We parents are always looking for the best for our children. One of the main concerns is feeding the baby. It is even one of the most frequent doubts in consultations with the pediatrician.
Exclusive breastfeeding should be the baby’s first food until 6 months of age.. Or, if not, a substitute prescribed by the doctor. After these first months, complementary feeding begins.
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Up to what age should the baby stop taking baby food?
Baby food is an option to start complementary feeding to the baby.. The main food until the first year of age is still milk, from which the baby gets the necessary nutrients to continue developing.
However, some parents make the mistake of bringing forward the feeding with baby food before 6 months of age, and even suspending or reducing the milk intake to replace it with food, out of concern that the child will not receive enough nutrients. Is this necessary?
Faced with this frequent doubt, we explain what baby feeding consists of during the first 2 to 3 years of life. At this stage, the main foods for the baby are breast milk, complementary feeding and drinks. We explain each of them to solve the question of when to stop feeding your baby with baby food?
Up to 6 months: breast milk
As already mentioned, the main food up to 6 months of age is breast milk. The WHO has made the recommendation that whenever possible, infants should be exclusively breastfed and, if for various reasons this is not possible, formula feeding should be indicated by a doctor. and, if for various reasons this is not possible, the formula provided should be indicated by a doctor.
Breast milk provides the necessary nutrients for the baby until its first year. In case of an iron deficiency, the doctor may prescribe a supplement, but it should not be ingested through vegetables or other over-the-counter supplements.
It is not even necessary to give water to the baby in these first months. It should be remembered that it is very important not to advance complementary feeding, as the baby’s digestive system is not yet ready to receive other types of food.
Breast milk changes its composition during the first months of the baby’s life. During the initial 3 months, it contains much more fat and the nutrients necessary for the immediate survival of the child.
However, after 3 months and up to 6 months, its composition changes to provide what the child needs to strengthen its digestive system, and from 6 months onwards, it remains more nutritious than any other type of milk.
For these reasons breast milk should not be replaced, nor should complementary feeding be brought forward.For these reasons, breast milk should not be substituted, nor should complementary feeding be brought forward, as each feeding of milk provides sufficient nutrients that no vegetable or meat can offer.
From 6 months onwards: complementary feeding and drinks
From the age of 6 months, the baby can receive complementary feeding.. The objective of this stage is to accustom the baby’s organism to a new diet, but it must be gradual and in accordance with his age and progress.
Some pediatricians even recommend that this complementary feeding be initiated when the baby is able to sit up on its own, i.e., from the lying down position it can move to the sitting position without any help from an adult.
It is at this stage that infant formula is given to the baby. A variety of foods are introduced in the form of jars or porridge to make it easier for the child to eat, since he/she does not have teeth to grind.
These jars should be gradually varied between different foods, separately. It is recommended to start with some vegetables such as chayote, pumpkin, carrots, broccoli, and fruits such as banana, pear and apple.
They are offered separately to facilitate the detection of possible allergies. Once it has been verified that there are no allergies, the baby foods or porridges can be prepared by combining foods, including chicken or lean meat. In addition, water can be offered at this stage.
Another alternative to baby food is the feeding known as BLW (Baby Led Weaning).. This method suggests offering the food in sticks and cooked enough to be crushed with a little pressure so that the baby can eat it directly, instead of the traditional baby food.
On the other hand, as for drinks, the recommendation is that, in addition to breast milk, we can offer water only after 6 months of age. Sugar-free fruit water can be made, but juices should be avoided due to the high amount of sugar and little fiber they offer.
So… when to stop feeding baby foods?
The best time is around the age of 2 years when the child is integrated into the family’s regular diet. That is to say, that he/she can eat more or less the same as the rest of the family and that he/she does it by him/herself or at least starts to do it almost all the time.
So around the age of one year is a good time to give up baby food.. As soon as the first teeth appear, you can start eating mashed food containing small pieces. Gradually, you can grind less and less until you reach the cooked food.
In the case of BLW, the goal is to never offer baby food. It doesn’t matter that they have no teeth, their jaws are strong enough to chew cooked food. So by the time teeth come in, the child is able to eat more things.
That is important: do not offer food such as nuts or grapes. This is due to the shape and hardness of these foods, which can easily go down the trachea and obstruct breathing, so it is better to wait until after 5 years of age.
The baby food should only be offered for a few months, i.e. it should not be extended beyond one year of age. Otherwise, the digestive system may lose strength and have difficulty adapting to semi-solid foods.
The conclusion is that infant formula should not be offered before 6 months of age and should be offered more infrequently from 9 to 12 months of age.Remembering that at this stage, breastfeeding or artificial feeding continues to be the main source of nutrients.