When a baby completes its first six months, it is a milestone for both the baby and mother. It’s time to start semi-solid/ solid foods for the baby. For mothers, now comes the challenging task of introducing solid food to their baby after 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Are you looking for weaning foods for the baby.
When you introduce your baby to foods other than breast milk, it’s called weaning. It is a period of time where an infant is gradually introduced to different type of foods. Up until the period of six months, the baby’s source of nourishment was either from breast milk or infant formula milk. To meet the baby’s changing nutritional needs, weaning becomes important.
Mothers should look out for signs to know that their baby is ready for solid foods. Such as,
- When the baby is able to sit on chair with neck and head stable.
- When the baby shows interest around food, look at it, grab it and try to eat it.
- When the baby seems to be hungry even after breastfeeding or formula milk feeding.
- When the baby is able to swallow food and doesn’t throw food out of his mouth.
Before you start, you will do well to remember that eating solids is a gradual process, and your baby will continue to need to be breastfed or provided formula milk up until at least one years of age.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 weaning foods for the baby:
Fruits are great weaning food since they’re loaded with vital minerals and nutrients. They’re filled with natural sugar and a taste which most babies relish. You can start from apple. Simply, peel an apple, boil it and make a puree. Once, your baby starts liking it. You can go for banana, pears, papaya, mango and chickoo. Just remember to introduce one fruit at a time.
Juices are another great option to start weaning for your baby. Mothers can start feeding fresh fruit juices to their infants. They can opt for water or well- diluted fruit juices. However, packaged fruit juices should be strictly avoided. They have artificial flavouring agents, chemical additives and preservatives that can be harmful for the baby.
Also Read: How much calcium does your baby need (with food chart for 6 months to 3 years)
When it comes to weaning, vegetables are an absolute must. The mother can start by introducing mashed potatoes and go for carrots, beans, bottle gourd and pumpkin further. Make sure to clean and wash thoroughly. Always feed your baby properly boiled and mashed vegetable. Also, go for organic veggies as they’re free from pesticides and chemicals.
Soups are like a complete meal for the baby. They are a combination of water plus contains nutritional content from the veggies. The water content will help the baby remain hydrated. Variety of soups can be made from vegetables like carrots, beetroots, bottle gourd and tomatoes.
Legumes are a total hit for your kid, as they’re packed with proteins. They’re also rich in protein, fibre, vitamins (A, C, folate) and minerals. A small portion of boiled and mashed legume can be introduced to your kid. You can also add a little helping of mashed potatoes to the boiled legume and season it lightly
At this stage, when you’re planning to slowly wean your baby off breast milk, it’s time to introduce water too. It is essential so that the baby remains adequately hydrated throughout the day. Water will act as a detoxifier to the baby’s body and keep the digestive system healthy. For adults, water is something that goes without saying, but for babies water is one of the most essential weaning foods for the baby.
Green leafy vegetables are loaded with iron and other important minerals which are necessary for healthy functioning of the body. Green leafy veggies like spinach, pea leaves and others can be boiled, mashed into a paste and fed to the baby with slight seasoning. This can be introduced when the baby is eight or nine months old.
Also Read: 31 Healthy Recipes Using Weight Gain Foods for Babies and Kids
#8. Cooked Foods
When it comes to weaning foods for the baby, you can also introduce some cooked foods. If you notice your baby is adapting to the weaning foods well, you can start introducing him to cooked foods like daal, rice and khichdi with veggies. Make sure to consult your paediatrician before introducing this to your baby.
Eggs are filled with vital proteins and vitamins that helps in proper bone development of the baby. Make sure to rule out any allergy and introduce only when the baby is at least eight months old. Start from offering egg yolk in the beginning.
You can consider giving your baby rice water i.e. the starchy water from boiling rice or mashed rice to the baby. In fact rice water is very beneficial in treating diarrhoea and also provides energy. You can also give baby single grain cereals such as oatmeal , barley etc mixed with milk.
Make sure to give your baby time to get accustomed to the new foods. When you start, you baby may seem to eat very little, but patience is the key. Your baby needs time to learn how to eat. As he or she may take time for him to learn how to eat. As the baby slowly develops a side-to-side, grinding motion, you can add little less liquid to the food to make the consistency slightly thicker. This will allow the baby to work on chewing, or gumming, and swallowing.
Also Read: 21 Iron Rich Foods for babies and toddlers
Experts suggest that one should follow the 3 day rule for introducing weaning food. This involves introducing the food at lunch time on day 1 by giving 1 tablespoon, followed by 2 tablespoons of the food at breakfast and lunch on day 2 and 3 tablespoons on Day 3 for breakfast and lunch. If the baby does not show any allergic reaction, you can continue with the newly introduced food. Also it is advised to introduce new foods during breakfast and lunch only, so that you can monitor the baby closely.
Ultimately you need to remember that weaning needs to be a child led experience and that every baby is different. You need not always follow your peers and other mothers, rather it would be better to try and follow your baby’s cues whenever possible. However, if you feel that the baby is not taking enough food or liquids during the weaning period or seems to have an allergic reaction to any newly introduced foods, you should see your doctor. It is also always best to consult a doctor before introducing new food groups. Good luck!
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