7 months: first teeth, first pasty foods
The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends babies be exclusively fed maternal milk up until they complete six months of life. The child doesn’t even need water or teas. As they enter the seventh month of life, however, the child can discover new foods. If you breastfeed and would like to continue doing so, there’s no problem with your preference. Gradually introduce new foods and continue breastfeeding in the mornings and at night, for example.
During the weaning phase, ideally, you should start with mashed up fruits, meat-based and vegetable-based, salty baby foods and cooked roots and tubers (which should all be properly mashed for the baby to eat and digest) and soups, which shouldn’t be too watered down or too thick. These meals should be given for lunch and dinner, preferably in moments when the whole family is sitting together. Ideally, the ingredients in the baby’s menu should also be on everyone else’s plates. While some children can easily adapt to new flavors and textures, others can find it strange. Be patient: according to health experts, new foods should be tested little by little, where the child should eat the same thing about 8 to 10 times in order to properly gauge whether they like it or not.
Up until the ninth month, foods should be thoroughly cooked and develop a pasty consistency after you mash them with a fork. Good choices include: beans, potatoes, cut up leafy greens, shredded meats and carrots. As for juices, health experts recommend consuming whole fruits between six months to a year. The reason why is because this way, the child can better absorb all the nutrients and ends up drinking more water. After the nine-month mark, foods should still always be cooked, but can be mashed up or cut up into smaller pieces. It’s good to know that the BLW method (Baby Led Weaning, or the process of weaning led by the child) has been gaining more and more attention lately around the world. The method defends the baby should have autonomy when it comes to eating. In practice, the child eats using their hands any and all foods they can hold by themselves and, that way, better develops their independence and cognitive skills. Since it’s recommended anytime after the six-month mark, some people hesitate with applying the technique as they fear the baby could choke on the food, which is why parental supervision is fundamental.