds still take a bottle of milk in the morning, as a snack or for their evening meal.

As an indication and because each child is different, here is a table of the quantities of milk and number of daily bottles according to age, from birth to 6 months. Because it is more difficult to quantify the volume of feeding for a breastfed baby, the principle remains feeding on demand as long as the child is hungry. You can also express your milk and give it to the baby bottle equipped with a physiological teat to avoid breast/bottle confusion.

Milk, essential for babies

Age of infant Amount of milk per bottle Number of bottles per day
0 to 1 month 50 to 60 ml 8 to 10
1 to 2 months 120 to 160 ml 5 to 6
2 to 3 months 150 to 180 ml 5
3 to 4 months 180 to 210 ml 4
4 to 5 months 210 to 240 ml 4
From 6 months 225ml 4
After diversification About 600 ml/day 2 to 4

Then, for To know if it is time to add compotes and other purees to the menu , ask yourself the following questions.

  • Baby is he holding sitting alone ? (In his high chair for example.)
  • Does he happen to bite your hands, toys or spoon ? (Apart from teething.)
  • Does he advance in opening your mouth when you offer him food?

Did you answer “yes” to each question? So, if your baby's pediatrician or doctor agrees, you can start diversifying and gradually reduce the number of bottles.

A transition period between bottles/breastfeeding and diversification

According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, exclusive breastfeeding is sufficient to cover the nutritional needs of a baby from birth to 6 months of age. You can then gradually introduce foods, one by one and at first, in very small quantities.

During this transitional period from a 100% milk diet to solid foods, you may encounter some difficulties: temporary constipation, refusal of certain tastes or certain textures, fatigue due to sitting, etc. The main thing then is to demonstrate be patient and stay tuned. Does your child not want carrot puree? Demands his bottle loudly and loudly? Alright ! You'll try again together later.

Trick ! If the change is a little too fast for your child, consider infant cereals. They are added to the milk in the bottle to give it a thicker consistency and a different taste. Also consider changing your pacifier (choose a model suitable for thick liquids) or risk loud protests when a meal is no longer quick enough.

4 tips for getting started with food

Élhée anti-colic and BPA-free baby bottle placed on a table

Until now, between baby and his stomach, it was only a question of formula milk and bottles, or breast milk taken from the breast. The arrival of carrots, peas and other colorful apples will change everything. To ensure that the meeting goes as smoothly as possible, here are some tips to follow.

  • Don't start diversifying too early, wait if possible until your baby is curious what's on your plate.
  • Move forward step by step by monitoring your child's reactions.
  • Offer a new taste, a new texture, a new smell or a new object (spoon, cup, straw, etc.) at a time.
  • Keep at least 500 ml of milk/day until approximately 1 year old , then adapt the quantity to the needs of your young child.

What foods should you offer your baby first?

Depending on his bottle or breast feeding habits before the start of diversification, your child will gradually move from 6 to 5 daily food intakes, then from 5 to 4 which you will schedule during breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. To make it easier to acquire these new habits, offer vegetables and fruits that are easy to like.

Vegetables that babies like

Initially, children prefer mild and sweet flavors. Fortunately, the variety of vegetables allows them to quickly discover colorful and tasty vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes or parsnips .

As for green vegetables, beans, zucchini (peeled and gutted) or asparagus may interest them.

For preparation, always prefer a cooking in water or steam without salt to preserve the taste of each new food. Finally, the vegetables must be finely blended, especially at the beginning, until you produce a smooth puree that is easy to eat.

Fruits to taste

Nothing very complicated here. Little babies as long as they like them, can eat all the fruits of the orchard if they are sufficiently ripe . Eaten raw or cooked in the morning or at midday, and again finely mixed and free of skin and seeds, the fruits have no need for added sugar.

Around 9 months and if baby accepts them, you can move on to fruits crushed with a fork – banana, strawberry, melon, etc. – but always chosen very ripe and presented without the skin or seeds.

Without forgetting the meat

In limited but regular quantities ( 10 grams per day ), proteins are just as interesting to discover. All meats , including ham cooked without rind and all fish without bones , can be offered first mixed then crushed very finely, to babies from 8 months. THE fresh eggs As for them, they must be consumed hard at a maximum rate of a quarter each day.

Do not forget ! Initially, diversification is not there to complete or enrich your baby's nutritional intake. In fact, the quantities ingested are initially too small. Above all, it is about awakening his taste buds, introducing him to the pleasure of taste and passing on good eating habits , which he will keep throughout his life.

Try the DME experience!

Because the classic method doesn't work or simply because you like to think outside the box, discover the Child-led diversification or DME . Still little known, but popular with more and more families and even adopted by certain collective early childhood structures, DME is based on a simple principle: that of letting the child make his or her own food choices and eat independently .

Exit the little spoon, hello meals taken by hand! On a plate, for example, place a branch of broccoli and a piece of zucchini cooked at the right temperature, a slice of banana and a very ripe strawberry. It's all for you. It's now up to baby to grab the foods that interest him and arouse his curiosity before bringing them to his mouth.

The DME is interesting in that it breaks the usual codes of diversification, promotes the development of fine motor skills , hand-mouth coordination , autonomy , management of hunger and the feeling of satiety , but also the discovery of textures, smells and flavors.

On the parents' side, you discover more quickly the preferences of your child , you learn to to trust him and you enjoy a spectacle as cute as that of your baby drinking his first bottle alone.

Last advantage of autonomous power supply? Just like dietary diversification, it is possible from 6 months, even if baby does not yet have teeth.

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