Feeding your child well: at every stage of his development there is a diet: a toddler will not have the same needs as a growing teenager. Balanced meals are the key to a healthy child throughout its growth.
From birth to 6 months: Milk only
Milk is essential for the development of the newborn, and until the age of 6 months it is the only component of its diet. Breast milk is particularly suitable for feeding the baby during his first months of life because its composition changes with the nutritional needs of the baby. Infant milk powder or liquid ready for use is a good alternative to breast milk for mothers who cannot or do not want to breastfeed.
Breast milk for the newborn:
- To cover nutritional needs;
- Reduces the risk of infections, including digestive infections;
- Limits the risk of allergies;
- Reduces the risk of diabetes or obesity;
- Mother’s breastfeeding:
- Promotes the reduction of the volume of the uterus after delivery;
- Have a protective effect against certain cancers, especially those of the breast and ovaries;
- Allows you to feed your child without specific preparation: saving time
- Facilitates weight loss after pregnancy
- Is economical
How long to breastfeed?
It is recommended to breastfeed for at least the first 4 months, or even until the 6th month. If you cannot or do not want to breastfeed all the time, you can use infant formula.
Stop breastfeeding should be done gradually: gradually reduce the number of feedings to the benefit of bottles of infant milk.
Drugs, diseases and breastfeeding:
Some diseases can be transmitted through breast milk; breastfeeding is in these cases contraindicated.
Taking medication is also contraindicated when breastfeeding, ask your doctor for advice.
Breastfeeding is also incompatible with the consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
What if I cannot or do not want to breastfeed?
Infant milks are preparations designed to meet the needs of the child. There are different types adapted to the age of the child: 1st age (from 0 to 6 months), 2nd age (from 6 months to 1 year), and 3rd age (from 1 to 3 years). To choose good infant formula, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. If you choose milk powder, choose a weakly mineralized water to dilute it. Do not hesitate to look at the label; it usually contains a small logo with a baby and a bottle that tells you that this water can be consumed by the youngest: this logo varies by brand, it can also be written the mention “Suitable for infant food preparation”.
Water in case of strong heat
If it is very hot, you can give baby bottles of water to moisturize and refresh. Prefer water at room temperature or slightly cool (not leaving the fridge). Be careful, do not give bottles of sweet or flavored water that can cause cavities and that could accustom your child very early to the consumption of sugary drinks at the expense of “pure” water.
Attentions with animal milks:
It is not advisable to use animal milk (cow, goat, ewe …) or vegetable (soy, rice, hazel …) for the feeding of the newborn: The digestive system of your child is not suitable for the consumption of these types of milks and also their composition is not rich enough to meet all the nutritional needs of growing children.
If, in the first months, the child’s diet is exclusively composed of milk, from the 6th month, it is advisable to gradually integrate other foods: this is the diversification phase. During this phase, the child discovers new tastes, new textures and becomes familiar with the spoon!
At first (6-8 months)
It is possible to start introducing vegetables into the child’s diet, either by replacing the bottle water with vegetable cooking water without adding salt (eg 210g of vegetable broth). + milk powder). Then you can gradually add mixed vegetables to thick soup mixed with milk. Vegetables should always be cooked (steamed or water) and mixed.
For the choice of vegetables, prefer the most digestible: green beans, spinach, zucchini without seeds or skin, white leeks, carrots…
The fruits can be introduced a little later but they must always be well cooked. Choose pear, apple, peach, banana or apricot. Prepare them in compotes, without adding sugar.
Meat and fish can be introduced as early as the 6th month. You can add small amounts of mixed meat or fish to vegetable purées for example.
From the 7th month, you can add ¼ egg to your preparation.
Avoid deli meats, offal and breaded fish.
The introduction of starchy foods, such as potatoes, is also possible, mashed. It will give a thick texture to your dishes. Steamed, you can mix it with vegetables, all mashed.
It is possible to add a small amount of fat to your preparations, the development of the child requiring fat: a knob of butter or a teaspoon of oil in your preparations.
9 to 12 months
You can introduce “special baby” dairy products, enriched with iron, vitamins and other essential elements for the child. However, these dairy products are often very sweet. They can be replaced by natural yoghurt whole milk. Do not hesitate to seek advice from your general practitioner or pediatrician.
You can also continue to give fruits and vegetables, in the form of compote, puree or small pieces when the child begins to have his first teeth. It is also possible to introduce small pasta or vermicelli for example.
Limit sweet products such as sweets, chocolate and sodas.
Did you know? Honey, excluded from infant feeding
Many virtues (medicinal and taste) are attributed to honey. However, honey should be avoided in babies under one year old: it can contain bacteria (Clostridium botulin) responsible for botulism, a disease that affects the nervous system of the child. Symptoms may be: constipation, general weakness, weak suction reflex, irritability, and lack of facial expression, altered head movement control, or diaphragmatic paralysis. Hospitalization is necessary in most cases of botulism in children.
The tastes are not fixed, a food not appreciated during childhood, can be worshiped when the child grows up.
When your child begins to learn to move alone, let the food touch and discover the textures. Let it play with the food, the spoon so that eating is a pleasure.