Why Breastfeeding Is Not Sufficient for the Child’s Nutritional Need After 6 Months?
A newborn baby does not need external food to soothe his hunger. He completely relies on breast milk for his food needs. Breastfeeding keeps both mother and child health. A baby’s energy needs increase as he grows older. He needs more nutrients by the age of 6 months. It is the right time to add complimentary meals to the child’s diet.
A 6 months old baby is old enough to digest foods in liquid form. He can absorb nutrients from external meals for better growth. Parents can pick nutrient-rich meals to reduce the child’s reliance on breast milk. Therefore, it is important to change the infant’s diet after 6 months!
Why You Must Feed Complimentary Meals To Your Baby?
Complimentary food is quite essential for an infant due to the following reasons:
It fulfills infant’s nutritional demands!
An infant’s nutritional needs increase as he grows older. Breastfeeding can meet the child’s nutrient needs for the first 6 months. It won’t be sufficient after that age and therefore it is important to add complementary foods to his daily diet.
A growing infant needs protein, energy, zinc, iron, vitamins, and other vital nutrients. Top-quality complimentary meals and baby formula supply those nutrients.
The baby learns to chew and swallow
Infants directly swallow breast milk. Babies get their first teeth between the age of 6 and 24 months. They also need some practice swallowing thicker and granular meals. Therefore, complementary foods are essential to prepare the child for future diet changes.
The baby learns to chew when he consumes mushy foods. If you don’t feed complimentary meals by the age of 6 months, the baby may even refuse to try it! Therefore, you must add complimentary meals to the child’s diet.
It improves the performance of the baby’s digestive system
The secretion of salivary amylase begins when the child is 4-6 months old. It indicates that the child’s digestive system is developing to digest external foods now. Feeding complimentary food at this stage is quite important to improve the performance of the child’s digestive system. It works like an exercise for the digestive system, which increases nutrient absorption capacity.
It is important for infant’s growth and development
The baby is ready to taste new foods by the age of 6 months. His oral motor functions work quite better. He can smell and enjoy the delicious taste of different meals. The child gets essential nutrients that aid in his complete development.
Besides, complimentary meals boost the immunity to protect the child against infectious diseases. The child may find it a bit tough to adapt to his new diet, but he will enjoy it within a few weeks.
Can You Feed Complimentary Food Before 6 Months Age?
The World Health Organization never recommends feeding complimentary meals before 6 months of age. It can be quite a fatal decision if your infant is only 2-4 months old. Mothers should breastfeed exclusively until the child is ready to digest external foods.
Why breastfeed exclusively to a newborn child?
Breast milk is nutrient-rich and easy to digest. Newborn babies experience no troubles at all when they are on a breastfeeding diet. Their digestive system and kidneys are still developing. Therefore, newborn babies can’t digest external milk and complimentary meals easily.
The child grows quite rapidly during the first six months. His digestive system gets stronger and better with every passing month. Therefore, 6 months age is the right time to introduce complimentary meals. The baby won’t find it daunting at all to digest mushy foods, lukewarm smoothies, and formula milk.
What to do if the mother is unable to breastfeed the newborn child?
Many women face this problem. They can’t breastfeed the newborn child due to an underlying health condition, medications, and other reasons. The healthcare provider will suggest feeding a baby formula in such a condition.
First, try to breastfeed for a while if it’s possible and then feed through a bottle. Thus, the baby will get proper nourishment to stay healthy and grow normally. Many companies are selling top-quality baby formulas for newborns. You can try one of these products if you face such a problem.
What Is the Best Complimentary Meal Plan?
Every country supports the WHO’s recommendation on feeding complimentary meals. Countries like the USA and major European countries support feeding complimentary meals after 4-6 months of age.
Mothers should wait for 6 months if the child is healthy. Doctors can feed the baby formula or breast milk through a bottle to a premature baby. Parents should follow the following complimentary meal plan to make the dietary changes properly.
Baby food supplement timetable
|Big category||Food||4-6 months||7-8 months||9-11 months||1 year -1 year and a half|
|starting time||After getting used to||Early stage||Late||Early stage||Mid-term||Late||Early stage||Late|
|Calorie source food||Plain rice||Congee (start with 1 tablespoon)||Congee (appropriate amount, about 40g)||5 times porridge (whole porridge or 7 times porridge, 50g)||5 times porridge (whole porridge or 7 times porridge, 80g)||5 times porridge (whole porridge, 90g)||4 times porridge (thick porridge, 70g)||Soft rice (80g)||Soft rice (90g)||White rice (80g)|
|Bread||It’s safer to feed your baby after 6 months||Bread porridge (start with 1 tablespoon, bread is about 5g)||15g (six slices cut into 1/4 slices)||20g (six slices cut into 1/3 slices)||25g||25g||35g||40g (six slices cut into 2/3 slices)||50g|
|Potato||Start with 1 tablespoon (appropriate amount, about 20g)||45g||75g||85g||95g||125g (about 1 piece)||140g||175g|
|Banana||Start with 1 tablespoon (appropriate amount, about 20g)||40g (less than 1/2 piece)||65g||75g||85g||110g (more than 1 piece)||125g||155g (1.5 pieces)|
|Vitamin and mineral source food||vegetables||Start with 1 tablespoon||Right amount, about 10g||15g||20g||20g||25g||30g||30g||40g|
|Fruit||Start with 1 tablespoon||Right amount, about 5g||5g||10g||10g||10g||10g||10g||10g|
|Protein source food||tofu||Start with 1 tablespoon||Right amount, about 25g||30g||40g||45g||50g||55g|
|Fish||Start with 1 tablespoon||Right amount, about 10g||10g||15g||15g||15g||20g|
|Eggs||Not suitable for baby||Egg yolk (start with 1 tablespoon)||1/3 whole egg||1/2 whole egg||1/2 whole egg||Whole egg 2/3|
|Dairy products||Not suitable for feeding baby food other than infant formula||50g||70g||80g||100g|
|Meat||Not suitable for baby||10g||15g||15g||15g||20g|
What to Check Before Feeding Complimentary Meals to the Baby?
You should check three important things before feeding complimentary meals to your child.
Choose calorie-rich meals for your child. Babies get extra active when they are 6 months old. They start moving and try to stand on their knees and hands. The baby will need more energy to move, shout, and play. Therefore, calorie-rich complimentary meals should be a part of your baby’s daily diet.
Foods rich in minerals and vitamins
Veggies and fruits are perfect for babies. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. A 6-month-old baby can’t consume fruits and veggies in their solid form. Therefore, parents should prepare smoothies for the baby.
Strain the smoothie before you feed it to the baby. Lukewarm vegetable soups are also perfect for your child. Whatever you choose, it should meet the child’s nutritional needs.
Feed protein-rich foods
There should be some protein-rich foods in your baby’s diet chart. It doesn’t matter how much your baby eats, start feeding these foods. Always choose fresh meals and feed them in mushy form. Never feed more than your child wants to eat. You should also look for the signs of allergies to know what to feed and what your baby can’t process.
How to Start Feeding Complementary Foods to the Baby?
Your baby may throw the food out of his mouth. It is completely normal when you put something new in your child’s mouth. The baby will taste something different for the first time in his life. So, be patient and try feeding complementary food several times. The baby will eventually swallow new food and accept it.
Choose a reputable complimentary food brand
Always choose a top-rated complimentary meal brand if you are feeding packaged foods. Check what type of nutrients is available in that food to ensure it is a healthy choice. Look for some product reviews online to ensure the food will not cause any kind of allergy.
You should never lose your cool if the baby is not consuming the prepared meal. It is quite a new experience for the child to chew and then swallow. Match the baby’s eating pace and then everything should be easy.
It is important to feed complimentary meals to the child after 6 months of his birth. It does not mean you should wean off. Continue breastfeeding until your baby is at least 24 months old. The baby will eventually like external foods more than breast milk. Thus, weaning should be much easier and it will be an easy transition for you and the baby.