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How to feed your baby with solids after 6 months? & Easy recipes to make baby's food + shopping list

What is weaning?


Weaning is the transitional phase in an infant’s diet when the mother gradually begins to introduce foods other than breast milk or formula.

WHO Recommends, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond. Weaning also signifies the beginning of a social detachment of the child from the mother.


Health professionals define weaning as:

The period when breastfeeding or formula feeding is gradually supplemented with other foods in the infant’s diet. The introduction of weaning foods should not mean the elimination of milk from the infant’s diet.


HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOUR BABY IS READY FOR SOLIDS?

1. Baby can hold his/her head.

2. The baby is able to sit upright with or without support.

3. Making chewing motions.

4. When you are eating, he puts out his tongue and makes slurping sounds and watches closely your hand and mouth.

5. Teething is the first sign that the digestive system is ready for solid foods

6. The most important sign is the baby’s interest or readiness for the tasting process.

7. Babies show interest as early as 4 months but it is recommended to wait till 6 months. Baby R showed interest in ‘our’ food the day after we celebrated his half birthday.


Baby R eating banana from his nibbler


Some basic rules to follow while weaning

· Always use clean/sterilized utensils to prepare, cook and serve baby food.

· Always feed the baby-sitting upright position.

· Consume the prepared baby food within 2 hrs of preparation any leftover to be discarded.

· Always follow 3 days rule before introducing another food.


First offer food rich in IRON. Select animal proteins as plant-based protein aren’t an easily absorbable form of iron for our bodies. Choose meat that is easy to hold on to and soft like egg or omelette strip, tender slow-cooked shredded chicken. Secondly, supplement with foods that are nutrient-dense and soft.


The variety of food should be 1 serving of grain or starchy carb, 1 serving of a protein, 1 serving of iron, and 1 serving of fruit and vegetables will ensure that they have balanced range of nutrients which are important for growth and exposure to new and different foods.



Never restrict food from your baby so if your baby is hungry, continue to offer more food. As your job is to provide a balanced plate and their job is to choose how much.

OPEN CUP DRINKING


The first type of cup that should be introduced to the baby should be an open cup, not a sippy cup.

When your baby begins solid/pureed food they just need a little extra water (30 to 60 ml per day after 6 months) for preventing constipation and washing down the food.

This water is in addition to breast milk and is usually introduced via a cup at a meal. It also helps in developing flexible and strong jaws, lips, cheek muscles, tongue and swallow mechanisms aka oral motor skills.

Babies at the age of 6 months have basic oral motor skills.


Open cup promotes:

1. Oral motor skills

2. Easier transition off bottle

3. Speech

4. Activates lip closure and tongue elevation

5. Soft silicone protects baby's developing teeth.

CAUTION: It is advisable to give water to the baby in a cup by a caretaker at the initial stage as you have to tip the glass, remove and wait for the baby to swallow the drink before giving him/her the next sip.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A CUP

1. Soft rim made of silicone which is a flexible, soft and durable material, unlike its harder counterparts steel or glass.

2. Small-sized for their little hands.

We started right away with open cup drinking for Baby R at 6 months. At the age of 9 months, he became pro in drinking off a cup without coughing up the water.

SHOPPING LIST FOR THE HEALTHY 6-12 MONTHS BABY

VEGETABLES: Use seasonal veggies of varied colour and types. Buy new produce every 3-4 days.

FRUITS: Use seasonal fruits of varied colour and types. Buy new produce every 3-4 days.

Don’t. buy shiny fruits such as apples as they may be waxed.

Pic courtesy: Unsplash

DRIED FRUITS: Buy organic, unsweetened dried fruit as sometimes added sugar and colour are added to it.

WHOLE GRAIN: Buy unpolished rice (whole grain, red rice, raw white rice), rolled oats, barley, millets, wheat, broken wheat.

LEGUMES: Green peas, yellow lentils (siruparuppu or moong dal) green lentils (green moong dal), white beans, chickpeas, black beans.

OIL: Consider cold-pressed (either stone or wood) oil such as coconut oil. Its consumption should be kept to a minimum


SWEETENERS: Keep away from refined sugar and honey. Brown sugar is also not recommended. Use natural sweeteners such as date syrup, molasses, coconut sugar.


For Accessories required for prepping, cooking and feeding baby food, Click the link.

FOODS TO AVOID

The food should not be given before 12 months:

* Honey

* Cow’s milk

* Eggs

* Fish

* Meat


Baby R had honey, fish, meat and cow's milk for the first time after he was 12 months old. However, we tried giving him eggs twice on two different days which made him allergic.

MAJOR DO’s & DON’Ts

FOOD CHART for a 6 MONTHS OLD


Frequency: Feed TWICE a day.

RECOMMENDED FIRST FOOD

FRESH FRUIT

Banana is suitable for a primary tasting. It is sweet, tasty, nutritious and easily mashed.


Recipe: Mash banana with a fork and add expressed breast milk to thin the consistency. 1 tbsp up to twice a day for 3 consecutive days to check any allergic reactions.


After banana pears, apples and avocado.

Recommended combinations are:

Banana and apple

Banana & Pear

Banana & Avocado

Combinations to be given only after giving the fruit individually to your baby for 3 days.



Baby R likes mango very much. We introduced it when he was 6.5 mo

STEAMED & COOKED VEGETABLES

Most suitable vegetable for primary tasting is sweet potato as it is tasty, nutritious, easily mashed

Recipe: Mash pressure- cooked sweet potato with a fork and add expressed breast milk to thin the consistency. 1 tbsp up to twice a day for 3 consecutive days to check any allergic reactions.


After sweet potatoes recommended veggies are carrot, potato, pumpkin.

RECIPES

CARROT PUREE


Ingredients:

Carrot – 1 medium

Cumin Powder- A pinch

Method:

* Wash and peel

* Cut into small cubes, place them in a steam bowl and place the bowl inside pressure cooker filled with water.

* Steam for 2 whistles and switch the flame off.

* After cooking blend to get a smooth consistency

* Add a pinch of cumin powder.

* Add expressed breast milk to make it runny.

This was baby R’s first food. I always add cumin powder to all his food as it helps in building the immunity

Notes:

Always select firm and fresh carrots with no black spots or blemishes on them.


POTATO PUREE

Ingredients:

Potato – 1 medium

Cumin Powder- A pinch



Mashed potato

Method:

* Wash and peel

* Chop them into small cubes, place them in a steam bowl and place the bowl inside pressure cooker filled with water.

* Steam for 3 whistles and switch the flame off.

* After cooking blend to get a smooth consistency

* Add a pinch of cumin powder.

* Add expressed breast milk to make it runny.

Notes:

Select potatoes with no cracks or blemishes on them.

PUMPKIN PUREE

Ingredients:

A wedge of pumpkin

Cumin Powder- A pinch

Method:

* Cut the required wedge

* Chop them into small cubes, place them in a steam bowl and place the bowl inside pressure cooker filled with water.

* Steam for 3 whistles and switch the flame off.

* After cooking blend to get a smooth consistency

* Add a pinch of cumin powder.

* Add expressed breast milk to make it runny.

Notes:

Select pumpkins that are firm not too ripe.

Pumpkins help in relieving constipation and they are a good source of fibre, vitamins A, C & E.

SWEET POTATO PUREE

Ingredients:

Sweet Potato – 1 medium

Cumin Powder- A pinch

Method:

* Wash and peel

* Chop them into small cubes, place them in a steam bowl and place the bowl inside pressure cooker filled with water.

* Steam for 3 whistles and switch the flame off.

* After cooking blend to get a smooth consistency

* Add a pinch of cumin powder.

* Add expressed breast milk to make it runny.

Notes:

Select sweet potatoes that are firm with no spots. They are a rich source of vitamin A & beta carotene and high in fibre.

APPLE PUREE

Ingredients:

Half an apple

Cinnamon Powder- A pinch

Method:

* Wash, peel, de-core and remove seeds.

* Chop them into small cubes, place them in a steam bowl and place the bowl inside pressure cooker filled with water.

* Steam for 3 whistles and switch the flame off.

* After cooking blend to get a smooth consistency

* Add a pinch of cinnamon powder.

* Add expressed breast milk to make it runny.

Notes:

Select apples that are firm, try to buy organic as apples may be waxed to give a shiny appearance. They are rich in fibre and vitamin C.

BANANA PUREE

Ingredients:

Banana – 1 medium

Cardamom Powder- A pinch

Method:

* Peel and cut the banana into dices.

* Mash with fork or blender

* Add a pinch of cardamom powder.

* Add expressed breast milk to make it runny.

Notes:

Select ripe bananas with no black spots. It is rich in Vitamin K and fibre.

Changes brown in colour post pureeing which is normal.

RICE CEREAL PORRIDGE

Ingredients:

Homemade rice cereal powder – 2 tbsp

Water- ½ cup

Cumin Powder- A pinch

Method:

* Add rice powder and water in a saucepan.

* Mix thoroughly to prevent lumps and bring to boil

* The content becomes thick and creamy

* Add a pinch of cumin powder.

* Add expressed breast milk to make it runny.

Notes:

Veggie purees can be added to enhance the taste.

Homemade rice cereal powder can be made by washing the grains well and dry it under the sun to grind it as powder.

YELLOW LENTIL PORRIDGE

Ingredients:

Moong yellow dal – 1 tbsp

Water- ½ cup

Cumin Powder- A pinch



Baby R eating his pureed dal


Method:

* Wash and soak dal for 20 mins.

* Transfer the content to a pressure cooker and cook for 3 whistles in medium flame.

* Open the lid, mash dal and transfer to a serving bowl.

* Add a pinch of cumin powder.

* Add expressed breast milk to make it runny.

Notes:

Yellow lentil is rich in protein and low in fat. It is considered to be one of the best plant-based protein sources.

OATS PORRIDGE

Ingredients:

Whole oats or oats powder – 1 tbsp

Water- 1 cup

Cumin Powder- A pinch

Method:

* In a saucepan, add water and allow the water to boil.

* Add the oats to boiling water, cook till it is done.

* Add a pinch of cumin powder.

* Add expressed breast milk to make it runny.

Notes:

Least allergenic food.

Always buy rolled oats.

It contains more soluble fibre, low in sodium, rich in magnesium, thiamine, manganese and potassium.

Oats is the only cereal containing a legume like protein it considered equivalent to meat, milk and egg protein.


Disclaimer: The information presented herein represents my view and what worked for me and my baby. Always consult with your paediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.





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