Introducing Complementary Food to Your 6-month-old Baby
The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life and introducingcomplementary foods at 6 months to be continued with breastfeeding. 1
Now, your baby is at 6 months, and it’s time for complimentary food. Because your approach to introducing complimentary food will shape your baby’s future eating habits, you should be respectful of your baby’s willingness to eat and be patient with choosy eating.
You should start with a single type of complimentary food and add each new food one at a time, at least 2-3 days apart. On the 4th day, you should introduce a new complimentary food in a puree consistency in combination with the already introduced ones. 2
The vegetables that you will use to prepare your baby’s first puree may include carrots, zucchini, potatoes, broccoli, and pumpkin, which are low in allergy risk and easy to digest. You can steam the vegetables and then mash them by using a wire strainer. After introducing one vegetable at a time, in the following days, you may mix the vegetables to prepare a puree. Later, you may add a grain group to the puree.
You can introduce fruits such as apples, pears, bananas, peaches, and avocados, depending on the season and your baby’s intake. To prepare a fruit puree, you should use a glass grater instead of a powerful crusher like a blender. You should introduce one fruit at a time and then, you can prepare purees with more than one type of fruit. Later, purees may be enriched further by adding cereals such as semolina.
You should not add sugar and salt to complementary foods.1
Yogurt should be included in every baby’s daily diet because it boosts the immune system and protects against pathogenic bacteria. It reduces the risk of allergies and facilitates digestion. As an alternative to cow’s milk, yogurt can be made from breast milk or formula milk.2
Cheese, made from pasteurized milk, is the source of the best-quality protein and calcium. It may be introduced as another type of complementary food at the ages of 6-9 months.2 The cheese that you will give to the infant as a complementary food should be desalinated.
Meat & Fish, and Chicken: The liver is a valuable food that is low in fat and rich in vitamins and minerals. It is easy to cook and maybe pureed. An infant at the age to start complementary feeding is recommended to consume 14-75 g of meat, chicken, fish, or liver. Salmon, sardines, mackerel, and oily fish are rich in omega-3 and vitamin D.2
Eggs: One-eighth of a boiled egg is introduced at 6 -7 months. The amount is gradually increased later. With this plan, you may start giving full egg yolk to your baby in the 8th month.2
The first few months of complementary feeding constitute the time when new foods are introduced to infants. Breast milk is still the primary food source during this time. If your baby refuses to eat some complementary foods, try again, but don’t force him or her. Each baby’s appetite differs, and so does the amount of complimentary food consumed. Allow your baby to eat as much as he or she wants.
- Pekcan, A. G. (2018). Tamamlayıcı Beslenme: Avrupa Pediatrik Gastroenteroloji, Hepatoloji ve Beslenme (ESPHGAN) Birliği Komitesi Görüş Raporu. Beslenme ve Diyet Dergisi, 46(1), 1-6.
- Yazıcı, B. (2018). Tamamlayıcı Beslenme. Klinik Tıp Pediatri Dergisi, 10(1), 7-16.