The baby's diet can be divided into three phases, each lasting from four to six months, with some overlap.
During the first 4 to 6 months: breastfeeding and drinking
The reflexes of your baby in the first months are geared to sucking and swallowing. During this time, mother's milk is the best food, as it suits the digestive capacities of your child, is sterile and is ready for consumption anywhere, anytime. Mother’s milk not only contains all the necessary nutrients, but also supports the baby's immune system with its antibodies and nucleotides.
Knowing that not all mothers breastfeed, over years of research the infant food industry has developed baby formulae which come as close as possible to mother's milk in their consistency. Breastfeeding, however, remains the best diet for the first six months of a baby's life. Try to breastfeed your baby for as long as possible.
After 4 to 6 months: supplementary food and weaning
After some time your darling will become hungrier and will let you know that its belly is asking for more. It is no longer possible to cover nutritional needs, especially energy and protein, with just mother's milk or early infant formula. The second phase of infant feeding has started: the so-called phase of weaning and supplementary food. You can now start introducing solid food. At this stage, the baby is both mentally and physically prepared for this. Every meal of solid food replaces a milk meal. Don't force anything, and observe your child; it will indicate its needs to you.
After 10 months: transition to adult food
In the third nutritional phase of the first year – the transition to adult food – your child receives more and more food directly from the family's table. It starts to be interested in adult food and wants to eat together with you. Let the baby join you at the table so it can eat its pudding with you. It is important for your child to be part of your family and to be able to observe your eating habits. Soon you might see him or her imitating adult movements, especially of the mouth. Don't t worry if most of the food ends up on the bib and face, and the meal ends in a lot of cleaning - everyone has to learn some time!
The WHO recommends breastfeeding exclusively in the first six months. Inform yourself via your paediatrician or maternity centre about when your child needs supplementary food and when you should stop breastfeeding.