When a baby is born mother’s feed is the best food for them. It is the safest and healthiest food that a child can have. With growth their nutritional requirements increase and needs to be provided by some extra food that can help in their growth and is easy for them to digest. Here are few guidelines that will help you to select and understand the process of Weaning.
“Weaning is introduction of other food items to your baby.”
When should it start?
If baby is exclusively on mother’s feed then 5th month is good time to start but it can also be started early (when your baby is 4 months old) depending on the needs; if mother feed is not sufficient enough to fulfill your baby’s tummy or if mother is not willing to feed baby or any other circumstances restricting feeds to the baby.
What are the cares to be taken?
It is the time when the baby is exposed to external food items so a lot of care is needed to help the baby to handle the transition. While starting weaning you should necessarily keep following things in your mind…
Hygiene – Make sure your hands are absolutely clean before starting your little one’s food preparation. All the utensils, bottles, spoons, bowls and other utensils are thoroughly washed in hot water before use. The water or the milk used in the feed has to be boiled and cooled.
Try one food at a time- This is to identify and make sure that if your baby is not sensitive to any particular type of food items, so introduce one food item at a time and continue it till one week at least then only start another food this will help you to understand that a particular food is being digested properly and creating no harm to the baby. If any adverse observation is made for a particular food item stop it immediately.
What to give?
Now you know about weaning but the question what all food items can be included in it. The rule of thumb is to start with those food items that are in pureed form. Solid foods are to be avoided at the beginning however they can be introduced later.
Vegetables – A mashed potato makes a good start to introduce veggies. But make sure that the potato is boiled well and mashed thoroughly. Add a little water if it is needed. Non-gas forming vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, bottle gourd are also good options.
Fruits – Banana is said to be tummy friend mostly it gets easily digested without creating any kind of disturbances fruits are good as they have good quality of natural sugars and seasonal supply of nutrients, care should be taken that they must be in properly mashed form so they can be easily swallowed by the baby fruit options are mango, stewed apple, peaches etc take care do not give them sour food as they can irritate the throat.
Cereals – In this group you can choose thick rice water (starch of rice) as it is rich source of carbohydrates, thin well cooked rice with washed split pulse (kichidi) served with preferably homemade desi ghee, broken wheat (dalia) sweetened using Jaggery (gur). Jaggery is preferred over sugar as it is a good source of iron and not chemically treated.
Soups – Make clear vegetable soups. Boil the veggies or pressure-cook them. Mash them and put them in a strainer to strain out the clear liquid. In the liquid add a pinch of salt and let it cool down before feeding baby. A mix of carrots, beetroots, tomatoes make a good veg-soup. You can introduce mashed items in the soups when you baby is around 8 months old. Avoid cauliflower, beans, peas, cabbage, etc as they have a tendency to form gas.
Dairy products – Beaten curd is considered to be very good as it contains many good bacteria that go very friendly with your baby’s gut, it can be sweetened. Milk can also be started but it has to be preferably Cow’s milk. Other milk products can be introduced once the child develop ability to chew.
Non-vegetarian – You can give boiled or scrambled eggs, can give chicken soup to start with. However, keeping the baby only on non-vegetarian food items is not recommended. There should be a mix of vegetarian items as well.
Now you have got is well, how to start with food introduction to a baby. It’s time for the mother to feel relaxed as the baby is now on alternate sources as well and you can relish your mother hood by rearing baby and enjoy the changes.