Baby food guide,
between 4 - 6 months of age, depending upon your preference, your
baby's readiness and your paediatrician's advice, semi-solid food
will be added to your baby's diet.
in many families this introduction to cereals is celebrated by a
ceremony which is generally held at 6 months. But a baby may be
ready for semi-solid food even before this.
Choosing the right time is important as if you start your baby too
early she will not be able to swallow the food and if you wait too
long she may not accept new foods as easily. Go through this checklist
to know when the time is right -
Can she support her head? Even if she can't sit up on her own
she needs to hold her head up otherwise there would be danger
Is she showing interest in adult food? If yes, she is giving you
a signal that this might be the right time.
her intake of milk going down?
The best cereal to start with, is rice, which is easily digested
by the child. You could also start foods similar to milk ( such
as yoghurt), fruit purées (apple, banana), vegetables etc.
Each new food should be introduced separately, (or with foods which
have already passed muster), so that if there is a sensitivity or
allergy it can be detected at once. Test each food for three to
four days before introducing another new food. If you spot what
you think is a reaction, wait a week or so and try the food again.
If the same reaction two or three reoccurs, it is a good indication
that your baby is sensitive to that food. Introduce all other new
foods in the same cautious manner. Once the baby is eating his new
diet without any ill effects, you can start serving the new foods
in different combinations.
you notice any of the following symptoms report them immediately
to your doctor. They could be caused by food allergies
of the stomach or increased intestinal gas.
Rash around the mouth or the anus .
Diarrhoea or vomiting.
Runny nose or eyes.
Time it right
good time is when he is at his hungriest.
mothers give the first meal in the evening as a substantial evening
meal lets the baby sleep through the night.
introduce a food when the baby is ill or tired or teething.
Whet the baby's appetite by starting with a small amount of milk
but don't give too much or he will not be hungry enough for the
next course. With babies who have small appetites, however, it
may be better to start straight away with solids.
Be patient and prepared for a long sitting - it is a time consuming
Let the baby participate. Give her a spoon to play with. If she
wants to feed herself, guide her hand. Put some food on the table
and let her play with it - even if it means a mess.
Egg yolks shouldn't normally be given until the eight month. Egg
whites which are much more likely to provoke an allergic reaction
are often not given until the end of the first year.
Fish and sea food should be very carefully introduced as they
are often allergic.
Avoid adding sugar to the yoghurt. The baby may not like the tartness
of the yoghurt in the first few feeds but he will soon learn to
accept it. If you add sugar however, than he will always want
sugar in his yoghurt - an unnecessary addition of sugar in his
is common practice to warm orange juice before giving
it to the child. This not only destroys the Vitamin
C in it, but, being acidic, can also cause irritation
to the stomach.
Nutritionally pre-cooked cereals are in no way superior to cereals
cooked at home. In terms of convenience they may have an edge
for the working or overworked mother.
child's palate is a clean slate, the tastes that develop
depend on the foods introduced. And how a child will eat
will be primarily influenced by the food you give to him
when he first starts eating solids.
for healthy eating habits
Keep white out of sight - in bread, flour etc.
Don't give him mashed food for too long -babies who continue too
long on strained foods tend to reject lumpier textures when they
are finally offered and become very lazy about chewing. Make the
his semi-solid meal coarser as he learns to eat.
the milk straight- don't add additives
Babies like variety. Indian babies also tend to like spices -
give him a little. Too much bland food and you may end up with
a fussy eater.
Don't make food rules a religion. Give a few treats now and then
and don't forbid any food completely.
save a bowl of food the baby has eaten from for the next
meal, since enzymes and bacteria from the baby's saliva
will begin-"digesting" the food, turning it
watery and causing it to spoil more quickly
Nuts e.g. Almonds, peanuts, cashewnuts etc. constitute a choking
hazard and should not be given to a baby.
If you use pre-packed foods always check the expiry date and follow
Hygienic preparation is top priority. Ensure that whoever prepares
the food has short, clean nails and washed hands.
Raw meat, poultry, fish, or eggs all harbour bacteria. If you
touch any of these while feeding , always wash your hands with
Heating in the microwave- The food inside the container may be
much hotter than the container itself . When testing the temperature
stir the food, then splash a drop on the inside of your wrist.
leave the child unsupervised when feeding her biscuits, rusks
or bread as choking is a very real hazard.
save a bowl of food the baby has eaten from for the next meal,
since enzymes and bacteria from the baby's saliva will begin-"digesting"
the food, turning it watery and causing it to spoil more quickly
Encourage rather than discourage. Try giving her a spoon of her
while you continue to feed her. Provide finger foods such as carrot
pieces, small pieces of idli or a rolled up chapati which she can
feed herself with, while you spoon feed her.
With your baby participating, mealtimes may be longer and messier
at first, but the experience will be good for your child and hasten
her ability to eat on her own.. When self feeding degenerates into
all play and no eating ( some play is normal), and she does not
let you take over the feeding, its time to call it quits until the
In the first few months of solid feedings, the actual quantity of
food consumed is not of great consequence so long as breast or bottle
feeding is continued. Eating, at first is less a matter of gaining
sustenance than of gaining experience - with eating techniques,
with different flavours and varying textures and with the social
aspects of dining. But from about the sixth month onwards, milk
will not be enough to meet all your baby's needs and by the end
of the year most of the baby's nutrition will have to come from
other sources. Around one year of age the baby is ready for adult
meals complete with a little masala
all babies are different, so what might be right for one baby may
be all wrong for another. You are the best judge of what is right
for your baby and when. Follow your instincts, watch to see what
he likes and don't be afraid to experiment . In case of doubt ask
advice of your paediatrician.