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WEANING FOOD

Dr. P. Siva Bharathi, M.D (Peds), AB (USA).

INTRODUCTION:


Breast milk should be your baby’s main source of nutrition for first couple of year of life. It is recommended to introduce solids (In addition to Breast milk) from six months of age. The idea is to expose your baby to new tastes and textures. Remember Weaning does not mean that you can stop the breast milk and start sold food. Breast milk has to be continued and it should supply the major part of your babies diet. Sold food that you are going to introduce is just in addition to the breast milk.

 

When to start solid food for the baby?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), WHO and Indian Academy of Pediatrics recommends feeding babies only breast milk for the first 6 months of life. Research shows that babies need nothing but breast milk for the first six months of life. This gives a baby’s digestive system time to develop so that they cope fully with solid foods.

 

Why start solids (Weaning food) at 6 months?

Solids (Weaning food) contain complex form of nutrients. Your child is not ready to digest these complex carbohydrates, Protein and fats until 6 months of age. Enzymes to digest complex nutrients are fully activated only after 6 months. That’s why it is recommended to start solids at 6 months age.

 

How to Initiate weaning for my baby?

  • 0-6 months: Only Breast feeds.
  • After 6-7 months: Semi-liquid consistency. Food which are easy to digest, smooth and gentle on baby’s stomach.
  • After 8-9 months: Semi-solid consistency. Baby now needs food with taste and texture.
  • After 10 months: Semi solid consistency. Baby now needs food that satisfy his urge to chew-complex taste and texture
  • After 1 year: Solid diet including variety of food items, which your baby could chew with his/her baby teeth.

 

How Frequent do I need to feed my Baby?

  • 0-6 months: child is given breast feeds on demand i.e. about 8-9 times over 24 hours.
  • 6- 8 months: As the child grows, his requirements increase and he starts to accept larger volume and thicker consistency at a time. You can feed him 7-8 times per day
  • 9- 12 months: He is growing older so can take more food and eat less frequent. Feed him 6-7 times per day.
  • 12 – 15 months: Feed him at least 6 times per day.
  • More than 15 months: Feed him 5-6 times per day with 3 regular meals – Breakfast, Lunch and dinner and 3 in-between healthy snacks inbetween.

 

What to do with the breast milk after I start giving my baby solid foods?

As your baby eats more solid food, they may want less milk at each feed, or even drop a milk feed altogether. Babies should have breast milk (or infant formula) for at least the first year, and can carry on with breast milk for as long as you both want. From 12 months onwards cows milk or Avin milk is fine as their main drink.  Infant formula, follow on formula or growing-up milk is not needed once your baby is 12 months old.

 

What to feed for my baby?

Natural, homemade food is always best for baby. Though infant cereals and baby food are also nutritious, it is better to gradually introduce baby to the real homemade food. Once your baby starts solids, you will find yourself trying to include a variety of foods into your baby’s diet. Here are some tips to make your baby’s meal time a pleasant experience for both of you.

  • When introducing a new food, do so late in the morning as it will give you time to watch out for any allergic reactions
  • Remember to start one new food at a time
  • Try out a combination of just two vegetables, as it will be easier to keep a track if your baby is allergic to some vegetable. It also makes digestion easier
  • You may want to add a bit of ghee to your baby’s food to increase the calorific value.
  • Allow plenty of time for eating, especially at first.  Rushing or forcing your baby could lead to problems. Go at your baby’s pace and stop when your baby shows you they have had enough.
  • Most babies know when they are full up, so don’t make them finish a portion when they don’t want to.  Smaller, more frequent meals and healthier snacks will suit them better when they are young.  Don’t worry if your baby hasn’t eaten much in a meal or a day, what they eat over a week is more important.
  • Babies like to choose for themselves and sometimes take their time getting used to different foods so offer a small amount, lots of times to let them gradually get used to new foods.

 

A model Menu for your baby:

0-6 Months Baby:

Breast milk and Vitamin D drops or infant formula on demand feeding.

 

6-9 Months Baby:

Early morning: Breast milk and Vitamin D drops or 160 – 240 ml of formula milk.

Breakfast:

  • Breast milk or 160 – 240 ml of iron fortified infant formula
  • 1 tsp – 2 Tbsp infant cereal (Rice / Ragi / Wheat )
  • 1 tsp – 2 Tbsp fruit or vegetable
  • 1 tsp – 2 Tbsp protein foods?(Dal)

Snack: Breast milk or 160 – 240 ml of infant formula

Lunch:

  • Breast milk or 160 – 240 ml of iron fortified infant formula
  • 1 tsp – 2 Tbsp infant cereal (Rice / Ragi / Wheat )
  • 1 tsp – 1 Tbsp vegetable
  • 1 tsp – 2 Tbsp protein foods ?(Dal)

Snack: Breast milk or 160 – 240 ml of infant formula

Dinner:

  • Breast milk or 160 – 240 ml of infant formula
  • 1 tsp – 2 Tbsp infant cereal (Rice / Ragi / Wheat )
  • 1 tsp – 2 Tbsp fruit
  • 1 tsp – 2 Tbsp protein foods (Dal)

Bedtime snack: Breast milk or 160 – 240 ml of infant formula

 

9-12 Months Baby Menu

Early morning: Breast milk and Vitamin D drops or 160 – 240 ml formula milk.

Breakfast:

  • 2 – 3 Tbsp infant cereal?(Rice / Ragi / Wheat )
  • 2 Tbsp dairy foods
  • 2 Tbsp protein foods?(Dal, meat etc)
  • 2 – 4 Tbsp soft, cubed or diced vegetable and/or fruit
  • Water, Breast milk or formula

Snack:

  • Grains food ?like biscuit, bread etc
  • Fruits
  • Breast milk or formula

Lunch:

  • 2 – 3 Tbsp infant cereal?(Rice / Ragi / Wheat )
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp protein foods??(Dal, meat etc)
  • 2 – 6 Tbsp soft cubed or diced vegetable and/or fruit
  • Water,?Breast milk or formula

Snack:

  • Dairy foods
  • Grains food ?like biscuit, bread etc
  • Breast milk or formula

Dinner:

  • 2 – 3 Tbsp infant cereal?(Rice / Ragi / Wheat )
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp protein foods ?(Dal, meat etc)
  • 2 – 6 Tbsp soft, cubed or diced vegetable and/or fruit
  • Water,?Breast milk or formula

Bedtime snack: Breast milk or formula

 

Author:Dr. P. Siva Bharathi, M.D (Peds), AB (USA)

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