You can send your child to daycare as long as you explain the diet and the importance of following it to the people responsible. If you choose this option, it is better to call upon a minder who comes to your home or one with few children under her care in order to mitigate the risk of infections that could lead to “decompensation”.
It is crucial that people who take care of your child are fully available, understand the issues at stake and are reliable. In the beginning, before diversification, you will often prepare the milk bottles for the entire day yourself. You must make sure the minders understand that your child should be given his or her own milk bottles, and no other ones. You can also ask the minder who takes care of your child to come to a few consultations so that she can become familiar with the strict diet and treatment of your baby from the start. This will help her to decide whether she can live up to this responsibility.
Your baby may be at risk for decompensation with increased blood levels if there is a mix-up with the milk bottles or if he or she does not get enough food. The minder must be aware of these situations and able to contact you straight away if she has any questions.
Diversification begins around the age of 4 to 6 months —just like with other children. Fruits and vegetables will be introduced at the same age and in the same amounts, but you will need to calculate their leucine content and avoid exceeding the prescribed daily amount.
As with other children, introduce one new food at a time, every two to three days (a new fruit or vegetable).
If your child likes these new foods, he or she may no longer want to take all of the mixture of amino acids with the milk bottle. However, it is important that the baby receives the entire prescribed amount every day. This does not mean he or she needs to be “forced” to eat.
If someone else is taking care of your child, make sure this person understands that:
- your child can eat vegetables, potatoes and fruits, but only in certain quantities. You may choose to prepare meals yourself;
- that he or she needs to take all of the mixture of amino acids every day.
If you trust this person, you can later teach him or her the equivalence system or plan the meals together with this person. Give the minder a list of forbidden foods that must not be given to your child and explain why.
Food hiding behaviour and/or significant errors in the diet will inevitably lead to increased blood concentrations. It is crucial to RAISE AWARENESS of this among people around the child!
Provide the minder with small biscuits or hypoproteic foods so that the child gets “compensation” for foods he or she cannot eat, particularly if your child is being cared for together with other children.
Children are very curious, and it is important to encourage their curiosity towards foods. Take advantage of your child’s desire to become a little more autonomous to talk about his or her special diet.
Take your child with you when you go shopping and let him or her choose fruits and vegetables by naming them and guiding your child through the wide range of produce.
Fruits and vegetables (including potatoes) are and will remain the foundation of your child’s diet. The sooner he or she tries new flavours, textures and colours, the sooner he or she will accept different foods and the easier it will be for your child to accept and enjoy the diet.
If you are at the supermarket and there is a promotion on cured sausages, pâté or other forbidden foods, tell your child why these foods are not allowed, but let him or her choose another food (fruit jelly, acid drops, small fruits, etc.).
Meals are key moments in the social development of a child. Whenever possible, your child should share them with your family and/or in the community. Come up with meals for your child that resemble those for the rest of the family or those the minder has planned for the other children he or she is in charge of.
The family provides support: if your child has older siblings, he or she will learn to eat from them. Siblings can offer encouragement. If there are no siblings, eat with your child; do not think that the diet is better implemented by supervising the child while he or she eats on her own. When your child starts using the spoon alone, let him or her be clumsy and drop pieces of food around the plate. Avoid overprotecting your child in order to prevent spoiled behaviour and even tantrums, which come as a reaction.
He or she can refuse to eat or pilfer food to “test your limits” because your child knows food is a way of catching your attention. As with any other child, you will have to set limits.
Let him or her GET INVOLVED with cooking as soon as possible. If your child gets involved, he or she will get interested and want to try new foods.
Make the most of textures, smells and colours. Let your child prepare recipes as soon as he or she is capable of doing so. Strive for variety in the dishes you prepare, which are all based on vegetables and/or fruits, to prevent your child from getting tired of this type of food.
Use spices and sauces based on vegetable broths, white wine and chicken stock to change the flavour of your dishes. You can set up a cupboard within reach of your child with allowed foods inside it. This way, not all foods are forbidden and you reduce the risk of “pilfering”. Menus can include dishes for the whole family, as long as you calculate the number of parts they contain.
In the community, at school
If your child cannot take his or her meal at home), after applying for a Personalised Care Plan (PAI, Projet d’Accueil Individualisé), provide a meal box that resembles the school canteen as much as possible because this period is filled with “temptations”. Make it known that your child needs to spend time with others and, therefore, must not eat alone (under supervision, of course).
When there are birthday parties, workshops, etc., offer to provide the ingredients and/or cake so that your child can share food with the other children; your child’s diet is not “bad” for them, and this will help him or her to feel less “different”.
When there are family parties (with a buffet), do not keep your child away; instead, help him or her pick allowed foods: raw vegetables, fruits, sorbets, sweets, etc. Little by little, your child will get used to asking whether he or she can eat certain foods or not and take on responsibility.