First Complementary Foods: What And When To Give A Child (with Recipes)

Published on: 28/05/2022 | Last Updated: 28/05/2022
First Complementary Foods: What And When To Give A Child (with Recipes)

At 4-6 months of a baby’s life, we begin to add vegetables, fruits, berries and meat to breast milk and mixtures.

At 4-6 months of a baby’s life, we begin to add vegetables, fruits, berries and meat to breast milk and mixtures. Some start solid foods with mashed meats, but more often than not, vegetables are given first. Usually they introduce one new product every 3 days to a week and look at the child's reaction. 

First-born mothers are usually filled with both determination and fear of a new, unknown stage. We will help you and tell you how, what and when to feed your baby. 


When to start feeding?

When the weight of a child has doubled since birth or has become more than 7 kg, the baby sits confidently and is interested in food, wants to eat more and more. WHO recommends starting complementary foods from 6 months, but all babies develop differently, and sometimes babies are already ready to eat from 4 months. Feed your baby vegetable or meat puree before you breastfeed or bottle feed him. 

What should be the consistency and portion of the first purees?

Vegetable and meat puree for the first feeding of the baby should be the consistency of liquid sour cream without lumps. Use a blender or sieve to make puree. If you started to feed, and the baby is choking, add boiled water. Serving for a child 4-6 months - 250 g serving or 1/7 (4-6 months) -1/8 (from 6 months) of the baby's body weight. 

How many times to feed a baby and with what?

We give baby food 1-2 times a day. The first (main) time - vegetable puree. The second time - mashed berries and fruits with the addition of cereals, juice or just an apple or banana crushed with a fork.

What to give to drink to the baby?

In addition to milk formulas, breast milk and water for children, babies are given juices from carrots and apples (in a spoonful). True, there is often an allergy to carrots, and the tummy swells from apple juice, so you should carefully monitor the reaction of the child. Drink also give a weak solution of infusion of chamomile and thyme, especially for colds. But they can also cause allergies. If possible, consult with your pediatrician.

How many foods and how often to introduce into the baby's diet?

Introduce one product every 3 days to a week.

What to feed a 4-6 month old baby?

Complementary foods usually start with mashed potatoes, then carrots are introduced, and after them, other vegetables from the list below. Let's puree no more than three vegetables at a time. 


Vegetables for the first feeding: potatoes, carrots, broccoli, white cabbage, pumpkin, zucchini, cauliflower, lentils, eggplant, beets, tomatoes, turnips, peas, bell peppers.

Cereals, pasta for the first feeding: rice, oatmeal, buckwheat, corn, barley, millet, wheat groats, semolina. Cereals can also be used in flakes and ground in a coffee grinder. 

Meat is given to babies from 6-7 months: poultry, veal, beef, pork, lamb, rabbit meat, game. A portion of meat for a baby up to a year per day is 30 g. 


As for fats in the diet of an infant, it is recommended to add a drop of unrefined cold-pressed vegetable oil to the puree. Vegetable oil will help the baby's body to better absorb vitamins. Butter (first 1 g, later 5) start adding from 7-8 months.

We introduce fish into the baby's diet from 7-8 months.     

We give fruits and berries to babies from 6-7 months: apples, pears, plums, peaches, apricots, bananas, avocados, raspberries, strawberries, strawberries, blueberries. They must be washed, cleaned and doused with boiling water. If necessary, remove the skin. 

Recipes for first meals

Mashed potatoes

Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, just enough to cover the diced potatoes. Peel the potatoes, wash, cut into cubes. Place potatoes in boiling water and boil for 20 minutes. If the water boils away, add more. Rub the cooked potatoes with a spoon through a sieve. A blender usually turns potatoes into a sticky slurry. If the puree is too dry, add boiled water or water in which the potatoes were boiled.

Recipe for mashed cauliflower and zucchini >>>

Mashed potatoes with white cabbage

Cook potatoes as described above. And pour a few cabbage leaves with boiling water for 5 minutes, cutting out the previously dense parts. Then grind with a blender and add to mashed potatoes. 


carrot puree

Rinse the carrots, peel, cut a dense core and cut into cubes. Cook in boiling water for 15-20 minutes. Select with a slotted spoon and beat with a blender or rub through a sieve. If necessary, add boiled water or water in which the carrots were boiled. 

Mango Quinoa Puree >>>

Cook prefabricated mashed potatoes like this: put diced vegetables into boiling water according to the time of their preparation - first those that cook longer. Zucchini, pumpkin and cauliflower cook the fastest (up to 12 minutes).

Rice porrige


Rice can be cooked grain, flaked or ground in a coffee grinder. Rinse the rice grits in a sieve several times and throw it into boiling water, the proportions with water are 1:3. Flakes do not need to be washed. Cover with a lid and lower the heat to medium. Cook rice for 15-20 minutes. If the water boils away, add more. Pass the cooked rice through a sieve. Dilute with boiled water, if necessary.

In the same way, we cook porridge from other cereals, if necessary, pre-soak. Cooking time for cereals is 20-25 minutes.

See how to make baby chicken and rice puree >>>

Chicken puree for babies >>>

Preparing meat for the first feeding


Usually, meat is introduced into complementary foods after vegetables; mashed potatoes are prepared on the basis of one or two familiar vegetables and meat. Start with half a spoon of mashed meat per day and increase the serving every day to the norm (30 g per day). 

So, fresh meat must be washed, cut films and tendons. The meat is cooked whole. Throw in boiling water and cook over low or medium heat. After 5 minutes of cooking, drain the water and fill it with new water. We cook meat separately from vegetables and cereals. We do not use the water in which the meat was cooked. It is even better to steam the meat, however, the cooking time will then increase. You can also steam ground meat. We punch the finished meat with a blender. As for the cooking time of meat, chicken, turkey, rabbit, pork and lamb are cooked for 40 minutes; veal and beef - about an hour.

We give the baby fruits and berries


Apples, pears, plums, apricots and peaches should be washed, peeled and poured over with boiling water. Then puree with a blender or sieve. Bananas and avocados are easy to peel and wipe, no need to pour hot water over them. 

Pear puree for babies >>>

Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and wild strawberries should be put in a sieve and pour over with boiling water, then wipe with a spoon through a sieve. Can be added to porridge.

Try to prepare a dish for the baby at a time or store ready-made mashed potatoes in the refrigerator for no more than three days. 

We freeze seasonal vegetables, fruits, berries


Freeze seasonal vegetables, fruits and berries fresh, preferably in portions in special containers: resealable bags, molds wrapped in cling film. Vegetables must be peeled, washed, dried and chopped for cooking. It is convenient to first freeze on a board in the freezer, and then put it in a container. So vegetables or fruits do not stick together and you can take the desired (small) portion.

Ready-made vegetables and mashed potatoes can be frozen in portions. Ice molds or other containers mentioned above are perfect for this. 

When and how to wean a baby from the breast?

Some mothers can and want to breastfeed their babies for a long time (up to a year or two years), but often women stop breastfeeding their babies just when complementary foods are introduced. It is good if the baby refuses the breast on his own. It is difficult with those who fight for "their right".

There is a lot of information on how to stop breastfeeding your baby. In addition to the recommendations of doctors, women on the forums advise leaving the child to her husband/grandmother and leaving for a few days, someone smears their breasts with something bitter, someone else changes breast milk for bottles ... In the first case, the baby will experience a feeling of fear and resentment , the second is doubtful, the third suggests such a replacement, from which it will also be necessary to wean.

In fact, the mother must be decisive. Set the X day, be with the baby, try to explain to him in a calm voice what you are doing ("Mom has no more milk, we will eat porridge and mashed potatoes"), and do not breastfeed. In a maximum of a day (one night) it will all be over. Yes, the baby will cry (and you probably will too). Yes, you will want to breastfeed again and stop everything (“it’s better I won’t sleep for an eternity, but the baby won’t suffer so much”). Remember: the baby is full, he is at home, surrounded by care and love. You are not doing anything wrong. You will need the support of your spouse or mother, it is very important that they are on your side and, if you give up, you will be scolded. Be strong and healthy! 

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