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During the first six months of the baby’s life, nourishment is perfectly done through breastfeeding (or, in cases where such practice is not possible, for example due to the absence of the mother’s breast milk, nourishment is done through infants’ formulas); additionally, the infant can drink water. It is important that even the nursing mother pays attention to her own nutrition.
After 6 months complementary solid foods can be introduced. The question is; ready-made baby food or homemade meals? The answer is that there is no golden rule! If you decide to prepare homemade meals it is recommended to start with blended vegetables (one type of vegetables at a time, for example; carrots, pumpkin, courgettes). When choosing ingredients a lot of attention to the seasonality, production and processing should be given to ensure the preservation of vitamins and nutrients. The proper preparation of the meal is also very important so that the baby can eat and digest it easily. The baby has to start learning how to eat with a spoon; it is recommended to start off with small portions the first few times.
Integrating all of the needed amounts of nutrients is a very important factor when preparing meals. In this way, the body can absorb all of the nutrients required, such as, for example, iron from meat or fatty acids from fish. When the preparation of food is too time consuming, it might be more practical to opt for ready-made baby foods. Two important factors to take into consideration when preparing complimentary meals are taste and variety: be inspired by our easy, practical and tasty recipes, which, most importantly, are suited to the needs of your little ones. There is no rule, so when you have time and you feel like it, test yourself! When, instead, you’re out of home and you have little time, make use of ready-made baby foods.
Bit by bit you can start adding new products to your baby’s diet: vegetable purees (for example, cauliflower, broccoli and potatoes), cereal-based meals (for example rice, millet and spelt) and the first appetizers (for example rice cakes, pieces of cooked vegetables and spelt sticks). At around 8 months the little one may be able to digest fresh fruit (apples, pears, bananas) and have the first few bites of bread or fish.
The amount of milk and dairy products may decrease from 12 months. The child will have already developed a sense of taste and will start asking for the same food the parents eat. At one year of age, the baby has developed enough to be able to digest almost all different types of food – what matters now is understanding what foods the baby likes and most of all, which are easily digested and which aren’t. Ready-made dishes and food flavourings should still be avoided; condiments should also be used in very small doses.
Follow your paediatrician’s advice on your baby’s diet and the foods to be introduced.