According to the World Health Organization (WHO). Infants should start receiving foods in addition to breast milk at 6 months. Breast milk is unquestionably the food of choice for infants. As it was designed to provide the necessary energy and nutrients in the proper amounts. It contains the correct ratio of fat, protein and carbohydrates that the infant needs. It also contains specific and non specific immune factors that support and strengthen the immune system of the newborn.
Breast milk should continue to be the predominate source of nutrition at this stage, but other foods are added as a complementary source of nutrients if the infant is not meeting their nutritional needs through breast milk.
Around 6 months, an infant’s energy needs increase. Which is why complementary foods are needed to help provide additional nutrients. At 6-8 months of age. The complementary foods can be added 2-3 times per day in addition to the breast milk, and increased to 3-4 times per day around 9-11 months.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends adding in complementary foods when the infant is developmentally ready. Usually around 4-6 months of age. Developmentally ready refers to the infant being able to;
- Hold his head up by himself
- Sit without support,
- Have good head and neck control
- Has the ability to munch and chew
- Be able to use the tongue to move pureed foods to the back of the mouth for swallowing
- Can bring their hands to their mouth
- Shows an interest in food
- Most infants reach these milestones by 4-6 months of age
It is important to not give infants food before 4 months of age as they are not physiologically or developmentally ready. Their GI tracts, renal system, and immunological system are not mature, and they are only capable of digesting milk that is easily digestible and bio-available. Do not start feeding your child solids because you received advice that the infant is old enough, hungry, or they may sleep longer. It’s imperative that the infant is physiologically and developmentally ready, and their body is mature and developed enough to handle food. Introducing food too early is associated with developing diabetes mellitus associated autoimmunity, and childhood obesity.
A Note From The Raise Vegan Staff
Don’t forget to check out the Facebook Group Ask A Vegan Nutritionist for some great ideas on easy peasy meal ideas for that amazing plant based family! We have awesome posts about Amazing Snacks To Feed Your Kids & If you’re looking for other like minded parents, we have the main group, Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting, over thirty thousand parents, all Raising Vegan! From homeschooling, to food and everything in between. We have you covered for every over asked question that may come your way.
Raising children vegan is sometime wrought with worries about nutrition, and doubts from outside influences. You are doing an amazing thing for your kids, the planet, and most importantly, the animals. We thank you, we are grateful to you, and we admire you! Keep on rocking vegan parents, we are changing the world together!