After about a month, you can introduce the second meal, which will go to replace the evening feeding. This is not a fixed date and should be assessed based on the age at which weaning was started, the time it took to get the little one to accept the first solid meal, the child's tolerance and your paediatrician's advice. Often, the introduction of the second meal coincides with the transition to 4 meals daily, and the second meal becomes the last meal of the day.
With the transition to the second meal, the child is already accustomed to less sweet tastes and creamy textures and, in general, more easily accepts new food. Now, while continuing to respect his pace and maintaining the same gradual introduction of new foods, you can make variations in taste and texture to the meal that he has learned to enjoy:
- you can add a few teaspoons of mashed vegetables to the broth, to enrich the taste of the soup but also vitamins, minerals and fibre to favour intestinal regularity;
- in place of meat, you can include cheese, an important new entry in the second meal Rich in high biological content protein, cheese provides a good source of calcium. Besides parmesan cheese, you can offer low-fat cheeses like ricotta, robiola, crescenza or goat cheese.
From 6 to 9 months
From 6 months on, the child's weight has doubled from birth and, in the last few weeks, he will have made great progress in terms of food. He has learned to become familiar with new habits, to accept varied foods and has become more confident with a spoon, and his appetite has adapted to new rhythms.
- Now that the child is consuming more energy, it's time to introduce grains with gluten: multi-grain and whole grain creams, wheat semolina, noodles (in smaller sizes) and rice can be added to the vegetable broth. With the appearance of the baby's first teeth, he will also be able to enjoy pasta.
- Around 7-8 months (except in cases of allergy in the family) it's time to introduce fish, which offers a good amount of vitamins and minerals and is rich in polyunsaturated fats. Cod, hake and sole are the first types of fish that you can give him first.
- Diversity is also important with meat, which shall remain the essential ingredient of one of the two main meals. Besides chicken, rabbit and turkey, the child can try stronger tasting meat too, like red meat and pork and, from 7-8 months, you can offer cooked ham without polyphosphates, with the fat removed and finely minced (or, alternatively, homogenised).
- If there are no cases of allergy in the family, you can also introduce eggs at this time. Around the 7th-8th month, you can give the child the egg yolk, gradually, using the tip of a teaspoon to get the internal yolk. The yolk can be offered 2 times a week instead of meat in the soup. It is best to wait for the child to turn one before introducing the egg white.
- Also legumes make their appearance in the child's diet at this time: beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas (without the skin) can be used to prepare a vegetable broth or can occasionally be alternated with meat, when combined with carbohydrates (pasta and grains).
- Another new addition is yoghurt, which can be offered as a snack (an alternative to breast milk or formulas, with biscuits). As with other foods, you should always check the label to make sure the food is free of preservatives, flavourings and colourings.
- With regards to fruit, the child can now eat apples, pears, bananas and also plums, apricots, etc. Citrus fruits, peaches and pineapple, potentially allergenic, should be introduced with caution: if there are no cases of allergy in the family, they can be eaten starting from the 8th month; otherwise, it is best to wait for the child to turn one. It is also best to wait to introduce "red fruits" (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.) and kiwis until after one year of age.
During this first phase of weaning, you must always consider not only the nutritional requirements, but also and especially the child's psycho-emotional needs. For parents, patience, serenity, and the teaching of a few, simple rules are the order of the day. Do not hurry, rush or cause the little one anxiety.