The guidelines for introducing complementary feeding are and have been the subject of new contributions and recommendations arising from scientific advances on the subject. What should you know about it?Infant feeding is an act of love and, at the same time, it is relevant to incorporate essential nutrients for the child’s growth. While there are universal issues based on the best scientific evidence and baby safety, every family should enjoy the moment and heed the different recommendations. How to introduce complementary feeding?
Guidelines for introducing complementary feeding
Much water has flowed over the river on this issue, since complementary feeding has been subject to variations, especially regarding the appropriate times and timing for it.
The early administration of complementary foods to breastfeeding has been subject to review, due to the possibility of generating allergies, added to the importance of the baby being mature enough for it.
The Breastfeeding Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics highlights that:
“Complementary feeding(CA) is considered a process by which solid or liquid foods other than breast milk or infant formula are offered to the infant as a complement and not as a substitute for it. In recent years the guidelines for introducing complementary feeding have changed numerous times, being notably different from the advice received by the previous generation”.
In parallel, and according to the same source, the authors recommend maintaining exclusive breastfeeding(BF) during the first 6 months of age. From that moment on, the rest of the food can be added gradually, keeping the BF on demand for as long as mother and child wish.
It is important to note that not all babies are ready to incorporate complementary feeding at the same time. Likewise, it is relevant that both parents and health professionals are attentive to the development of the required capacities.
On the other hand, Some Researchers recommends not delaying the introduction of solid foods beyond 8 or 10 months, in order to avoid eating problems in the future. This is reflected in a document of recommendations on feeding in infants and preschoolers presented at the opening day of the 2018-2019 Academic Course held at the College of Physicians of Valencia.
Some additional comments and contributions
There is new information around the inclusion of complementary feeding in babies. Since you are a mother, we are told that:
“The food that is provided to the child must be complete in nutrients, vitamins, micronutrients, rich in energy, rich in iron, calcium, proteins, calories, minerals that help the baby’s growth.”
Regarding the quantities, the same material highlights that,”although during the exclusive period of breastfeeding, the child ate every three or four hours with the incorporation of solids, these times will be prolonged“
However, although there is no defined amount or frequency of food portions that the baby should consume, there are foods that are not recommended. In addition, it is suggested to incorporate complementary nutrition in a natural and progressive way so that they can discover textures, temperatures and flavors.
- It is essential not to rush or anticipate the times required for the introduction of complementary feeding.
- Have the support of authorized professionals to guide on this issue. However, do not neglect the opinion of close family that can bring experience.
- Be cautious with certain fashions that in this topic – as in others – are presented. By way of example, there is currently the Baby-led Weaning(BLW) method for its acronym in English, or complementary feeding guided by the baby, one of the major concerns being the issue of choking, which is not a minor issue.
- In this sense and in relation to the previous point, the American Academy of Pediatrics in a 2016 publication in English determines among some of its conclusions that “more research is needed to guarantee that parents and caregivers know how to provide safe and safe food. feeding environments”.