After six months of exclusively breastfeeding my baby, finally the time had arrived to start semi solid and eventually solid foods.
Every new mom is petrified, confused worried and wants to provide the best to her baby under any circumstances. The vexed question of how to wean my baby frightened me too. But it has been a pleasant and adventurous journey for us.
Here is my list from my experience to help you simplify the process.
When to wean?
The Indian Dietetics Association advises exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months.
Whether your baby is formula fed, breastfed or combi-fed, other top feeds including water should be introduced only after 6 months of baby’s age.
Babyled Weaning v/s Traditional Weaning
There are two ways of starting a baby on solid foods.
You either puree and mash the food items and feed the baby with a spoon. This is the traditional way of weaning a baby.
The second method is to allow the baby to take the lead. You provide the food as a whole to the baby and allow him to eat by himself.
Both the methods have their share of benefits.
What worked for me was a path in between the two poles. A survey reveals only 9% of mothers choose babyled weaning. To make an honest confession I wasn’t courageous enough. The idea of allowing my baby feed himself appealed to me. So I would hand over chappati or dosa to him. And even at 6 months of age, he would put it in his mouth and eat it. While I watched with amazement, he was able to pick food up, bite and chew all by himself within a few days.
While my son ate pieces of chappati, chicken, paneer, dosa and others on his own. I fed him khichadi, soup and porridge with spoon. Its a choice you make based on your instincts.
How to begin?
After your baby turns 6 months replace one formula/ breast feed with a top feed. Preferably with well cooked and mashed moong dal of a liquid consistency.
Continue for a week. Introduce another food preferably a fruit after a week.
Introducing fruits to the baby
Fruits make for a very healthy and nutritious choice as baby’s first food.
They are easy to digest and palatable.
Some fruits you can begin with are
Mashed banana, boiled and mashed apple and other seasonal fruits like pears (boiled and mashed), chicoo (mashed), papaya (mashed), mango (mashed). Papaya helps soften stools if the baby is constipated.
By 6 and a half months of age your baby would now be eating two top meals a day along with breast milk or formula as per demand. A fruit of your choice and mashed dal or rice.
Now introduce fresh vegetables as a third meal.
Introduction of vegetables
Wash the vegetables, cook and strain before you feed the baby. You may discontinue to strain the vegetables after a couple of weeks or according to your baby’s needs. The fibers in the vegetables add to its nutritive value.
Introduction of porridge
You can introduce porridge after a week of introducing vegetables. It is always advisable to prepare porridge with homemade ingredients instead of ready-made packaged options available.
There are several ways of preparing home-made porridge such as suji kheer, seera, dalia or broken wheat, ragi or nachni, mashed boiled rice with milk, phirni, etc.
By the end of seven months of your baby’s age aim at replacing four milk feeds with solid foods.
This is the diet I followed:
Breakfast – chapati/egg/dosa (what I eat for breakfast)
Lunch – khichadi with chopped veggies
Evening supper – a fruit
Dinner – porridge
- Begin slowly. Start with one new food at a time and continue for three days before you introduce another food. This period of three days allows you to observe how the food item is accepted by your baby. Helps you rule out any possibility of allergies.
- I recommend starting any new food during the day. In case, it is not accepted by your baby, you would have an entire day to observe and treat him.
- Don’t give up – Mommy mantra is to try, try and keep trying. Your baby is likely to wince each time you introduce a new food. But that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t try again. Babies take time to develop taste for certain things.
- There is absolutely no need to add salt or sugar to your infants food. jaggery, dates and fresh fruits can be used to sweeten the food.
- Its all about experimentation mommy! so put on your adventure chef hat and serve mama’s magic to your little one. Try banana in seera or veggies in dosa, its all about how creative you can get.
- Be patient and have lots of fun!
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