Introducing solid food to your baby is exciting and daunting at the same time. This process is called “Weaning“. When the little one is halfway to one, milk alone is not sufficient to meet the infants growing needs. And hence, we need to add more to the little one’s diet.
When Amelia was almost 6 months old and I got a green signal from the pediatrician to start complementary feeding, I remember how nervous and excited I was.
Why a green signal from the pediatrician?
Because just the age can’t determine if the baby is ready to start with solids. There are other signs that also determine the readiness of the baby such as
*Sitting without support
*Holding things with thumb and index finger
*Showing interest in food and willing to chew
*Does not push out food using tongue
When it’s time, invest in a booster seat or a high chair. I highly recommend a booster seat as it doesn’t take much space. Amelia used the Fischer price booster seat. Also buy some bibs, sipper cup, and a good spoon and bowl.
I introduced solid food once a day starting with fruits and veggies which were light on her little belly. As days passed, I gradually increased her meals twice a day and slowly started with carbs and proteins as well.
Recommended meal portions:
- 6-7 months: 1-2 solid feeds a day
- 8-9 months: 2-3 solid feeds a day
- 9 months to 1 year: 3-4 solid feeds a day
At 6-7 months, there are two things to remember. One, give simple (and healthy, of course) carbs that are easy to digest and two, don’t give a variety. In fact, you can repeat the same food for three days and then try something else. This will also help in ruling out allergies if any. As the child grows, slowly move from purées to semi-solids. By 1 year of age, the child should be able to pretty much everything that you do.
I did not add any salt to her food until she was about a year old. But, I did add a pinch of spices to her meals to give an added flavor to the meal. Spices include mostly cinnamon in oats/applesauce to Ragi or semolina porridge, or turmeric powder in her rice or veggie puree and also a light pinch of pepper too.
Adding these gives an added depth of flavor to the meal making it yummier to eat. Plus it is healthy too. For example, turmeric is loaded with anti-inflammatory agents and boosts digestion. A small pinch goes a long way.
What not to do?
- Never force feed
- Don’t try a variety of foods at once. Let the baby understand the taste of each food. Variety often confuses them
- Follow the baby’s cues. If he is not showing interest in food, it simply means she is full and doesn’t want.
What to avoid till 1 year of age?
- Salt and sugar
- Egg white
- Dry fruits
- Raw veggies
- Undercooked non-vegetarian foods
- Foods that can cause choking like popcorn, large chunks of soya etc
- Sweets, chips and other junk items
1 apple peeled and chopped
1/4 cup water
a pinch of cinnamon powder
In a saucepan, add the ingredients together and boil the mixture together until the apple is really soft and mushy. Puree it and serve.
Raw apple can be constipating for your baby. So giving a cooked apple would be safer and it’s tastier too. As the child grows, you can slowly start by just steaming the apple and then just giving raw apple.
Powdered Oats / Ragi/ Wheat/ Semolina Porridge:
Formula milk powder (as per directions)
1.5 Tbsp of any one of the powdered cereals
a pinch of spice (cardamom or cinnamon)
In a saucepan, add all the ingredients except nuts and bring it up to a boil and cook until thick and creamy. keep stirring it so it doesn’t get lumpy. Serve warm.
Potato and Carrot Puree
1 potato chopped
1/2 carrot chopped
pinch of oregano
1/2 cup water
Add all ingredients to a saucepan, bring it up to a boil and cook until soft and mushy. puree and serve warm.
Replace the carrot with beans or spinach or any other vegetable you prefer. You can add a small piece of chicken to this, to add more protein to the food.
1/4c White rice
1 cup of water
2 tbsp of 2 kinds of veggies of your choice (I used carrot/potatoes/beetroot/ spinach)
2tsp of lentils of your choice (I used orange lentils mostly)
2 drops of butter or ghee
pinch of salt
Boil all ingredients until soft and mushy. Puree until smooth and serve warm. If you are adding spinach add it, in the end, you don’t want to overcook your veggies.
After your baby has transitioned from the puree stage to the semi-solid stage, you can introduce finger food such as soft fruit, steamed veggies, idly pieces, dosa pieces, Chapathi with curd, etc
I also used a fruit feeder and my daughter loved it. It acts as a teether while providing the baby with the juice of the fruit put in it. Also, many mothers are worried about the baby accidentally chewing a large price of the fruit which can result in choking. This feeder prevents that and hence is a great way to give babies different fresh fruits.
I am just trying to give you an idea of what kind of food to prepare. So you have a base and you can play around with flavors and textures. Adding different flavors, veggies and herbs makes food interesting and mealtime fun and gives an added depth to the food you serve your baby.
Have fun feeding. It is great if she eats today and it is absolutely ok if she refuses tomorrow. And yes, the internet has loads of positives and negatives on every kind of food. Do what you feel is best for your baby. What works for you, need not work for someone else. So use your wisdom and work it.
Hope this was helpful!