What is the best food for infants?

More than 20 centuries of feeding and we are still not clear about what is the best feeding for us and our babies! I make this statement because in Infant Nutrition there are constant changes to try to improve feeding and its consequences. What we thought yesterday was unthinkable or that it was a panacea is questioned a few years later.

Changes in the infant diet

Currently, there are dizzying changes taking place in terms of the diet that infants should follow. Moreover, the information available to us, both health professionals and parents, and the speed with which it appears in the different channels is so great that at times it can be difficult to “digest”.

On-demand breastfeeding is more fruitful

What seems clear and has been maintained over the years is that the best food a baby can eat is breastfeeding, and if it is the exclusive food during the first 6 months of life, all the better. Moreover, if breastfeeding is done on demand, without imposing rhythms and schedules, it will be more fruitful. Likewise, this does not prevent that, without being dogmatic, in certain cases and due to social needs, some parents are recommended to try to “regulate” their babies following schedules that are more adapted to the family’s day-to-day life. And, of course, without stigmatizing those families who voluntarily decide not to “breastfeed”; in this sense, fortunately, today we have artificial milks of an extraordinary quality. I always tell my patients that they are comparing the best, which is breastfeeding, with something good, which is formula feeding; in no case is the comparison the best with the worst.

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The Baby Led Weaning method

However, a few years ago, a magnificent study was carried out in Europe on ‘Breastfeeding and Celiac Condition’, and we got a big “disappointment” because it was found that breastfeeding did not protect against the onset of celiac disease, regardless of how long breastfeeding was done and when gluten was introduced into the diet.

And now, to “complicate” everything a little more, a new way of introducing complementary feeding to infants has been appearing for some years: the Baby Led Weaning method, known by the acronym BLW. For some, it is the best way ever known for children to learn to eat, and if you don’t do it, you are a heretic. For others, it is a real aberration that will only lead to the fact that one day a child will die of choking. Please understand that, when I say some and others, I am referring to both pediatricians and parents.