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As they approach six months of age, infants begin to show interest in adult food, one of the first signs that their bodies are ready for solid food preparations.
This is when the introduction of the complementary baby feeding, which until then covered all its nutritional needs with breast milk or formula milk. But, Why at 6 months?
Around 6 months of age, the loss of the extrusion reflex occurs and babies begin to be able to stand upright, unaided, in a sitting position, they also begin to show interest in the food of the elderly.
The reason for introducing complementary feeding at 6 months and not at younger ages as recommended especially in the last quarter of the last century are the revelations obtained from scientific studies of both the baby's gastrointestinal tract and its mineral reserves in the body, especially iron.
Iron is, in particular, the mineral most likely to cause a deficiency -anemia- if delayed too much the introduction of complementary feeding, since breast milk does not provide enough. The cow's milk from which formula milk comes is also deficient in this mineral, however, it is added artificially –it is fortified-, which means that, unfortunately, its absorption is not very effective.
Red meat is one of the foods richest in iron and whose absorption is more efficient, so it should be offered to the baby within the first weeks. As for vegetables, green leafy ones like spinach or chard are the richest in iron, but should preferably be avoided up to 12 months and at this time, offer them in small quantities, since they contain compounds that interfere with the absorption of iron, which can cause methemoglobinemia, a tremendously dangerous disease for babies.
In addition to this recommendation, the recommendations of health professionals can be very varied, specific or more relaxed, but the truth is that common sense is probably our best ally.
Respecting an order in the introduction of food is not necessary, but it is wait at least 3-4 days after introducing a new food to observe the baby's reaction and to get used to the new taste. In addition, it is convenient to start introducing solid foods in a single meal, and choose the one in which the baby is most awake and motivated, always keeping breastfeeding as its main source of energy.
We must not forget that fruits and vegetables provide much less energy than milk, and the baby's stomach is still small to be able to eat enough to satisfy its nutritional needs from them.
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