Is your little one already six months old? Now, 6 months is the perfect time to start weaning your baby as the baby needs extra nutrients for growth and the body can also now cope with the external solids. The most exciting of all milestones your child reaches, is most definitely his or her transition to solids. With it, a dozen other questions follow, including when to feed, what to feed, and what not to feed.
Know that a baby’s first foods are no fancy recipes with seasonings! They are supposed to be single flavours for your baby – pureed, mashed, pulped, chopped – all at different stages of their growth. Let us try and chart out when should they be fed, and with what. Do remember to fill your pediatrician in, on your plans.
In bringing the world of solid foods to your child, you as a parent are helping your child shape his or her relationship with food, and letting them establish an eating style that is a healthy one. Except, of course, the time of such introduction depends from infant to infant. To find out if your baby is ready for baby food, look out to find if he or she displays the following signs –
- Starting to support his or her neck up, and sit.
- Grabbing food with hands, wanting to feel its texture and trying to put it in their mouth.
- Picks up the spoon, sometimes only to imitate adults around.
- No longer pushes food out of their mouth using the tongue.
Nutrition from milk, either breast milk or formula, after six months is not sufficient for the nutritional growth of your baby. And this is exactly when solid foods need to be added to your child’s diet.
The ‘What’ and ‘What Not’
At Months 4 - 6 :
At this starting point, try and keep things simple, and prepare single ingredient purees using the following :
Bananas are rich in fibre and potassium, and are supposed to be a perfect food for your child. They are very gentle on the insides of the baby’s stomach.
A carrot puree, with its pleasant texture, provides a natural sweet taste to your child’s taste buds. A rich supply of Vitamin A can be provided to your baby even with its simple presentation.
Although the peas may seem tiny they are a huge source of nutrition, packed with vitamins, protein, calcium, and iron. Passing the puree through a fine mesh sieve will ensure the skin pieces are removed.
Sweet Potatoes are loaded with health benefits. Its puree too makes a yummy and nutritious food for the baby.
At Months 6 - 8 :
It’s time to prepare your baby’s first foods like purees slightly thicker in consistency, and with more than one ingredient. Combine them one at a time – the ones you are sure your child is not allergic to. It is recommended to run a double check with your pediatrician on purees made out of :
Banana and Avocado
Potassium and Vitamin C rich, this combination also contains good fats and fibre. The banana adds sweetness to this preparation.
Potatoes, carrots, and peas make a great combination. Some like to introduce their babies to non vegetarian food like fish, along with this mix of the three veggies
Beetroot and Blueberry
This nutritious blend is rich in fibre, and can make a delicious breakfast for your baby, when added to a cereal.
At Months 8 - 10 :
A papaya with its enzymes helps in digestion, and so makes a good food to help relieve the baby of tummy troubles. However, it is best to wait until eight months before introducing the papaya.
It is about time that you let your baby taste some tang. Peal, deseed, and mash the mango to get a fine consistency.
Potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, onions – all of them can be cooked and mashed to make a nutritious food option for your baby.
Water and Juices
While your baby’s digestive system is still developing, make sure he/she gets enough water. Prepare natural juices, without sugar at home.
At Months 10 - 12 :
Now that your child is 11 months old already, he/she can eat various fruits, veggies, and meat. Along with breast milk or formula, an average 11 month old baby will require three meals a day along with a snack. You could give them :
Do not start off with cow milk just yet. Give your baby other dairy products like curd.
Grains and Pulses
Give your child some variety, and switch between various pulses and grains.
Leafy greens like fenugreek and spinach are beneficial particularly because of the iron they contain. You may go ahead and feed your baby with these now.
Stay patient with your baby, and keep your creativity running, because in no time they will grow up and begin to ask for burgers, pizzas, sodas, and other junk food of all sorts. While you still can, try and make sure that your baby’s first foods are healthy, and the experience is fun for all involved