Your baby’s nutrition is one of your primary concerns as a parent because the nutrition in the early years has a long term impact on your little one’s health. Your baby’s nutrition will support his ideal growth – both physical and mental. So we have put together a simple guide to weaning and also a list of 5 most nutritious foods for your little one:
When Do You Start Weaning?
Weaning should start only after the age of 6 months, until when your baby should be exclusively breastfed. Before you start, watch your baby know if they are ready for solids – they should be able to support their head well, and start “mouthing” – grasp objects and take it to the mouth. This signals that your baby is also interested in trying new foods.
Introducing solid foods at the end of the exclusive breastfeeding period is an important milestone in your baby’s development. Solid foods should complement the nutrition from breast milk and provide nutrients which are vital during this period. Your baby can now try new tastes and textures of food, so that they can eventually start eating the same way as your family does.
How To Start Weaning
- Always start with simpler foods like whole grains and cereals – rice cereal, dal water, or ragi are great options.
- Move from a liquid form to thicker paste-like forms, and then introduce more solid and semi-solid foods. Eventually, you can introduce finger foods, which your baby can herself pick up, and are in small pieces, making it easy for her to start chewing.
- Introduce one new food at a time and wait for 2-3 days before introducing another new food – this helps you check for any allergic reactions.
5 Most Nutritious First Foods
Homemade food with a similar composition to what you eat every day is the best option for your little one. Just ensure that these foods are hygienically prepared and in a form, your child can easily chew and swallow.
Thin and clear vegetable soups are easy for your baby to swallow, while also providing your little one with a good amount of vitamins and minerals from the vegetables. Make sure you sieve the soup to remove any bits that could be difficult for your baby to chew.
2. Soft Fruits
Bananas, boiled and mashed apples, chikoo, and other soft fruits can easily be mashed to a semi-solid form, which is easier for your baby to chew and swallow. They ensure a steady source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Make a thin porridge-like mix with cereals like rice or ragi. It should not be too thick as your little one should be able to swallow it easily. Cereals are a nutrient-dense source of iron, zinc, and vitamins for your little one.
Pureeing vegetables like carrots, potatoes, lentils, and beans can make them easier for your baby to chew and swallow as they will be in semi-solid form. Initially, introducing these in puree form will be a good way to ensure that your child receives all the nutrients as well as the exposure to the taste of vegetables.
5. Eggs And Chicken
Wait until your baby has few more teeth before you introduce non-vegetarian foods. Strained chicken broth and mashed up boiled egg yolk are some great options to start with. Introduce your baby to non-vegetarian foods if these foods are eaten regularly in your household. Start with small quantities as they are high in protein, too much of which can be tough on your baby’s developing digestive system. Make sure these foods are properly cooked
Of course, there’s no strict rule about what you should feed your baby. Every baby is different in the foods they eat. Speak to other moms, your elders and friends to know how they went through this weaning transition. It can give you some clues about how to make this transition smoother.
Follow your baby’s hunger cues and avoid force-feeding, as it can lead to stomach discomfort, indigestion, and colic pains, and also disrupts your baby’s natural cues of fullness and hunger. The aim of weaning your baby is to initially add to the nutrition from breast milk and eventually wean your baby off breast milk completely. Take it step by step and trust your instincts as well as your baby’s demand for food, to make this transition a smooth and happy one!