Varying your baby’s diet
At around 6 months old, your baby takes his first steps in a new world: the world of solid foods. Therefore, he'll enjoy discovering a wide array of new flavors as time goes by. Get our tips for providing your budding young restaurant critic with guidance!
The right age
For the first 6 months of your baby's life, his mother's milk or his bottle feeds meet all of his nutritional requirements, providing him with the best possible protection against food allergies. But from the age of 6 months onwards, your child's digestive system is mature enough to cope with other foods. Sometimes, your pediatrician may advise you to start diversifying your child's diet a little earlier – at around 4 months old: follow his advice. In all cases, the transition should be gradual, and milk should remain the foundation of your baby's diet for a little while longer.
Where to start?
For a number of months now, your baby has no doubt been watching you eat with curiosity – and a little jealousy. His first solid meal is cause for celebration for both of you! A whole new world of sensory experiences is about to open up to him. Start with just a few spoonfuls of purée made from a single vegetable (carrots, green beans or the white parts of steam-cooked leeks, blended up without salt) to see how your baby reacts to them: that way, if he has a skin reaction or a digestive problem, you'll know which vegetable is to blame! You can switch to another vegetable after a couple days, and then eventually start making up multi-vegetable purées once you've tested them all. Alternate with compotes made up from cooked fruits, without sugar (apples, pears, peaches, bananas), avoiding anything exotic. Don't worry if your baby is a little constipated in the first few days: his digestive system just has to get used to this new diet. First start introducing these extras at lunchtime, just before breast-or bottle-feeding them. Then you can include them at teatime, while keeping milk as their main morning and evening meal.
The following stages
After a few weeks, you'll be able to start adding very small quantities of meat into the purées: 10 g of beef, veal, chicken, ham, lean lamb, all smoothly blended up (about a soup spoonful). If there is a history of allergies in your family, it may be a good idea to wait until your baby is 12 months old before starting them on eggs and fish. Feel free to ask your pediatrician for advice on how to gradually broaden your baby’s diet.
Pre-packaged or homemade?
Obviously, there's nothing quite like the taste of homemade purées made from fresh vegetables. But pre-packaged foods available from shops are made with high-quality raw materials and provide babies with a balanced diet: feel free to use these when you don't have time to make them up yourself. Freezing vegetables is another way to help you save time when preparing food for your baby. And consider preparing your purées in bulk and then freezing them yourself in small containers: a practical solution for the days when you're in a hurry!