What is Transition to Supplementary Food (Complementary Feeding)?
Complementary feeding is the process in which other foods and drinks are given together with breast milk, starting in the period when breast milk alone cannot fully meet the energy and nutrient requirements. Complementary feeding is also called transition to supplementary food or supplementary feeding. During this period, newborns are introduced to foods with different flavors and different compositions.
If Supplementary Food is Started Early
If complementary feeding is started too early, the baby does not get enough efficiency from breast milk and the following conditions may occur;
- Inadequate calcium and iron intake,
- Increased renal solid load and overloading of the kidneys,
- Digestive system problems,
If Supplementary Food is Started Late
- Retardation in growth and development
- Malnutrition of the baby
- Constipation, (constipation)
- Problems in learning to chew and swallow
- It causes a deficiency of micronutrients such as Iron and Zinc.
For a 6-month-old baby starting supplementary food, breast milk is still the most important source of nutrition until 12 months. Over time, this decreases up to 24 months and eventually weaning takes place.
Number of Meals and Frequency of Feeding in Transition to Supplementary Food (Supplementary Feeding)
How much should a 6-month-old baby eat?
You are curious, aren’t you? 🙂 Let’s examine it together.
Breast milk is the most important source of nutrition for a baby who has just started supplementary food until 12 months. This means that breast milk is your baby’s main meal and additional foods are his/her snacks.
A 6-month-old baby usually needs 2 or 3 snacks.
Stomach capacity is 180 ml. When giving a 6-month-old baby additional food, it should be started in small amounts. For example, it should start with a single food of 1 teaspoon and the same food should be given for 3 days by increasing this amount a little more and the 3-day rule should be applied.
A 6-month-old baby should be fed every 2.5-3 hours.
What is the 3 Day Wait Rule?
The 3-day waiting rule is a very important rule so that you can follow your baby’s reactions and reactions to nutrients during the transition to supplementary food.
A 6-month-old baby should start with 1 teaspoon of a single food and the same food should be given for 3 days by increasing the amount a little more than the previous amount.
This rule will help you to understand the allergic reactions and side effects that may occur when your baby is introduced to a new food, and which foods are responsible for the reaction.
If your baby refuses the food or vomits, I recommend that you do not force it and try again after a few days.
What Can a 6th Month Baby Eat?
Every growing baby needs calcium. Yogurt is a very good source of calcium. You can start home yogurt, which you ferment yourself at home, as the first food for your baby in the transition to supplementary food. You can make yogurt using either cow’s or goat’s milk.
We do not want to use goat or cow’s milk until the age of one. Because babies can have difficulty digesting milk until the age of one. However, as milk turns into yogurt, its structure changes and lactose is broken down. A baby with lactose intolerance cannot drink milk but can consume yogurt.
Vegetable purees for your baby help your little body to meet its needs for vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Constipation problems are common in the transition to supplementary food.
Vegetable purees help to solve constipation problems seen during the transition to supplementary food. Thanks to its antioxidant content, it helps strengthen your baby’s immune system.
You can boil vegetables in a little water and give them to your baby as puree. Vegetables should be used alone. During the transition to supplementary food, seasonal vegetables should be your preference. Carrot puree can be a good alternative when starting supplementary food.
Fruits contain plant fibers essential for your baby’s gut health. The most suitable fruit to start supplementary food is known as apple.
Full of vitamin C and fiber, apples are good for your baby. Studies have found that apples provide strong protection against asthma. During the transition to supplementary food, seasonal fruits should be your preference.
You should not pass the fruits through a blender. You can grate them lightly on a glass grater or you can pass them through a wire strainer and mash them with a fork.
Attention! During the transition to supplementary food, start with fruits and vegetables that are not potentially allergenic.
Fruits and Vegetables with High Allergy Potential
- Tropical fruits
- Kiwi and strawberries
- Tomatoes, cauliflower, leeks, okra, eggplant, broad beans.
Food Safety in Transition to Supplementary Food (Complementary Nutrition)
According to the World Health Organization:
- People who come into contact with food should wash their hands.
- Food should be checked for food safety.
- Tools used in food preparation and service should be cleaned.
- Used plates and utensils should be washed.
- Bottles that are difficult to clean should be avoided.
Tips for Starting Supplementary Food (Complementary Feeding)
- If the development of the breastfed baby is normal, complementary feeding should not be started before the 6th month.
- In 6-month-old babies, no more than 50% of the total energy should come from supplementary foods.
- In babies with food allergies; foods containing eggs, nuts, peanuts, fish and soy should not be started before the 12th month.
- Honey should not be given before the 12th month to prevent Botulinus poisoning (“Botulism” is a poisoning that develops in people who eat foods containing a poison called “Botulin” produced by the bacteria “Clostridium botulinum” and leads to paralysis).
- While breastfeeding continues, complementary foods should be given in small amounts after the 6th month and the amount should be adjusted according to the development of the baby.
- One food should be introduced at a time to prevent the risk of allergy and to facilitate the baby’s ability to tolerate foods better.
- Foods should be started in small amounts and increased gradually.
- You should not insist on giving foods that your baby does not like at all. You can try derivatives instead.
- If the baby sleeps frequently and cannot be fed, the baby should be woken up and tried to be fed.
- Sugar, water and salt should not be added to complementary foods.
- Food should be given at body temperature and should not be overheated.
- The water of cooked food should not be poured. If it is spilled, vitamin and mineral losses may occur. You should cook food with as little water as possible and give the remaining water to your baby with the cooked food.