Facts and advice on taste portions. Directly by pediatricians. Taste portions of food are usually given to babies at 3, 4 or maybe 5 months of age. How to introduce food has varied over time. And how is it: to avoid salt, beets, green leafy vegetables and honey?
Give yourself the food you need, when you need it!
If you have not previously prioritized your need for food, I think you should start when you have children. I think you know what you need, but I repeat: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner at fairly fixed times. Half vegetables / fruits, one quarter protein, one quarter carbohydrates and some useful fat, in each one. If you are not used to cooking, a ready-made food bag with recipes is a good cookery school.
Have your child sit with you at the table while eating. If it suits and they do not sleep already from birth. My kids liked to sit on our knees at the dining table. When they can sit unaided, they can sit in their own chair, if they wish.
Give the child food when the child shows interest!
At the age of three to four months, children begin to be able to bring their hand to their mouth more willingly than before. They will then also become more interested in things in their surroundings. Some children begin to show interest in the food that others in the family eat at this age. Then they can start to try their own portions to taste. Others wait for over a year before they are interested. Most children have started eating other foods than breast milk / replacement at the age of 7-8 months. Let the child taste what the child is interested in when the child shows interest!
At what age should one begin to give tasters?
The advice on when babies should be served portions has varied over the last fifty years. For a long time it was four months. In the 90s came an idea of 6 months of complete abstinence. It was then recommended not to give anything except breast milk and d-drops for 6 months. A couple of years ago, the National Food Agency changed and began recommending tiny tasters from four months. None of the recommendations have been based on any strong research results.
Age for taster portions and allergy risk
Over the past two years, researchers have published two large well-researched research studies to try to clarify the issue of whether it can protect against allergy development to give taster portions early. In one, the researchers allowed children to either get taster portions of peanuts, eggs and four other foods from 3 months, or from 6 months. It turned out that among the children whose parents managed to introduce peanut and eggs to early had very few allergies to these foods.
But only half of the studied families succeeded in introducing food according to the study protocol. This has led to discussions about whether it was really the food introduction that was protective or if families with a high risk of allergy development did not follow the protocol and that is why those who followed the protocol did not get allergies later. The study failed to provide clear answers to when to start with foods that many people are allergic to. However, the results do not support giving advice to wait for 6 months before giving anything other than milk.
In another study, children at high risk of peanut allergy were assigned to either eat peanut early or avoid peanut to the age of five. The children in that study were between 4 and 11 months old. The study showed a strong protective effect of starting to eat peanut compared to avoiding this on the risk of developing peanut allergy.
Salt for infants
There is a myth that baby's kidneys cannot tolerate salt. It's not true. Babies need salt just like all of us. The National Food Agency now says that it is unnecessary to accustom children to too salty food because we all feel better about not eating too salty food. Sure, but if the baby wants to taste a chip or an olive, it goes well.
Green leafy vegetables
The Food Council's dietary advice also states that children under one year should not get beets or green leafy vegetables because they are nitrate rich. What may happen to babies who receive large amounts of beets or green leafy vegetables is that their hemoglobin molecules in the red blood cells cannot bind oxygen. Dangerous: yes! But the risk is only increased for children under 3-4 months of age. The the American Pediatric Society recommends so that children under three months should not get homemade baby food based on beets or green leafy vegetables. At the same time, they note that children under the age of 4-6 months are not recommended any food other than breast milk / replacement… I totally buy the advice of American colleagues. If you are going to give your baby who is under three months of age homemade soup or puree (why?) Then do not give it spinach soup or beetroot puree! Especially not one that was prepared several days ago.
Honey contains spores of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum which can grow in the baby's gut and produce a very dangerous nerve poison. Children older than one year and adults have an environment in the gastrointestinal tract that kills the spores and is thus not sensitive. Don't give honey to a child under the age of one year, and don't eat honey when the child is watching (it is not good to eat something dangerous and do not invite them to try it!)
When the child wants to eat some more
Some kids love food right from the start and are rapidly increasing the amount they want. At the same rate, they reduce breastfeeding / bottle feeding. Some children take it more carefully and ponder over the food for a long time. Many of those children also continue to breastfeed or bottle-feed for a long time. As long as the child grows well, it gets enough in itself, and the mix of milk / substitute / food is highly individual.
Some children like pureed food, and if you have such a child, it is very convenient to buy ready-made baby food jars. Of course, they are nutritionally calculated and well-balanced and if you are really comfortable then you try to serve the child room-temperature canned food. If the child likes it then there is nothing wrong with it!
Other children do not like pureed food but prefer to pick the food and suck it or mash it in the mouth. These children usually do not eat large amounts until they have teeth for natural reasons.
Extra fat in your baby's food!
Your baby needs a little more fatty food than you, so add a teaspoon of oil you like (canola oil or olive oil, for example) in your baby's taster portions. If your baby eats more than just a taste, the proportions of one-third of vegetables, one-third of protein, and one-third of carbohydrates with added fat can be a good benchmark.
Serve food you and your baby like!
It's fun to eat when you get to eat things you like. So serve something like you and your baby like.
If your baby likes different kinds of food, please prioritize iron-rich food
If you are lucky enough that your baby turns out to like different types of food, please give iron-rich foods, such as red meat, a few times a week or every day as taster portions. If you do not want to give the child meat, give lentils / beans in a meal and dried fruit to a meal and introduce iron fortified porridge or porridge after 6-7 months of age. Another alternative is to continue with iron-enriched porridge or gruel.
No theatre at the dining table!
Many first-born children become the main character with big H at the dining table when it's time for their food. It usually becomes difficult for them and soon they discover that parents have all their focus on eating. If they are a bit reluctant with the food but love to be sung and cuddled with, they will soon realize that they can make their parents cuddle and sing and play fantastically fun scenes at the dining table only they sometimes need to eat a little. Don't go easy! It gets foolproof and is also rarely ineffective. Let the child eat what the child wants, if the baby wants to be fed: put up with it. Otherwise, the baby may pick whatever it wants while eating.
Never force feed!
Babies who do not eat can create so much anxiety in their parents that their parents begin to force feed them. Never do it! It aggravates an already poor food situation very quickly. If the baby does not want to start tasting any food at 8-9 months of age at all and you as a parent are beginning to find it difficult, talk to your BVC nurse. They are very good with issues concerning food and make sure you have a wise and caring BVC nurse who can support you when needed.