After months of exclusive breastfeeding or bottle-feeding with infant formula, your baby will have gained weight and height, and this means their need for nutrients and their appetite will also have grown. For this reason, and always following the advice of your paediatrician, this is the moment when you can complement their diet with other foods.
But how should I go about introducing new foods?
The answer is little by little. You have to introduce each new food separately so that your baby can become accustomed to the different flavours and textures. Ideally you should introduce one new type of food per week so you can see how they get used to it and tolerate it, as well as identify possible allergies or intolerances. But do ask your paediatrician, as he will be able to guide you.
At this age your baby will feed about five times a day and the texture of the food will go from liquid to thick fluid when you start introducing cereals. In the case of infant milks, the moment you introduce food is a good time to change from first-stage infant milk to follow-on formula, which you will be able to identify by the number 2 that appears on the tin, and which is adapted to the newly acquired nutritional needs of your baby.
Cereal baby food is in many cases the first food that is introduced in the baby's diet. At first you add them to infant milk or follow-on formula and feed them using the bottle. It is recommended that you start by adding one or two teaspoons in one of the formula feeds and then add an additional teaspoon each time. Little by little you will have to increase the quantity of cereals that you add until you reach the moment when the texture of the cereals is so dense that instead of feeding the formula using the bottle you will have to prepare the food in a bowl and feed it to your baby using a spoon.
At this stage you can use cereal baby food with no gluten, which is made from corn and rice and which may include some other ingredients in its composition, such as fruit. Baby food with gluten that contain cereals such as wheat, barley, oats, and rye should be introduced at a later stage, towards the 5th or 6th month.
One of the most important sources of vitamins. The different types of fruit are usually introduced one by one, leaving a gap of various days in-between in order to check that the baby tolerates them and to allow him to become accustomed to their aroma and flavour.
Usually it is good to start with oranges, apples, pears, or bananas avoiding those types of fruit that are considered more allergenic, such as strawberries or peaches, until at least one year of age.
Your paediatrician will tell you when you can start introducing vegetables, although it is common to start with purées that contain potatoes and carrots and then by the age of 6 months move on to courgettes, onions, and green beans. You can prepare them in the form of a purée, adding olive oil if you wish, but preferably no salt.
Vegetables tend to be the first non-sweet food babies eat, which is why it is sometimes difficult to get them to become accustomed to them. All we can recommend is patience. You might need to keep offering the vegetable purées repeatedly and change the combinations before your baby finally accepts them.
A trick that makes babies more readily accept vegetable purées and fruit is to start by diluting two or three spoonfuls of fruit or vegetable purée in the infant milk prepared in the bottle. Milk is a type of food they are already familiar with, so it can be used as a route to new food types.
Another option is to feed purée to your baby using a silicone spoon, since its texture is close to that of the bottle's teat and to that of the mother's breast, so it will feel warmer and more pleasant. Then you can continue with bottle-feeding, as in the beginning your baby will not eat a lot of solids. This is also the time when you can give your baby some water, especially when it is hot.
Introduction of solids from 3 to 6 months of age:
- FRUIT :: 4 to 6 months
- BABY FOOD WITHOUT GLUTEN :: 4 to 6 months