WHEN should solids be introduced?
Contrary to popular opinion, a baby is ready to take a chomp
well before the onset of his/her first tooth. A good time to start solids is
anywhere between 4-6 months, by when they can hold their heads up fairly
WHAT foods are ideal for the debut?
You may begin with formula food (like Farex, Nestum or
Cerelac), of a single-grain cereal - like rice, wheat or bran. Follow the
instructions of adding milk or water to the formula to make it into a thin
sauce-like consistency. Alternatively, you can start the infant with unsweetened
purees of fruits and vegetables.
HOW do you feed an infant?
Ensure that your baby is sitting in an upright position, so
that there is no risk of choking on the food. Also, make meal times happy times,
and don't fret if your baby rejects a certain food. Never force-feed a baby.
Just repeat that food some days later.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Infants can eat fruits like bananas, stewed apple, peaches,
pears and papaya.
You can also give them boiled vegetables like potatoes, peas,
carrots, spinach and tomatoes. (If they choke on potatoes - you can add a spoon
of milk to mash it to a thinner consistency.)
After 6 months, you can serve dals and khitchri. What also
works wonders is yoghurt in hot summer months.
NOTE: Many doctors prescribe the yellow of an egg for a baby.
You may give the the white once the measles immunization is over.
KEEP IN MIND
Give your baby new foods one at a time - that way you give
your baby time to get used to new texture and taste, and it gives you time to
watch out for any signs of allergy or discomfort.
Prepare fresh fruits and vegetables by scrubbing, peeling,
and removing seeds.
Cook the fruit or vegetable in water till it is tender and
the texture is smooth and creamy.
Then puree, mash or sieve the cooked food. If needed, you can
add water, milk or yoghurt to thin the preparation.
After 6-7 months, the food can be lumpy in texture.
WHAT TO AVOID
Don't add sugar to baby food.
Avoid adding spices to vegetables.
To make Indian food tastier, you can add a little roasted
cumin. It adds zing without being tough on the digestive system.
Don't keep baby food for long. Also reheating food means
losing some of the nutrient value, so prepare baby food when ready to feed.
Don't feed the baby food from the same bowl for two meals,
since the the meal contains saliva after the first feed, it is unhygenic to
serve that food to the baby again.
SIGNS OF FOOD ALLERGY
Shortness of breath