Weaning Foods For Babies From 6 Months to 1 Year
Though motherhood is a beautiful journey, but one of the million things that motherhood may or may not be, it is certainly not perfect. It is unpredictable, clumsy, scary, filled with sleepless nights, crazy appetites, ego clashes and unsolicited advice. Motherhood is not definitive, it is a journey you need to develop every day. Therefore, it is quite difficult to keep pace with this new position at the same time making your baby grow.
A mother blossoms as her baby grows. Mother’s role gradually shifts from nurturing the baby with breast milk to nourishing with the best nutritious food, apt for the age. Upto the age of 6 months, breast milk is recommend for babies. Post 6 months, there is a gradual shift from exclusive milk or mother feed to the foods. This is called as Weaning.
What is Weaning
The term weaning comes from the word “Wemian” which means to accustom. Weaning begins from the moment supplementary food is started and continuous till the child is taken off the breast completely. Solid food added to an infant's diet is called beikost. There is an increase in activities of the enzymes at the time of weaning.
Need for weaning
Infants in our country thrive on breast milk alone up to the six months of life and their growth rate during this period is satisfactory. Breastmilk alone is not able to provide sufficient amounts of all the nutrients needed to maintain growth after the first 6 months. Increasing needs of calories and protein of growing children cannot be met by the diminishing output of mother’s milk. Since milk is also a poor source of vitamin C. Iron stores in liver of the infant would last only upto 4-6 months. Iron rich foods should be given at least from 6 month onwards. Milk is also deficient in vitamin D. If the baby is to maintain the expected rate of growth and remain healthy and well , supplementary feeding has to be resorted to round about the 6th month of life. Introduction of weaning food too late can lead to undernutrition and increased diarrheal morbidity.
Celebration of weaning in Our Country
Weaning process is a way to honor the transition from breastfeeding to nursing beyond the breast and all of the emotions that accompany that change. In Indian Families, introduction of first foods occurs with the ceremonial ritual named Annaprashana. Most of the places, the first food which is offered to babies are – Kheer or Halwa (Pudding). Generally, the older most person of the family are supposed to conduct this ceremony, they are the one who make babies eat their first food.
Important points to be considered in introducing meaning foods
1.Introduce only one food at one time. Too many food options can cause indigestion to babies.
2.Use a very thin consistency when starting solid foods. Gradually the consistency is made more solid as the Infant Learns to proper the food back that with the help of tongue.
3. Allow the Infant to become familiar with the food before trying to give another.
4. Give very small amounts of any new food at the beginning for example 1 teaspoon to 2 teaspoon full or less.
5. A baby's appetite varies a lot from meal to meal and day to day. During hot weather or when the child is teething or suffering from cold, the child's appetite may be less.
6. If, after several trials, the baby has an acute dislike for a particular food, omit that item for a week or two and then try again. If the dislike persists, it is better to forget about the food for a while and substitute another.
7. Avoid forceful feeling to babies and always try one new food item every week you offer to baby.
Some points about 5 food groups while weaning
What all foods can be given among all 5 food groups is here:
Note - Mother's milk can be supplemented with infant formula milk, or undiluted cow’s milk (best avoided until infant is 1 year old). Make sure to check with your pediatrician about starting with any supplementation of milk. Look for allergies to these supplemental feeds when introducing for the first time.
Cereals – wheat , rice , semolina, ragi, rajgeera, barley, sabudana.
Pulses – yellow moong dal, red lentils.
Fruits – Apple, banana, papaya, plum, prune, pears, cheeku.
Vegetable – Potato, carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, bottle gourd, tomato, beetroot.
Nuts – Fox nuts (phool makhana).
Egg or non veg – Egg yolk can be given after 8 months. Minced chicken can be given after 8 months. All sea foods are also best started at the age of 1 years.
Dairy products – ghee (to be given in moderation)
When to start weaning
In India, it is generally recommended to start with stage 1 meaning at around 6 months. At some places, early weaning is started at the age of 5 months. Make sure, you pick a time for first meal, when your baby is not tired neither you are in hurry. Initially, it will take some time for your baby to get used to taking food from a spoon. Don't be dishearten if your baby initially rejects the food. Rejection is very strong from babies end. So, dont giveup and keep trying.
Quantity of food while weaning
We have already discussed what all foods can be given once you start meaning, here is another question that keeps popping up in every mothers mind. Below, the chart is given for your help. Mother's may follow this recommendation for quantity of weaning food to be offered to the infant; as suggested by Pediatric Dietetics Department at AIIMS Hospital New Delhi:
AGE IN MONTHS
QUANTITY OF WEANING FOOD
5 – 6 Months
Few spoons to 30ml at a time
6 – 7 months
50-75 ml/g at a time
7 – 8 months
75 -100 ml/g at a time
9 – 12 months
100 – 150 ml/g at a time
At 6 months
Time to start your little one's journey into solid foods the right way. Its really so much fun to watch the expressions on those little faces when they taste new flavours.
Foods to introduce at 6 months
Fruits – Apple, banana, pear, avocado
Vegetables – Carrot, potato, sweet potato, bottlegourd
Grains – Rice, oats, ragi, barley
Lentils – Moong dal
Basic tips for feeding
1. Make purees or porridge out of the above options. Like apple puree, carrot puree, barley porridge, malted starchy gruels.
2. Consistency should be running enough by adding breast milk or formula or water.
3. Continue to breast feed on demand.
At 7 months
Once your baby crosses 7 months, perfect time to introduce new foods. You might observe, now your child is more interested in playing with her food. Try to make meal time a pleasant experience for your little one.
Foods to introduce at 7 months
Fruits – Apple, banana, avocado, pears, plums, prune, cheeku, papaya
Vegetables – Carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, beetroot, bottlegourd, tomato, green peas
Grains – Rice, ragi, barley, semolina, sabudana, amaranth, makhaana, poha
Lentils – Moong dal, red lentils
Dairy – ghee, cheese (in moderation)
Basic tips for feeding
1.Porridge like rawa porridge sweet or sakty based on your childs choice
2. Ragi porridge can be given.
3. Carrot pudding or sweet potato pudding can be introduced.
4. Blended khichdi can be a good option for growing child.
At 8th and 9th months
Now, your little one breezes through 8 months, at this time a fresh challenge in feeding can be given.
Foods to introduce at 8 and 9 months
Fruits - Apple, Avocado, Banana, Pears, muskmelon, Peaches, Plums, Prune, Chikku, papaya, blueberries, cherries, dates, figs, grapes, kiwi, mangoes
Vegetables - Carrot, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, beetroot, bottle gourd, tomato, green beans, peas, White Potato, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, onions
Grains - Rice, Ragi, Barley, Semolina/Suji/Rava, sabudana, wheat, broken wheat (Dalia), oats
Pulses - Yellow Moong Dal, masoor dal, chickpeas (white & black chana), green gram
Dairy - Ghee, cheese, Curd or Yogurt, cottage cheese (paneer), tofu
Non-Vegetarian - Egg yolk
Basic tips for feeding
1. Finger foods like potato piece, carrot piece, banana slice can be introduce in the beginning.
2. Continue breastfeeding in between meals.
3. Vegetable mix khichdi , banana apple puree, rice porridge, ragi halwa can be given.
4. Daliya or rajgira porridge or simple wheat halwa would act a tummy filler for your baby.
At 10 months
By this time, child starts showing disinterest to the foods you provide. As he starts observing foods turning 10 months. Therefore, try variety of food , make innovations in their diet.
Foods to introduce at 10 months
Apart from those previous options you gave in 8 months and 9 months, several new foods can be introduced
Basic tips for feeding
1.Do not give pureed fruits, vegetables. Try giving as in whole.
2. Offer 3 meals and 2 small snack items in a day.
3. Need to give after every meal and in between means too.
4. Give a trail for Idli, dhokla, dal tikki (steamed food), smoothies and shakes. As these all are new to your little one, possibly they might have it with interest.
At 11 months and 12 months
Congratulations, your little one about to turn 1 and about to enter into toddlerhood. By now, you can introduce almost every food you eat. You would be much more confident about your child's eating habits, likes and dislikes.
Foods to introduce at 11 months and 12 months
Grains – all cereals
Pulses – all pulses
Fruits and vegetables – all seasonal fruits and vegetables (keep an eye while baby is eating in order to avoid choking)
Egg – white and yolk both
Chicken soup can be given.
Dairy products – except animal milk, all other products can be given.
Basic tips for feeding
1.Wheat pancakes, banana yogurt smoothie, lauki khichdi, ragi laddu, oats porridge , upma, poha, all puddings
2. Gradually start giving those foods that the family eats.
3. Healthy finger foods can be given as a smart snacks option.
4. Homemade foods are more digestion friendly.
5. Try and incorporate healthy cooking methods like steaming, pressure cooking are better than frying.
Hope, this weaning plan is helpful to you. Make your child eat right and develop healthy eating habits in them. Happy moms make healthy babies.