In terms of food diversification, from 4 months to 3 years, the recommendations of ANSES and the Haut Conseil de la Santé Publique have changed in 2021, they have become more flexible, to the delight of parents and young eaters! Meals are a moment of pleasure and discovery! New flavors, new textures and smells… Baby tastes different foods at his own pace and his parents listen to his desires and needs. Interview with Emilie Eyssartier, pediatric surgeon for Biloba (an online application that allows parents to contact a pediatrician quickly from their smartphone, as soon as they need it).
At what age can baby eat mashed potatoes in the evening?
Now, we can offer purees when we want, from the start of food diversification, that is to say after 4 full months and before 7 full months. There aren’t really any rules like there used to be. Indeed, parents can perfectly offer purees to their baby for lunch or dinner, depending on their availability and the habits of the family.
Offering your baby puree in the evening is not essential, especially at the beginning of food diversification. Initially, the idea is to introduce one food per day, either alone or in addition to those that have already been introduced and at least two or three times in a row to ensure that Baby does not is not intolerant or allergic. Parents also do according to their possibilities, the evening is more practical in general: they have more time to devote to their child and can take care of the food diversification of their toddler themselves. If the parent also has time (and patience) to offer Baby a puree for lunch or snack, that’s just as well.
We start gradually, depending on the acceptance of the child. Opening a small jar of mash is another solution, not all parents have the time or the equipment to prepare homemade mash. However, homemade mash is preferable because it offers many advantages: it is inexpensive, parents can choose themselves where the vegetables come from, vary the flavors as much as possible, let Baby discover lots of different tastes and limit the risks of food neophobia which can occur later, which is not really possible to do by feeding Baby only with commercial purees already ready, the flavors being relatively limited for 4-6 months. The new recommendations recommend adding a little butter or fat to baby purées, which are good for baby’s development. We do not hesitate to add them to fresh homemade purees or to put them in small pots which are, for the most part, composed only of vegetables.
What portion of puree can be given to Baby?
We can start by offering him one or two teaspoons of mashed potatoes, the part is of the order of approximately 50 grams. Around 8-9 months, the proposed portion will be around 130 grams per meal. These quantities are theoretical, they are less important than the growth curve. If it evolves normally, that is to say if Baby grows and puts on weight regularly, it means that he is eating what he needs. Above all, parents adapt to the desires and needs of their baby as well as to the signs of hunger and satiety that he may show, this is the most reliable way of feeding baby. Parents don’t have to force their child to finish his plate because they feel he’s not eating enough, just as they don’t have to stop a child who is very greedy. There is evidence that an excessive growth curve in babies highlights a risk of obesity in adulthood.
Can we give purées in the evening containing proteins of animal origin (meat, fish, eggs, etc.)?
Traditionally, we start with vegetables but we can introduce animal protein from the beginning of food diversification, from 4 months, mixed and well cooked, without adding salt. Here again, we adapt to the desires to taste or not of the toddler. Before one year, the portion of proteins of animal origin is around 10 g/day, 20 g/day between 1 and 2 years and 30 g/day between 2 and 3 years.
Do we continue to give a bottle of milk when we give puree to Baby in the evening?
Milk plays an essential role in a child’s diet until at least the age of 3 years. We continue to breastfeed Baby on demand or give him 500 to 800 ml of milk per day, at least at 3 of the 4 daily meals (morning, noon, snack and evening).
Should we give milk before the evening puree or rather after?
Food diversification is a great discovery for the toddler! By starting with the puree, Baby may be more likely to accept a taste, especially if he is hungry. If Baby started with his bottle and is completely satiated, it will be more complicated to offer him puree afterwards. You can also give him his milk before and get into the habit of giving him his puree at the table afterwards, with the whole family. There is no rule to follow, nor to impose on the child.
From what age can you switch to thicker purées in the evening?
Baby’s ability to chew evolves when he is stimulated by the new textures he tastes: melting, crispy, soft… In general, the textures of purees are changed between 6 and 9 months. There are signs that can help us understand that the child is ready: baby straightens up and sits well in his chair, he is interested in what his parents are eating, he reproduces chewing noises when someone hands him his spoon…
- What is the ideal food to protect our children from allergies?
- Food diversification around the world