Solid Foods For Infants - Weaning Babies
Introducing solid foods in a baby’s diet would determine the overall health and life long eating habit of a baby. It is very important to start solid foods at the right time when the baby is ready for it. Don’t be in a rush to start solid foods as breast milk and infant formulas take care of the infant nutrition for the first 4-6 months. Starting a solid food at this stage might cause the baby to develop food allergies or diarrhea as an infant intestinal track is not as fully developed in the first few months.
The baby in this stage is also unable to express the feeling of fullness and this might in turn lead to unintentional overfeeding.
At this stage of life the baby is still learning to swallow foods, thus introducing solid foods can be a potential cause for choking. To detect if the baby is allergic to a particular food, feed one type of food for several days. Avoid egg whites, cow’s milk or honey till the baby is at least 12 months old.
Guidelines For Introducing Solid Foods For Infants
Following are the general guidelines to start solid foods as the baby grows older. Remember that the type and amount of food will vary on daily basis.
Breastfeed your baby at least till he turns one. There is no specific age when he should be weaned. Wean your child gradually by reducing the amounts of breast feeds when he gives an indication by drinking from a cup. Start cow’s milk only after 12 months of age.
- 4-5 months – Till 6 months of age an infant should be exclusively breast fed. But in case breast feeding is a problem than cereal based iron fortified infant formulas could be started. Introduce these gradually in small amounts to familiarize your baby with solid foods.
- 6-7 months – Along with breast milk, the cereal based iron fortified nutrition could be given (up to 4 tablespoons). Other baby foods or well-cooked strained and mashed vegetable can also be introduced.
- 7-8 months – Along with 3-4 feedings of breast milk and formulas, canned, peeled, mashed and cooked fruits can be introduced. Fruit juice diluted with water (1:2 proportions) can also be given. Mild cheese, egg yolks (no whites as it may cause allergic reaction), soft bite size pieces of foods, finger foods, salted crackers or pastas can also be given.
- 10-12 months – Along with 3-4 feedings of breast milk and formulas, a baby’s diet will start resembling that of an adults diet with 3 meals and 3 snacks daily. To inculcate good eating habits encourage the baby to eat by himself with other family members.