Tips on Complementary Foods for Babies


Is sweet or salty food okay? Can my baby eat fried chicken? These questions are familiar to parents whose children start consuming complementary foods (MPASI). A lot of information can actually triggers misunderstanding. 

Upon entering the age of 6 months, breast milk alone is not enough to meet the nutritional needs of children. Therefore, complementary foods are needed. According to Dr. Lucia Pudyastuti R. SpA, complementary foods need to be given appropriately and adequately. This is because the supply of these nutrients is needed by the body in the development of body cells. Especially the brain.

The pediatrician at St Vincentius a Paulo Catholic Hospital (RKZ) Surabaya explained that children need high calorie intake during complementary feeding. ”In one dish, there must be three elements. Carbohydrates, protein, and fat,” he said. Although high in calories, the composition of the ingredients must be right and balanced.

Lucia stated, in giving complementary foods, animal sources of protein are prioritized. ”Meat, fish, or eggs are mandatory because they contain complete protein and micronutrients needed to build body cells. Especially brain cells,” she explained.

However, animal protein sources need not be expensive. Affordable local food ingredients, such as mackerel or catfish, have a nutritional content that is not inferior to salmon.

During the provision of complementary foods, the doctor and lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Surabaya suggested that parents be diligent in introducing various food ingredients. ”As long as there’s no allergies. Adjust the texture to the child’s age,” added Lucia. So that the child likes to eat, she encourages parents to process solid food with a good taste.

”Many parents are misguided. The image of ‘healthy food doesn’t need a lot of seasoning’ has stuck,” he said.

As a result, the complementary foods menu often tastes bland. In fact, Lucia admits, there are still many parents who are anti-salt. In fact, on the instructions for giving complementary foods by UKK Nutrition and Metabolic Diseases of the Indonesian Pediatrician Association (IDAI), which was written in 2018, spices may be given. Salt and sugar can also be given to taste.

Lucia also added that sometimes mom and dad are too careful in preparing complementary foods. He explained, many parents often get paranoid with fried foods. ”Fried are hostile. In fact, the oil or butter used for frying is a good source of fat for children. With a note, the oil is not used (cooking),” she explained.

According to him, the complementary foods menu for children does not need to be complicated. She gave an example, porridge with chicken already meets the requirements for complementary foods. Rice porridge represents carbohydrates, chicken as a source of protein and fat.

”Menu like this are local, easy to made, and taste good. It’s just a matter of the level of subtlety according to the age of the child,” added Lucia.

Lucia assessed that there were still many misunderstandings about the complementary foods processing that had a serious impact. Many children end up refusing to eat..

”Sometimes, there are children whose growth graphs are good when they are still exclusively breastfeeding. However, as soon as we enter the MPASI age, there is growth faltering so that the graph is sloping,” he said.

Lucia reminded, father and mother must continue to carry out routine checks for the little one. Do not wait until the babies get sick. ”The goal is, if the growth graph goes down or up but is sloping, the cause can be identified, so that can be handled faster,” he said.

If the child refuses to be fed, prepare finger food

Defy Pakartining Tyas is lucky that his second child – Ceisya Hana Kamila, 1 year old – is not a typical picky eater, unlike the eldest El Zavier Atharizz Hamizan. Even so, when her daughter entered the complementary age group, Defy felt that she was learning again.

”Having to update the knowledge of complementary foods again,’ she said. Defy did not hesitate to experiment. He prepares special cooking spices that are free of MSG and preservatives. With spices and herbs – just like home cooking – made lighter.

In order for Ceisya to eat well, the atmosphere must be pleasant. Ceisya sat on the high chair. If the child is not in the mood to be fed, Defy offers to feed himself. If the move doesn’t work either, Defy makes a finger food version of the menu. “That trick often works” he explained.


– To replace the powdered broth, Defy makes stock stock from chicken feet cooked with spices. The broth is frozen in single-cook portions.

– In order not to get bored from eating one food ingredient in three meals, Defy cooks it in a soup, processed in an omelette, and stir-fried.

– Food should be served warm as much as possible. That way, the aroma and taste provoke appetite.

– Add brightly colored vegetables such as carrots and broccoli.

– Make sure to wash your hands before cooking. Make it a habit for children to wash their hands before starting to eat.

– Separate cutting boards for cutting raw and cooked foods.

– Eggs, meat, and fish should be completely well-cooked.

– Oil, butter, or coconut milk can be used for extra calories.

– Avoid providing foods with high fat content and MSG flavorings.


– Honey can only be given after the child is 1 year old.

– For children under 2 years, vegetables and fruit are given as an introduction. Because, vegetables and fruits are filling, but the calorie content is low.

– Fruit juices are not recommended for children under 1 year. Give fruit in pieces (or mashed if the child is in the early stages of giving complementary foods) as a distraction.

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