07.12.2021

8 signs that it’s time to introduce complementary foods

Russian pediatricians recommend starting feeding when the baby reaches six months of age. And even when he is mentally and physically ready to try new food, take a closer look at the baby – there are 8 signs of a child’s readiness for feeding.

Interest

In order for the child to eat well, he needs to want this, and in the first months the baby is completely not interested in any food other than his mother’s breast (a bottle with a mixture). Therefore, it is precisely interest that becomes one of the most important signs of a baby’s readiness for feeding. Have you noticed that he is reaching for your plate, carefully following how you eat and even seem not averse to tasting it himself and dragging something in his mouth? This means that there is psychological readiness, it is up to physiology!

Age 4 months and more

Yes, the average age of introducing complementary foods is 6 months, but there are children who need extra food earlier, therefore, pediatricians have set a lower limit – feeding should be done no earlier than reaching a baby of 4 months. If the baby was born before the due date, then it must be considered according to the gestational age (that is, based on the date on which the baby was supposed to be born).

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Sufficient weight

Sufficient weight, namely doubled after birth, is one of the signs of the baby’s readiness for the introduction of complementary foods. That is, if the baby was born weighing 3 kg, then he must weigh at least 6 kg at the moment when you start giving him a new product. The exception is premature babies – they must gain weight 2.5 times more than birth weight, as well as children suffering from rickets, malnutrition or stubbornly spitting babies (such a crumb may be recommended by the pediatrician to administer complementary foods earlier, regardless of weight).

Digestion

Another sign of readiness is digestion, it must be established and work regularly. This can be determined by the chair of the baby. It should be regular, without constipation and colic, and the color should be a yellowish, porridge-like consistency.

Swallowing skill

Before deciding to give complementary foods, try a small test: give the child a drink from a spoon and see if he swallows some water or does the entire contents of the spoon appear on his chin? If the baby already knows how to swallow well (and it is necessary to give complementary foods from a spoon so that the food is processed with saliva) and does not push the spoon with his tongue – this is another sign of readiness.

Sitting skills

Of course, it is necessary to feed the child when he is sitting, otherwise there is a great risk of choking. The exception is the same children with weight problems (premature, with rickets), to whom the pediatrician can prescribe complementary foods before they occupy an upright position. Children who have matured to complementary feeding can not only sit in a high chair, but also bend to the spoon, turn away (if they do not want to eat more).

Hunger

For some children, it’s straightforward to see that they need complementary foods because they no longer eat their mother’s milk (or mixture). In this case, the child just hangs on his chest, and the mixture drinks about 1 liter per day.

Absolute health and comfort

Neither during SARS, nor during colic or other problems, it is not recommended to start complementary foods. In addition, doctors categorically do not recommend feeding a child with new products before vaccinations and immediately after (not earlier than 4-5 days after vaccination). You should not do this in the heat, when you yourself do not really want to eat. Better to wait for a better moment!

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