Weaning: the indications of the Ministry of Health

Fonte: Oksana Kuzmina / Alamy / IPA

The Ministry of Health addresses the weaning of children in some documents, including the guide for the families of Girls and Children of the World and the faq relating to Proper nutrition and nutritional education in early childhood. Let's see all the indications.

What is weaning

Also called weaning or "starting thecomplementary nutrition", Weaning is the transition from an exclusively milky diet to a semi-solid and then solid diet, characterized by the progressive introduction of the so-called"complementary foods", Ie foods other than


When to start

The Ministry of Health recommends that weaning be started, ordinarily, after the first six months. But be careful: it is not a question of triggering a precise X hour.

"There is no precise and equal time for all infants to start weaning: the appropriate timing for introducing the first foods other than milk depends on numerous individual variables, including specific nutritional needs of the child, Its neurophysiological and anatomical development, growth, the mother-child relationship, the specific needs of the mother and the socio-cultural context ".

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One of the main reasons why at a certain point it is necessary to abandon exclusively milk feeding is that this, alone, is no longer enough to satisfy the nutritional requirements of the infant, especially as regards micronutrients such as iron and zinc.

As for iron, full-term babies who are exclusively breastfed usually maintain sufficient supplies of it for the first 6 months. In the categories at risk of deficiency (for example infants born premature) it is preferable to implement one individualized iron supplementation rather than anticipating weaning.

Read also: Supplements and vitamins for children

How to deal with breastfeeding

If the mother has breastfed her baby, weaning does not have to mean the end of breastfeeding, which remains the best way to give the baby, at the same time, nourishment and safety, that is, a affective reference relevant for the acquisition of autonomy.

If the mother wishes, breastfeeding can then continue from the second semester of life up to the second year and even beyond, as suggested by the World Health Organization and as confirmed by the Technical Table on Breastfeeding of the Ministry of Health. . The breastfed child beyond the second year of life, the ministry emphasizes, "should not be seen as a spoiled child and her mother should not consider limiting her maturation and autonomy".

In its faq on baby feeding, the Ministry of Health also points out that breast milk offers various benefits:

for the child:

  • a protective role against gastrointestinal and respiratory infections and cot death (SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome), or the reduction of the incidence of some pediatric cancers (in particular lymphomas and leukemias), the reduction of the future risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease;
  • a positive effect on neuro-cognitive development.
Read also: Obesity and children: WHO invites us to focus on breastfeeding to prevent it

for the mother:

  • reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and type 2 diabetes mellitus;
  • a greater ability in old age to cope withOsteoporosis and its complications because the skeletal system has "got used" to the release of calcium during the lactation period;
  • an opportunity to return to pre-pregnancy weight more quickly, considering the energy expenditure required for milk production.

Weaning, 7 practical tips before starting

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Worried from the start of weaning? Here are some tips to get you started on the right foot and better deal with the inevitable crises. Consulting by Silvia Scaglioni, ...

In what order the foods should be placed

The order in which semi-solid and solid foods are introduced in the weaning phase no longer has the importance that was once attributed to them and can vary according to the preference of the child and the gastronomic culture of the family and the pediatrician who provides the advice. .

Until a few years ago it was preferred to provide very precise information on the order and time of introduction of the various foods, to reduce the risk of allergies. Today, the results of scientific research let us know that limitations of this type do not make sense: postponing (or anticipating) the introduction of certain foods does not affect the risk of developing allergies.

How to introduce food during weaning

There are no defined methods and menus to start weaning. Different dietary models can lead to satisfying nutritional needs of the child between 6 months and 3 years. The interaction between family preferences, the pediatrician's instructions and the socio-cultural and traditional context should be encouraged to help the child develop his own taste and personal food choices with a view to proper nutrition.

Food must be offered with the teaspoon, without forcing the child, possibly allowing him to touch food on the plate and eat with your hands.

You should not insist if you do not like some food but alternate foods that are different in color, flavor and texture. The food initially not accepted, however, must be repeated with patience in subsequent days, possibly prepared in a different way.

It is important that the child eat while sitting with his back straight (preferably in the high chair) to avoid the risk of suffocation and to allow him to actively participate in the meal, touching and even messing with food.

By 9-12 months, the baby should have tried a wide variety of foods and flavors, gradually getting used to consuming two main meals (lunch and dinner) and one or two snacks in addition to milk. The portions must be adequate for the age of the child: in these indications the treating pediatrician can be of valid support.

Read also: https://www.mymodernparents.com/bambino/svezzamento-risposte-esperti

Water during weaning

In addition to milk, during weaning the child must drink water, avoiding drinks with added sugars which are a predisposing factor for the development of cavities and obesity.

Cow's milk is not recommended in the first year of life due to the risk of unbalancing the overall dietary protein intake and, moreover, because it can cause iron deficiencies.


Weaning, what are the first baby food in the rest of the world?

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Sara Honegger in the book A world of baby food explains how children are weaned in various countries. Generally the first taste is fruit: apple, pear, banana, but also mango or papaya ....

What to avoid during weaning

The following should not be added to the foods offered during weaning:

  • sugar: can promote tooth decay;
  • salt: it is already contained in food sufficiently;
  • honey: never below the year of life because it could contain a very dangerous germ, the Botox.

It is also best to avoid low-fat foods such as certain types of milk and yogurt, because fat is important for a growing body, especially the brain. In this regard, the addition of extra virgin olive oil (raw!).

Read also: Weaning: how to prepare the first baby food, from theory to practice

What can the baby eat after one year of life

After one year of life, the child can eat many of the foods intended for the rest of the family, as long as they are offered in a shape and consistency that are easy to chew and swallow and prepared without salt and sugar.

However, the child after 12 months cannot be considered a small adult but has specific nutritional needs that the pediatrician will share with the parents.

Only after one year of life, where breastfeeding is not yet in progress, can the whole cow's milk as a milky component of the diet, which in any case should not be taken in quantities exceeding 200-400 ml / day, to avoid excessive protein intake.

The overall energy intake, between 1 and 3 years, must be adequately divided between the different macro-nutrients. According to the recent indications of the “Levels of Reference Intake and Energy for the population” it should derive 50% from carbohydrates, 40% from fats and only about 10% from proteins.

With regard to foods that provide carbohydrates, it is advisable to moderate the consumption of foods and drinks with added sugars (which should not be given to children under two years of age).

As for fats, 2-3 portions of fatty fish (blue fish, trout, salmon) per week allow you to reach the recommended intakes of long-chain omega 3 fats, such as DHA.

  • guidelines
  • newborn 4-8 months
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