According to the Ministry of Health and the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics, breast milk (or infant formula, if breastfeeding has not been possible) provides the little one's nutrition before this period. It is even recommended that it continue to be offered as an alternative to breastfeeding.supplement until the child is two years old.
Below, see what care is needed to make the introduction of food happen in the most complete and respectful way for the baby.
Read more: Is a feeding bottle recommended and safe for babies after all?
How to do the introduction of food?
Besides the need for more nutrients from the sixth month of life on, the little one's body is also already more prepared at this stage for the change in his feeding. For example, he can already sit up, support his head and trunk, and has more reflex to swallow (avoiding choking) as well as his stomach is more mature.
The Ministry of Health also warns that offering solid foods before the age of six months can be harmful to the child. According to the "Food Guide for Brazilian Children Under the age of Two", the practice increases the risk of the child getting sick and tends to interfere with the absorption of important nutrients present in breast milk, such as iron and zinc.
Thus, with the arrival of the sixth month of life of the little one, one should prioritize foods unprocessed Thus, those that are classified as processed and ultra-processed are not indicated for introducing baby food.
When it's time to offer them, it is recommended that the introduction to food begins with the food being mashed with a fork. Then, the food should be chopped into small pieces, scraped or shredded so that, then, the process of chewing begins. Therefore, they should not be beaten in a blender, a mixer, or even sifted.
Finally, you should not encourage your child to eat while using a cell phone, computers, tablets, or even watching television. Otherwise, the practice may cause the child not to pay attention to what he is eating, which can later lead to problems such as loss of control of the hunger and satiety mechanism, and excessive weight gain.
Read more: How do you clean baby's tongue and mouth?
The foods that should be included in the introduction to food
Fruits are excellent for baby's health. They are rich in vitamins, minerals as well as fiber and antioxidants. In addition, they contain a lot of water, which helps hydrate the baby. So, good choices from this category for introducing baby's food are:
In short, they should be offered mashed, scraped or in small pieces as the baby develops. In addition, they can also be boiled or baked. However, no sugar of any kind should be used in these preparations.
In the case of grapes, for example, one should remove the stone of the food and divide it into two to four smaller pieces.
Also according to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health, babies cannot consume fruit juice until they are one year old, but between one and three years old, they should not drink more than 120 ml per day if the drink is natural and has no added sugar.
Read more: Healthy childhood diet reduces risk of disease in adulthood
Vegetables and greens
Like fruits, vegetables and legumes are also excellent ways to introduce solid foods to the baby. They are sources of important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which help the baby's bowel function. Some options of vegetables ideal for baby consumption are:
Initially, the baby tends to find it more difficult to eat raw vegetables, but there are no contraindications in offering them after proper hygiene.
Read more: Broccoli: Reasons to eat it every day
Roots and tubers
This category of foods is primarily a source of carbohydrates. In smaller proportions, they also have fiber, vitamins, and minerals. In short, the following options can be cooked or prepared in the form of purees, homemade pasta, and farofas:
- Sweet potato;
Read more: Potato or rice: which carbohydrate is better?
Rich in protein, fiber, iron, zinc, and B vitamins, legumes can be offered to the baby as early as six months of age. Thus, the main options in this category are:
The only guideline is that, to avoid gas, the beans should be soaked for eight to 12 hours before being prepared.
Read also: Cooking shows encourage healthy eating in children
Finally, grains as well as cereals can also be part of a child's dietary introduction, because they are sources of carbohydrates, fiber, minerals, and vitamins, especially those that are whole grain.
According to the Ministry of Health, popcorn should not be part of the food offered to children before the age of two. During this period, the child may choke and suffocate on the kernels.
Later, there is the possibility of introducing meats, milk, and their by-products into the infant diet.
Read more: After all, why avoid industrialized baby food?
After all, what is the quantity of food by age group?
At the same time that caregivers need to know the recommended foods during the introduction of food, it is important that they also know the guidelines regarding the amount of food that should be offered to the little one in each age group. Below, see the guidelines according to the Ministry of Health's food guide:
- Six months: two to three tablespoons of food in total;
- Between seven and eight months: three to four tablespoons of the food in total;
- From nine to 11 months: four to five tablespoons of food in total;
- Between one and two years: five to six tablespoons of food in total.
Read more: Introducing food: Tips on how to make it easier
I ntroducing food: what should not be part of the process
In contrast to the foods that should be part of the introduction to food, there are also those that it is not advisable to consume. In general, it is preferable to avoid processed foods in any case, but especially when it comes to feeding babies.
Therefore, any food that may contain excess sugar and salt, preservatives, artificial colors or sweeteners is not recommended. Therefore, the little ones should not eat and/or drink: soft drinks, fast food, frozen food, coffee and caffeinated beverages, sausage and similar meats, snacks and candy.
Artificial "papinhas" are also not recommended. According to the Ministry of Health, they are not indicated because they have a texture that does not encourage chewing as well as all the ingredients are mixed in the same pot. Therefore, the child cannot perceive the different flavors that are being presented to him.
Virtual Health Library - Ministry of Health
Brazilian Society of Pediatrics
Society of Pediatrics in Distrito Federal