The child grows, and with it the needs of the body grow. The role of grains in a child’s nutrition is energy supply – they are more caloric than milk and vegetables, contain vitamins to support the nervous system and protein for growth.
Porridges for the first complementary foods have a number of useful substances, while the composition and benefits of each cereal are slightly different from each other. Some of them are easy to digest, while others take longer. Each grain contains B vitamins, other useful substances:
- wheat (semolina) – easy to digest, rich in starch, protein and gluten, vitamins and minerals
- rice – easy to digest, includes proteins and fiber
- rye is a great complementary food option, high in carbohydrates and fiber, iron, folic acid, magnesium
- barley – easy to digest, rich in starch, fiber, protein and iron
- oats – a lot of protein, iron, zinc, phosphorus and vitamin E
- buckwheat – rutin, flavonoids, proteins and minerals (phosphorus, iron, potassium)
- corn – protein, iron, sodium, potassium, calcium and vitamin C
- millet – strengthens the immune system, the main beneficial substances are iron, calcium, potassium and phosphorus
- quinoa – when added to complementary foods, enriches nutrition with protein, iron, vitamins, phosphorus, fiber, omega-3, and there is more calcium in it than in cow’s milk.
Cereal cereals contain a lot of fiber, which is especially useful for children suffering from constipation.
In defense of gluten
More recently, the introduction of complementary foods containing gluten was strictly prohibited until the end of the first year of life, now experts are more tolerant of it, explaining that a small body should get used to this substance from early childhood, and if an allergy is detected, this will become a prerequisite for maintaining health through a properly formulated diet.
Medical practice has shown that the presence of gluten allergy (celiac disease) does not depend on the timing of the introduction of porridge and the nutrition of the nursing mother, so the question of which porridge to introduce first into complementary foods is more related not to gluten, but to ease of assimilation.
Most often, allergies are caused by wheat, other “culprits” are pearl barley, rye flour, oatmeal and millet. Symptoms of a reaction to gluten in infants include body rash, inflammation of the mouth, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, nasal congestion, and vomiting. If any of these signs occur after the introduction of the cereal, contact your pediatrician.
How to properly introduce porridge into complementary foods
According to experts, cereals should make up 40-60% of a child’s total diet. Each type is introduced gradually, so, from 5-7 months, the child is introduced to porridge made from wheat, rice and corn. Meals, if desired, are prepared independently from finely ground cereals, an analogue of home cooking is specialized porridge from the store.
Manufacturers of baby cereals add sugar and fruits to their compositions, and you can also see packages with two types of cereals. Cereal crops are contained not only in cereals, other products are gradually introduced into complementary foods, for example, bread, cookies and grandmother’s pies.
Porridge for the first feeding should be introduced after the child has tried all the vegetables, if you introduce them earlier, the stomach may not be able to cope with the new food, which will be “reported” by abdominal pain.
After 8-9 months, the child is offered a slice of wheat bread, cereal flakes, pasta and homemade cookies. First they are added to liquid dishes, then they are served as a side dish. Cereals that are first introduced at this age are barley and buckwheat.
Wheat-rye bread is introduced at the 11th month of life, rye bread at the 12th. After a year, the child is treated to pancakes, a bun and a homemade pie.