Diversification: what foods are good for baby?
When the moment comes to diversify baby's meals, parents are faced with many questions about what foods to introduce, about protein and fats, about the right quantities, and so on. And you will no doubt wonder if particular foods are "good" for your child. We've got all the information you need!
Varying food: everything at the right time.
From 6 months, a baby can start to eat "solids", which means they can have things other than milk, often a puréed food to avoid getting it wrong. Take things slowly, one food at a time, in what is known as dietary diversification.
So, a 6-month-old baby will generally start with 2 or 3 spoonfuls of puréed carrots. Indeed, it is customary to start with vegetables and then, a couple of weeks later, introduce fruit1.
Between 6 and 8 months, cereals and proteins, such as meat, fish and egg, make an entrance alongside the puréed vegetables. The quantities increase little by little until you have a complete lunch.
Other carbohydrates (potatoes, semolina, rice, pasta, chunks of bread) can be introduced from 8 months.
Tasty foods that are good for them too!
As your child's diet is diversified, they will discover flavours they like.
Diversity should be encouraged, not just for their palate but also because each food plays a precise role in their growth.
From 6 months to 3 years, there is a sharp increase in a child's energy requirements, particularly for their brain, which, between the ages of 2 and 3, is twice as active as an adult brain.
Proteins (animal or vegetable) make up body tissue such as muscles or skin. Baby will need them, but not too much of course! It's all about getting the quantities right.
To follow on from breast milk, the fats contained in meat, fish, eggs, butter and oils are a child's main source of energy until they turn 3, and are also sources of vitamins.
Lastly, to help children grow and exercise, all the carbohydrates will be essential as they are a source of energy. They can be found in pasta and rice (slow-release) but also in naturally sweet fruit.
1 WHO (April 2002), Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, document A55/15, paragraph 10.