Otherwise known as baby food, complementary food is what you give your baby in addition to breast milk or formula. You can start feeding your baby complementary food in the form of purees when they are 17 weeks old at the earliest. You can also start later though. Until your child is seven months old, they don't need to be fed much complementary food at all. Also, the age specifications on ready-made baby food are only the earliest possible time from which the respective product can be fed. There is no reason to urge a child to eat from the age mentioned one the product. Basically, milk should still the main food for your child throughout their first year of life. So feel free to give your baby time to get used to eating.

You can usually tell that your baby is ready for complementary foods when they are very interested in what you are eating and when they put things in their own mouth. It is also evident from the fact that the baby can sit upright on your lap for a while with some support. In fact, being able to sit upright is a mandatory requirement for starting complementary feeding. This is because the baby should not be fed in a semi-recumbent position. However, if your baby still spits out a lot when you put something in their mouth, then it is still too early for complementary food. All children have a reflex to spit food out in the first weeks and months of life. Later, this ‘extrusion reflex’ diminishes and disappears altogether.

Experts suggest purees as your baby’s first small meals, which can consist of different healthy foods. The main thing is that the ingredients are well softened and pureed and that you do not add salt, spices or sugar. Three types of puree mixes are best for babies, according to current knowledge. One is based on vegetables, one on fruit and one on milk. You'll learn how to make them below. Every baby has unique tastes. Some like vegetables, others do not. Let your child taste. Your child will show you what they like best by whether they enjoy certain purees or not. Every two to three days you can introduce a new ingredient. Either you add it to the previous mix or you replace one of the previous ingredients with the new one. After a month you can then introduce the next type of puree. Freshly prepared purees are best. However, there are also ready-made baby foods that are formulated according to today's knowledge. When buying, you should make sure that the respective product is not or only slightly seasoned.

Besides vegetables, milk and fruit, oil, meat and fish are also important foods for your child. Canola oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, or safflower oil in your food will help your baby's body absorb important vitamins. Children depend on these fats for the nerve connections in their brains to form properly. However, cold-pressed oils like olive oil are not suitable at this age because they are not pure enough. Meat and egg yolks provide your child with important iron, proteins and B vitamins, among other things. There are healthy omega-3 fatty acids in fish, which are also necessary for the development of your child's nerve cells and brain. Over time, your child should eat all the basic foods your family eats in the form of baby-friendly preparations.

You make a vegetable puree from 100 grams of vegetables, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 2 teaspoons of oil. After a few weeks, you can also add 20 to 30 grams of pureed meat or fish. Many vegetables are good for making baby food, for example, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, pumpkin and parsnips. You can use potatoes, rice or yams for the carbohydrate. For dessert with the vegetable porridge, you can give your baby a tablespoon or 30 grams of pureed fruit.

A fruit meal is prepared from 100 grams of fruit and 20 grams of cereal flakes. There should also be a little water and a teaspoon of canola oil in the puree. The fruit must always be cooked during the first weeks in which your baby eats complementary foods. The only exception is very ripe bananas. After a few weeks, you can use the fruit raw if it is soft enough or can be pureed finely so that your baby cannot choke on it. This type of puree is also not a snack, but a full meal.

For a puree with milk you need 200 millilitres of milk, 20 grams of cereal flakes and 30 grams or a tablespoon of pure fruit puree. You can find cereal that you just mix with hot water on the baby shelf. They are pre-cooked and are the easiest for children to digest. You can also use formula instead of water for mixing. Only use cereal that has no sugar, no flavoring, and no additional formula. Otherwise, the baby will get used to unhealthy food. Sugar also harms babies’ teeth. You can prepare baby food with pasteurized milk from the supermarket for older children who are at least nine or ten months old. You shouldn't use raw milk. It may contain bacteria that are dangerous for the baby.

In the beginning, it is enough to offer your child one to two spoonfuls of baby food. Half of it will probably end up on the baby’s bib at first. That’s fine. They still also get breast milk or formula. After the first attempts at eating, it is best to breastfeed your baby additionally or give them their bottle. They will get used to being fed over time and will also drink less milk. Your child doesn't have to eat the whole portion of baby food you prepare in one meal. The recommended amounts are daily servings. They can be spread out over one or more meals. If your baby won't eat the baby food, they may not be ready for solids. If that happens, just wait another week or two and try again after that. Even in their second year of life, your child should still eat more dairy products than complementary food.

Baby led weaning means your child decides their own timeline for weaning from breast milk. This form of complementary feeding is becoming increasingly popular. However, it is controversial among experts. With this method, your child learns to eat solid meals while still breastfeeding. This is done very carefully and gradually by offering your baby bite-sized pieces of banana or other soft foods every now and then. They decide for themself how much and what it eats of it. You only help with the meal, so you do not actually feed the baby. Parents who want to use this method must take time for meals and never leave the baby unattended.

By the time you introduction of the third type of pureed meal at the latest you can offer your baby some water to drink. Still water from a cup, mug or glass is best. Spill-proof drinking vessels are great to have on the go. But you shouldn't use them all the time. They aren’t good for your baby’s teeth.

Some parents want to feed their child a vegetarian or even vegan diet. Many experts consider this to be problematic. Indeed, meat, fish and dairy products contain nutrients that are very important for babies. If you still want to feed your child a vegetarian or vegan diet, you should definitely seek nutritional advice. In fact, feeding your baby a vegetarian diet is relatively easy because animal products such as cow's milk and eggs are allowed along with plant foods. It is more difficult to feed a baby a truly vegan diet. But you can later prepare vegan complementary foods. However, to ensure that your child gets all the nutrients they need, you must be well versed in this type of diet and take great care with it.