bébé diversification

All you need to know to vary baby’s diet

In order to vary your baby’s diet with no problems, you need to take it step by step…


When should I start to vary baby’s diet?

It can be started from the beginning of the 4th month and up to the 7th month. You should always seek the advice of a health care professional. Breast milk or infant formula remain an important staple food for infants until their first birthday.

Baby is willing to accept new foods if he or she:

  • finishes his or her bottles,
  • tries to put anything that gets too close in his or her mouth,
  • is curious about what’s on your plate.


What are the steps for adding variation?

First phase : the great discovery of food

The idea is to introduce one new food at a time so that the child can discover new tastes and avoid allergies.

First, offer vegetables, always well cooked and with a smooth texture. Choose vegetables that are “soft” and easy to digest courgette, carrot, pumpkin, green beans or sweet potato. After 2 weeks, try fruit, making sure it is cooked and has a smooth texture. Choose sweet and ripe fruit: apple, pear, banana, peach, apricot.

If you cook them yourself, then make sure you don’t add any salt or sugar into the mix! As baby‘s palate is brand new, the experience of taste is not the same as for adults! Let him or her enjoy all the natural flavours of plain fruit and vegetables!

If you opt for the little jars on the market, whose production is highly regulated, it is best to start with those that contain only one vegetable or fruit!

For the first few days, introduce 1 or 2 spoonfuls of a new food to baby to have a taste. Adapt to his or her reactions. If he or she refuses, don’t force it and try again some other day in different forms. This is perfectly normal, sometimes it takes several tries. If he or she refuses to use the spoon, you can always mix a bit of vegetable or fruit purée into the bottle of milk!

DID YOU KNOW ?  In order for a food to be accepted easily, it must be presented several times to baby, as soon as the diet starts to become more varied.

Don’t deprive your baby of fats! They play a vital role in brain development! As soon as baby is used to the taste of vegetables, add a little butter or oil (rapeseed, olive or nut) to the preparations!

Infant grains are a useful and safe food to first begin to vary the diet. To start gently, introduce gluten-free grains from 4 months and gluten-containing grains from 6 months (to prevent the risk of allergies). They help to diversify the tastes and textures of milk and thus prevent baby from getting bored!

Second phase: supplement the needs of the infant, discover new textures and progressively increase to 4 meals a day (from 6 months)

This second phase marks the change from smooth food to ground and chopped textures. From the age of 1 year, this is the opportunity to establish a healthy and well-varied diet with all types of food, in small pieces and in suitable quantities, without too much salt or sugar.

During this phase, all food categories are introduced:

  • Grain products: at first well cooked and ground – 2 teaspoons with the vegetablesAround 12 months: well cooked and chopped – 3 tablespoons with the vegetables;

  • Meat, fish and egg: at first: well cooked and ground – 2 teaspoons or 1/4 egg, around 12 months: well cooked and ground – 4 teaspoons or 1/2 egg

  • Dairy products: yoghurt or plain fromage blanc from time to time instead of the bottle. Cheese will be introduced after 10 months.

You can introduce nuts and peanuts by adding a little peanut paste to the formula or in the bottle!

A few rules to follow:

  • don’t forget to mix or finely crush the food,
  • do not add salt or sugar, limit protein,
  • before 3 years, eggs, meat and fish must be eaten well cooked,
  • before 3 years, raw milk and raw milk cheeses, with the exception of pressed cooked cheeses (Comté, Gruyère) are not recommended,
  • honey should be avoided before 12 months, except in processed foods specific to this age category,
  • listen for your baby’s hunger and satiety signals and monitor growth to make sure his or her food intake matches his or her needs.

Dietary diversification table of the health record


How to introduce new textures?

There are signs that baby is ready to consume less smooth textures, if he or she:

  • keeps his or her head and back straight in the chair,
  • swallows smooth, thick purées without difficulty,
  • makes jaw movements when bringing food to his or her mouth,
  • is able to hold food in his or her hand and bring it to his or her mouth,
  • shows interest in meals.

This transition to a more textured diet ideally takes place between 8 and 10 months (according to the European paediatric organisation, ESPGHAN), depending on the development of the child’s capacities.

DID YOU KNOW ?  A study carried out with children aged 3 to 10 years showed that handling food with the hands could help to acceptance its texture.

Discover all our advice on baby food and nutrition on the Hi Families webzine by clicking here.


Important notice: breastfeeding is the best way to feed your child. Good maternal nutrition is important to prepare and continue breastfeeding. Partial breastfeeding can interfere with the breastfeeding process and it is difficult to backtrack on the choice not to breastfeed. It is important to follow the instructions for preparation and use of infant formulas. Formula that is incorrectly prepared could pose a health risk for the child.

Besides milk, water is the only other essential drink. Teach your child to avoid snacking between meals. Being active and playing are essential for your child’s development. www.mangerbouger.fr

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