At Ahaana photography, we not only create memories through our photographs but also walk along with you in this beautiful journey of parenting through a series of posts covering everything from bump to baby. This blog is all about the million-dollar question of when, what and how to introduce solids to your baby.
The only source of nutrition for the baby for the 6 months of his/her life is from breast milk. That said, if the mother chooses to supplement it with formula feeds, do not judge or question or reason out with her. To each her own!
The below is a curation of what has worked for mothers in our circle. What works for one might not work for someone else and hence take a call based on your child’s developmental requirements.
- Under paediatrician’s advice, light consistency porridges and purees can be offered as a start point. The thumb rule is to wait for 3 days after introducing a new food to see if the baby’s system is accepting it. By keeping it extremely light, you are giving the baby’s system time to get used to the outside world’s foods, new tastes while enabling easy digestion.
- Begin with offering other foods for 1 or 2 meals a day. Keep it in between breast/formula feeds (BF/FF). For example – BF, puree, BF, Porridge, BF, porridge, BF. This is from waking up till going to bed. Night times are generally only BF/FF as and when the child wakes up.
- The next set of foods can include vegetables like sweet potato, banana, potato, yellow pumpkin, tomato, peas and fruits like American pear, apple, banana. Puree them preferably using your hand, if not in a mixie without too much water. Make the consistency a little thicker than earlier.
- By the end of 8th month, you can slowly introduce mashed rice with dhal or even make it in the form of khichdi adding vegetables which suit the baby along with some pepper and jeera for the flavour factor. Do not add salt or sugar until the child turns 1 and even post that, in limited quantity. Salt has a direct impact on the kidneys and even very little of it will burden the teeny tiny bean like kidneys inside them.
- Post 8 months, you can also start introducing family foods minus salt, sugar and spice to a minimal level.
- Once the child is able to sit with support, you can start using a booster seat and slowly bring them into the habit of sitting on that during meal times. Offer bits of foods like boiled vegetables, idli, dosa , roti , etc in a plate when the child is seated. Once their hand to mouth gesture is strengthened, they might gobble down a few pieces. More than 80% of the times, the place will get messy and the child might not have eaten anything. It’s okay. Someday it’ll all fall in place…fall in their mouths and not the floor – HOPEFULLY!
- Of course the kid isn’t going to like everything that’s offered. Keep trying. Offer the foods in rotation so that even if they don’t like something today, a few days later they might take a liking (Like Danush says, paaka paaka dhaan pudikum! LOL)!
- DO NOT FORCE FEED! Just imagine someone holding you and stuffing gallons of food down your throat. Won’t you hate it?
- Babies will eat what they require to maintain their energy and nutrition levels. An excellent word of advice from a leading paediatrician was ‘do not worry about the quantity of food he intakes. For example, if he eats 4 spoons of rice, make it 3 spoons and add mashes vegetables, ghee or curd to it. This maintains the quantity but increases the caloric value’. GOLDEN WORDS!!
- Continue to breastfeed even after introducing solid foods. Even if they reject the latter, the former would give them all the nutrition that they need. Cow’s milk isn’t recommended until the age of 1 since the proteins found in them might affect the kidneys.
- There is a wonderful support group on Facebook which promotes baby led weaning. Join that and get your queries addressed by fellow mommas. The group goes by the name ‘Traditional Weaning – Introduction of Solids’.
- Do not compare your baby’s eating habits to others.
A close friend once told me that the survival instinct in kids is extremely high and that’s why they adapt to breastfeeding so quickly. This applies for solids too. They’ll make sure to eat what they need to replenish their energy levels. So, fret not, the day will come soon when the kid will ask and eat something that they want and like. Until then, keep offering different foods in different colours and textures. There will be a BAZINGA moment!
A final reminder before I end – NO ONE KNOWS YOUR BABY BETTER THAN YOU. Keep that in mind and keep going! Happy parenting 🙂
Vidya Venkatrramani (Curdriceshots)