- Food diversification, what does it mean?
- Until what age should you give him bottles?
- 4 tips for getting started with food
- What foods to offer your baby first
- Try the DME experience!
Around 4 to 6 months begins for babies and their parents the great period of food diversification. 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 by the gradual reduction in bottle feeding or breastfeeding.
Food diversification, what does it mean?
Baby is no longer an infant, he is growing and his needs and desires change almost every day. His nutritional needs first become more important as he learns to move. Quickly also, his desires change. Your child, more and more curious, sees you eat and wants to imitate you by tasting what is on your plate.
If he happens to pushing away the bottle, refusing to breastfeed, or reaching for your meal, maybe it's a good time. You can start diversifying.
Until what age should you give him bottles?
If dietary diversification comes in addition to 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 forces you to give up the sweet bottle time or breastfeeding. Besides, there is no no contraindication for children to drink milk (breast or infant formula) as long as they express the desire or the need for it. It is enough to see with what pleasure the little ones of two or three years 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 suckling on demand as long as the child is hungry. You can also express your milk and give it to the bottle equipped with a physiological teat to avoid breast/bottle confusion.
Milk, the essential for babies
|Infant age||Amount of milk per bottle||Number of bottles per day|
|0 to 1 month||50-60ml||8 to 10|
|1 to 2 months||120-160ml||5 to 6|
|2 to 3 months||150-180ml||5|
|3 to 4 months||180-210ml||4|
|4 to 5 months||210-240ml||4|
|From 6 months||225 ml||4|
|After diversification||About 600ml/day||2 to 4|
Then, for 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 it happen to him chewing hands, toys or spoon ? (Except for teething.)
- Does he advance opening the mouth when you offer him to eat?
Did you answer "yes" to each question? So, if your baby's pediatrician or doctor agrees, you can start diversifying and gradually reduce the bottles.
A period of transition between bottles/breastfeeding and diversification
According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, exclusive breastfeeding is enough to cover the nutritional needs of a baby from birth to 6 months of age. You can then gradually introduce the foods, one at a time and at first, in very small quantities.
During this transitional period from a 100% milk diet to solid foods, you may encounter some difficulties: transient constipation, refusal of certain tastes or certain textures, fatigue due to sitting... patience and to stay tuned. Your child doesn't want mashed carrots? Claims his bottle body and screams? Very well ! You will try again together later.
4 tips for getting started with food
Until now between baby and his stomach, it was only a question of formula milk and bottles, or breast milk taken to the breast. The arrival of carrots, peas and other colorful apples will change everything. To make the meeting go as smoothly as possible, here are some tips to follow.
- Do not start diversification too early, wait until your baby is curious if possible what's on your plate.
- Advance step by step watching for your child's reactions.
- Offer a new taste, a new texture, a new smell or a new object (spoon, cup, straw…) at the same time.
- keep at least 500 ml of milk/day up to around 1 year, then adapt the quantity to the needs of your young child.
What foods to offer your baby first?
Depending on his bottle or breast habits before the start of diversification, your child will gradually increase from 6 to 5 daily food intakes, then from 5 to 4 that you will set at breakfast, lunch, snack and of dinner. To facilitate the acquisition of these new habits, offer him vegetables and fruits that are easy to like.
Vegetables that babies like
At first, children rather appreciate mild and sweet flavors. Fortunately, the variety of vegetables allows them to discover colorful and tasty vegetables quite quickly, such as carrots, sweet potatoes or parsnips.
As for green vegetables, beans, courgettes (peeled and drained) or asparagus may interest them.
For preparation, always prefer a boiling or steaming without salt to preserve the taste of each new food. The vegetables must finally be finely blended, especially at the beginning, until they produce a creamy, easy-to-eat puree.
Fruits to taste
Nothing very complicated here. Small babies as long as they like them, can eat all fruit from the orchard if ripe enough. Eaten raw or cooked in the morning or at noon, and again finely blended and free of skin and seeds, fruits do not need any added sugar.
Around around 9 months and if baby accepts them, you can switch to fruit mashed with a fork – banana, strawberry, melon… – but always chosen very ripe and presented without the skin or seeds.
Don't forget the meat
In limited quantity (10 grams per day), but regular, proteins are just as interesting to discover. All meats, including cooked ham without rind and all boneless fish, can be offered first mixed and then very finely crushed, to babies from 8 months. The fresh eggs as for them, must be eaten hard at the rate of a maximum of a quarter each day.
Do not forget ! First of all, diversification is not there to supplement or enrich your baby's nutritional intake. Indeed, the quantities ingested are initially too small. It is mainly aboutawaken their taste buds, make them discover the pleasure of taste and teach them good eating habits, which he will keep throughout his life.
Try the DME experience!
Because the classic method does not work or simply because you like to think outside the box, discover the Child-Led Diversification or DME. Still little known, but acclaimed by more and more families and even adopted by certain collective early childhood structures, the DME is based on a simple principle: that of letting the child make his own food choices and eat independently.
Exit the teaspoon, hello meals taken by hand! On a plate, arrange for example a branch of broccoli and a piece of zucchini cooked and at the right temperature, a slice of banana and a very ripe strawberry. That's all for you. It is 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, the coordination main-bouche, l’autonomy, the management of hunger and feelings of satiety, but also the pell-mell discovery of textures, smells and flavors.
On the parents' side, you discover more quickly the your child's preferences, you learn to to trust him and you enjoy a sight as cute as that of your baby drinking his first bottle alone.
Last advantage of the autonomous power supply? Just like food diversification, it is possible from 6 months, even if baby does not yet have teeth.