The diversification stage corresponds to the transition from a diet consisting exclusively of milk to a varied diet. It begins at 6 months and continues gradually until the age of 3 years. Your child will slowly expand his palette of tastes, flavours and textures.
When and how to start diversification?
At 6 months of age, this is when your child begins to be able to chew more or less solid foods and to swallow them better. In addition, milk no longer covers all his needs. For “at-risk” children, i.e. those predisposed to food allergies, it is recommended that you do not begin to diversify until after 6 months of age.
The diversification phase is not done in one and the same way for all babies. Give him time to get used to this new food and to get used to the textures and tastes.
Adapt the food to his needs
Energy requirements are very high at the beginning of life. Moreover, this is the period during which lipids are necessary for the development of the nervous system. Fat intake should not be reduced at this time. Moreover, breast milk is extremely rich in lipids. The use of low-fat dairy products is not recommended. In addition, seasoning fats can be added to dishes such as vegetables or purées.
To each his own rhythm
Your child may have a taste for discovery, but may not be keen on change. Each child has his or her own pace and it is important to respect that. Moving from liquid to stronger textures is not easy for your baby.
Respecting your child’s tastes and preferences
What to do if he refuses a food? Don’t insist, but don’t be discouraged! Offer it again a few days later, then try again several times. This is the best way to avoid systematic opposition. Children tend to prefer nutritious foods: repeated consumption gradually establishes a link between the taste they elicit and their effects on the body.
Manage the amount and frequency of meals
From the first months, a child is able to adapt the quantities he consumes according to his needs. He thus regulates his food intake throughout the day: if he eats “too much” at one meal, he will eat less at the next meal (this is a capacity that we “unlearn” as we grow older). Trust him, and if he is no longer hungry, don’t force him to finish his plate.
As for the rhythm of meals, it is 4 per day from 6-8 months: breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. Structuring your child’s diet throughout the day in this way allows him to acquire good habits as early as possible. It is also a way to pass on the pleasure of spending time at the table.