Unveiling the Secrets of Complementary Feeding: Expert Advice from Spain’s Top Nutrition Panel

Food diversification is an important milestone in a baby’s life. It marks the transition from exclusive breastfeeding to the introduction of new solid foods into the diet. To guide parents and health professionals in this delicate stage, the Nutrition Committee of ESPGHAN (European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition) has published recommendations and practical advice in its report entitled “Complementary Feeding: Insights from the ESPGHAN Committee on Nutrition.

We will explore the different aspects of dietary diversification, including food choice, introduction of allergens, textures and recommended amounts.

Dietary diversification is essential to ensure the good development and growth of a baby. While breast milk or formula provides all the nutrients the baby needs in the first months of life, it gradually becomes insufficient to meet all of the baby’s nutritional needs. Introducing solid foods helps provide additional nutrients, including iron, zinc and vitamins.

When diversifying your diet, it is important to introduce a wide variety of foods into the baby’s diet. The ESPGHAN Nutrition Committee recommends introducing vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins (such as meat, fish, eggs or legumes) and dairy products (such as cheese or yogurt ). It is advisable to start with vegetables, then introduce the other food groups gradually.

The introduction of allergens is also an important aspect of dietary diversification. Unlike previous recommendations that suggested delaying the introduction of common allergens, the ESPGHAN Nutrition Committee now recommends introducing them early and regularly. This can help reduce the risk of developing food allergies later in life.

As the baby grows, it is important to also diversify the textures of foods. The ESPGHAN Nutrition Committee recommends introducing thick textures and small pieces as soon as the baby is ready to chew them. This promotes the development of chewing muscles and prepares the baby to eat solid foods independently.

When it comes to recommended amounts, it is important to note that every baby is unique and has different needs. However, the ESPGHAN Nutrition Committee provides general guidelines to help parents evaluate appropriate portions. For example, it is recommended to start with small amounts of food and gradually increase depending on the baby’s appetite.

One of the key points highlighted by the ESPGHAN Nutrition Committee is the importance of respecting the baby’s signs of satiety and allowing him to actively participate in his diet. When the baby shows signs of fullness, such as turning his head or refusing to eat, it is essential to respect these signals and not insist that he eat more.

Each baby develops at their own pace, and it is therefore important to adapt individually to their needs. The general recommendations provided by the ESPGHAN Nutrition Committee serve as a guide, but parents should also trust their instincts and their baby’s appetite to ensure a balanced and satisfying diet.

In conclusion, dietary diversification is an important step in a baby’s life. Recommendations and practical advice from the ESPGHAN Nutrition Committee provide valuable guidelines for parents and healthcare professionals. The choice of foods, the introduction of allergens, textures and recommended quantities are all essential aspects to take into account when diversifying your diet. By respecting the baby’s signs of satiety and allowing for individual adaptation, parents can create a healthy and positive eating environment for their baby.

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