Introducing solids to baby is exciting for both mother and baby as that takes the baby to another development milestone and enables baby explore various flavors and textures.
A pregnant to-be-mother has to eat healthy food for herself and baby. After delivery, even while breastfeeding utmost care has to be taken with the eating habits. And when the baby turns 6 months a mother has to prepare a proper schedule for baby’s food.
I have been very cautious with eating habits of my children. During my elder one also, I never fed her anything that is not appropriate for her age and same practice I pledged to continue with my younger one too. Foods that are introduced at an early age form a strong foundation for a child’s health. Sometimes we unknowingly start with foods that might cause them serious digestive issues like constipation, recurring diarrhea or allergies in adulthood. It is necessary to start with the right food at the right time.
Ideally the food cycle should begin with:
Fluids & breastfeeding >Semi solids & breastfeeding> Solids & breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is recommended up to 1 year of age. Post one year children need more nutrients which they will get from foods. Some parents also introduce cow milk along with breastfeeding (or formula milk in case the mother has lactation issues or if baby is not latching properly) after 6 months of age.
I will share with you early foods which I introduced to my kiddos(all this has been done with recommendation from my pediatrician, my own experience and suggestions from my fellow mommy friends and has helped me and babies have a smooth transition:
1. Liquids: Dal ka pani (moong dal-yellow lentils boiled in water) and rice water. You can bring rice or dal to boil after thoroughly washing them and then drain it. Little Hing (asafetida) can be added to avoid colic issues.
Make vegetable soups. First include carrot and small piece of tomato. Later start adding potato, small piece of beetroot, pumpkin, broccoli, lentils, etc. Start with 2-3 teaspoons and then you can later give half small bowl. Small bowls for infants are available with any utensil shops. Even feeding bowls are available in baby shops. I use the @MeeMeeIndia (@ Me n Moms) feeding bowl with spoon check link https://www.amazon.in/Mee-Feeding-Bowl-Yellow/dp/B00PJX5MVK. Same is even available on http://www.firstcry.com
2. Semi liquid: Apple puree, carrot puree, mashed pear, mashed banana, mashed papaya, mashed potato (add homemade ghee and heat it on low fame for 5 mins) can be given. Slowly start giving mashed rice in milk. If your child is not accepting mashed rice, grind it as that becomes easy to swallow. But I have heard it from elders that the child should have some amount of food to chew in a day as that helps in exercise of face muscles which ultimately makes the child talk and even the gums get stronger. I have seen children who have just gulped down fully smashed food have difficulty in chewing and keep food in their mouth for a longer time when they grow up.
Nachani in jiggery, Daliya (lapsi) and home-made cereals are very good for their health and digestion.
All these foods/fruits can be given till 8 months. As after this many children start teething. Once the child crosses 8 months you can slowly give what you eat but without spices. My daughter is 11 months and I have started including our daily meals in her food chart but without spice and very less salt. We give jaggery instead of sugar. Once can even add dry fruit powder to these foods.
3. Solids: Apart from the above start including chapatis but mashed in their diet along with curd/dal/vegetable curry. You can make soft theplas, puran pori, parathas with paneer, jaggery, carrot, spinach and potato. If your baby has sweet tooth, rava sheera, halwa, besan ladoo, rava ladoo, are foods that can be also carried while travelling. Mash it with fingers before feeding.
Use boiled water to avoid any stomach infection. Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Give seasonal fruits. Fresh fruit juices and milkshakes are always loved by children!
When you introduce any food, start with one food for 2-3 days along with BF. See if the food suits the baby. Then add one food gradually along with the previous food. This will help you to know if the baby is prone to any allergies. Give everything in small quantities to avoid choking. Even if you are handing over finger foods, don’t leave the baby unattended.
Babies love when you say stories and sing along while feeding. They get attracted towards your expressions. Talk , play and sing to them while feeding. Don’t be in a hurry to make them eat everything. It’s even wrong to compare your baby with others. Each child has her own appetite and taste buds. Forceful feeding must be avoided.
It’s a beautiful phase for the parents when children start eating. Foods that are full of vitamins and nutrients introduced to children at right age makes them strong and healthy.
Do share your own experience and recipes related to babies first food:)