Healthy Eating: Introducing Complementary Foods to Your Child

Teaching your child to eat healthy from childhood is an important task that contributes to forming healthy eating habits. Children are like sponges, absorbing all information and behavior from their parents. If you follow healthy habits, your child will also follow your example.

However, where to start if the baby is only a few months?

If the baby is breastfed, this is the ideal nutrition for the first 6 months of life. Breast milk contains all the essential nutrients and helps in the development of the immune system. When bottle-feeding, choose formulas that are appropriate for the baby’s age.

The introduction of complementary foods begins at approximately 6 months. Start with small portions of one ingredient, such as pureeing one vegetable or fruit. Gradually introduce a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains and protein foods. It is important to offer your child a variety of tastes and textures.

There are two types of complementary foods: Pediatric and pedagogical. These are approaches to introducing additional foods to infants, taking into account their physiological and psychological characteristics. Let’s look at each in more detail.


Pediatric complementary feeding is the introduction of additional foods to infants between 4 and 6 months of age after initiation of breast milk or formula feeding. The basic principles of pediatric complementary feeding include:

  1. Start time. Pediatricians recommend starting the introduction of complementary foods at about 4-6 months, when the baby is ready to eat solid food. This is due to the physiological development of the child and his readiness for a variety of foods.
  2. Gradual introduction. It is important to introduce new foods gradually, one new food every 3-4 days, to monitor the child’s reaction to them. This allows parents to identify allergic reactions or incompatibility with food.
  3. Product selection. Vegetable and fruit purees, porridge with water or milk formula are most often used as first complementary foods. Pediatricians recommend starting with vegetables and fruits because they are usually easier to digest and less likely to cause allergic reactions. In the future, you can introduce pureed meats, eggs, fermented milk products and other foods that are healthy for your child into your diet.
  4. Consistency. Food should be smooth and thick to make swallowing easier and reduce the risk of choking. It is important to use quality products that are suitable for baby food and do not contain preservatives or additives
  5. Time. The best time to feed complementary foods is in the morning or afternoon, when the baby is alert and calm. It also allows parents to monitor their baby’s reaction to new foods throughout the day.
  6. Individual approach. The introduction of complementary foods should take into account the individual characteristics of the child, his needs and the recommendations of the pediatrician.
  7. Breastfeeding or formula feeding. The introduction of complementary foods does not replace breastfeeding or formula feeding, which remain the main source of nutrition for up to a year and even after that.

Pediatric complementary feeding is aimed at enriching the baby’s diet with useful substances necessary for its growth and development, and the formation of correct eating habits from the very beginning of life.


In the modern world, the most popular type of complementary feeding is Pedagogical. It refers to an approach to introducing complementary foods to infants that takes into account their development and learning of good eating habits. This type of complementary feeding introduces the child to “adult” food and teaches him to eat independently.

Here are the basic principles of pedagogical complementary feeding:

  1. Skills training. The main goal of pedagogical complementary feeding is not only to satiate the child, but also to teach him correct eating habits. The child must learn to chew, swallow and learn to eat a variety of foods.
  2. Examples. Parents and caregivers should model good eating habits by eating with their children and showing them how to eat properly. This may include the use of cutlery, food and water. The child sits at the table with his parents.
  3. Parental involvement. Parents and caregivers must be actively involved in the preparation and serving of food, as this helps create positive associations with food and strengthens the bond between the child and adults.
  4. Variety. It is important to initially expose your child to a variety of foods and textures so that he can develop his taste preferences and habits. We don’t limit ourselves to just purees.
  5. Support. In the process of pedagogical complementary feeding, it is important to maintain a positive attitude towards food and not to force certain foods or quantities on the child, but to take into account his needs and preferences.

Don’t forget about safety. Observe your child’s reaction to new foods. If you notice an allergic reaction (rash, itching, swelling), stop giving this product immediately. Serve infant food at room temperature or slightly warmed. Avoid overheating to avoid burns. Do not add salt, sugar, honey or other additives to foods for infants under one year of age. They can negatively affect the child’s health.

Pedagogical complementary feeding aims to create a conscious relationship with food in infants, helping them develop healthy eating habits from a very early age. With the introduction of pedagogical complementary feeding, the child learns to fix himself vertically. He also develops coordination of movements – he trains to take and put pieces in his mouth or with a spoon, feed an adult and at the same time communicate with his mother.

Dosages should be minimal, about the size of a pea, so that the child does not choke.

Be a role model for your child. If he sees you eating healthy, he’ll be more likely to follow your example.

Rules and recommendations:

  • Regular meals. Set regular meal times and don’t skip breakfast. This helps maintain stable energy levels and improves digestion.
  • Learn to distinguish between products. Explain to your child which foods are healthy. For example: Vegetables and fruits contain vitamins that help you grow and be strong.
  • Don’t punish with food. Use food only as a source of nutrition, not as a punishment or reward.

Tips for feeding children of different age groups

  1. Until the age of 1 year, a child’s diet should be mainly milk (breast or artificial), with the gradual introduction of solid foods.
  2. Between 1 and 3 years of age, a child can eat a wider variety of foods, including meat, fish, dairy products, vegetables and fruits. It is important to monitor your intake of sugar and fatty foods.
  3. Over 3 years old. Steady eating habits are still developing, so continue to offer a variety of foods and teach your child the basics of healthy eating.


Teaching a child to eat right from childhood is an investment in his health and future. Establishing healthy eating habits from infancy helps create a healthy lifestyle.

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