The importance of milk
You need to remember that milk, whether it is breast milk or infant formula, should form the basis of baby’s diet until they are about 3 years old. Between 4 and 11 months, baby needs to drink at least 500ml of milk per day in parallel to their solid food intake. Not only does milk fulfil most of baby’s nutritional requirements, but it also helps them to make the transition gently. As far as water is concerned, it should only appear on the scene from about 7 months, unless it is very hot weather or baby has a fever!
First stage: cereals
In order not to upset baby, start diversifying their diet by adding specialised cereals to their milk. With a few teaspoons of cereal (between 2 and 5 per bottle depending on baby’s age and needs), baby’s energy and calorie intake will increase, but they will still be getting all the comfort and security that comes with having their favourite bottle in mum or dad’s arms.
Follow on with vegetables
Baby is going to absolutely love fruit! This is why it is highly recommended that you introduce vegetables first… otherwise they will never want to touch them! Introduce one vegetable per day so that they learn to distinguish between different flavours. Monday carrot, Tuesday courgette, Wednesday green beans… Start by offering them 30g in a smooth purée and gradually increase the quantities. At around 9 months, go for a mashed consistency with small chunks.
The key to success: perseverance!
Some days baby may refuse to try anything at all…without any apparent reason! They turn their head away, push the spoon out of their mouth with their tongue, pretend to spit out the food… Don’t worry, your little one hasn’t yet developed any dietary preferences. Just put the food to one side for now and try again a few days later. Generally, babies are considered to have demonstrated a clear dislike of a food when they have rejected it 8 or 10 times in a row!
Fruit at around 5 months
2 to 3 weeks after introducing vegetables, you can finally let baby enjoy some fruit. Sweet, juicy, fresh…how can they possibly resist? Your little one is about to experience greed for the first time! Apple, banana, pear, quince… everything is allowed! Offer them cooked, mashed fruit to start with. It is only at around 9 months that baby’s digestive system will be sufficiently well developed to appreciate raw fruit!
Meat, fish, eggs…
1 to 2 weeks after introducing fruit, you can offer baby meat – white to begin with – or fish or scrambled egg. Until they are 1, restrict their intake of meat, fish or egg to 10g per day, blending it at first and offering it mashed at about 10 months.
Between 6 and 11 months, baby doesn’t need any salt or pepper to grow healthily! So don’t add salt to their food or to the water it is cooked in! However, adding a teaspoon of vegetable oil to each of their meals has many advantages: added fat is very beneficial for the development of baby’s brain.