Breast milk first
Breastmilk is always the best food for babies! If breastfeeding is not possible, or if breast milk is not enough, formula milk needs to be supplemented!
Adding complementary foods
The best time to introduce complementary foods is when the baby is 6 months old! Because after 6 months of age, exclusive breast milk no longer provides enough nutrients and vitamins, so complementary feeding must be introduced! (Why not before 6 months? Because before 6 months the baby's digestive system is not yet mature and feeding complementary foods too early can easily lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, resulting in feeding difficulties, infections etc.)
Principles of complementary feeding
Principles of complementary feeding: add only one new food at a time, gradually from small to large, from thin to thick, from fine to coarse. Start with an iron-rich puree, such as iron-fortified infant rice flour and pureed meat, and gradually increase the variety of foods, gradually transitioning to semi-solid or solid foods, such as rotten pasta, minced meat, chopped vegetables, diced fruit, etc. Each new food introduced should be adapted for 2-3 days, with close observation for adverse reactions such as vomiting, diarrhoea and skin rash, before adding other new foods. Start by adding iron-rich pureed foods such as iron-fortified rice flour; introduce one new food at a time and gradually diversify the diet; start with pureed foods and gradually move on to solid foods; add vegetable oil in moderation to the complementary diet.
When babies first learn to accept spoon feeding, they will only lick and suck, or even push out and spit out food due to their lack of feeding skills (this does not mean they do not like it). A small spoonful of rice paste can be placed in one corner of the baby's mouth for him to suck. Do not put the spoon directly into the baby's mouth, as this may cause a choking sensation and create a bad eating experience (the baby may not want to eat complementary foods later). Try only 1 spoonful for the first time, then 1 or 2 times during the first day. Increase the amount or frequency of food intake on day 2, depending on the baby. Observe for 2 to 3 days and if the infant adapts well, introduce a new food, such as mashed egg yolk, mashed meat or other iron-rich foods. After the infant has adapted to a variety of foods, a mixture of foods can be introduced, e.g. rice flour with egg yolk, mashed meat and egg custard, etc.
Observe for allergies
When introducing new foods to infants between 7 and 9 months of age, special attention should be paid to observing for food allergies. If there are adverse reactions such as vomiting, diarrhoea or eczema within 1 to 2 days of trying a new food, stop feeding and start again with smaller amounts when the symptoms disappear. (If symptoms of food allergy occur with a new complementary food, record it and avoid reintroducing it)
It is particularly recommended to prepare 'hand foods' that can be easily grasped by the infant and to encourage self-feeding, such as chunks of banana, boiled potatoes and carrots, buns, sliced bread, sliced fruit and vegetables and torn chicken. Softer hand-held foods such as bananas and potatoes are usually tried at 10 months of age and harder chunks such as cucumber sticks and apple slices at 12 months of age. It is important to encourage babies to eat on their own and not to refuse to eat on their own just because they spill food everywhere. Always have adult supervision when babies and toddlers are eating to prevent eating accidents. Foods such as whole peanuts, nuts and jelly are not suitable for infants and toddlers (these foods can easily be inhaled into the airway, which can have serious consequences if a foreign body is inhaled).
Keep the original taste
Supplementary foods should be kept plain, without salt, sugar or harsh condiments, and with a light flavour. Lighter tasting foods help to increase infants' acceptance of different natural food tastes and reduce the risk of picky eating. Lighter tasting foods can also reduce salt and sugar intake in infants and children, reducing the risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease in childhood and adulthood.
Wash your hands before eating and keep utensils and the eating environment clean and safe. Many parents think that the food they make is clean and safe, but they often neglect the issue of hand hygiene for their babies, as digestive germs basically enter the oesophagus through the mouth, so hand hygiene must be kept in check!