Golden Rule of Complementary Feeding
Posted On: August 29, 2016
When to start solids (weaning ) for your baby?
Every baby is different. Some mothers confused the word weaning with stopping breastfeeding.
According to WHO the right stage to start solid/ mushy food for your baby is around 6 months.
For first 6 months, exclusive Breastfeeding is important.
Follow the Golden rule of complementary feeding:
- Start with well cooked and mashed rice/ daliya/ ragi/ khichdi with sugar and ghee or fruits or vegetables puree. After a week or so, move to vegetables such as carrot or sweet potatoes or vice versa if you have started with cereals first.
- Get the order right. Always start with carbohydrates first and then proteins. For vegetarians its pulses and legumes (beans, peas, dry fruits etc), unlike non-vegetarians who can introduce chicken, fish, and meat. Fats are the last food to be introduced to the babies.
- Don’t mix flavors. Start your baby on single rather than mix food. Mixing flavors at this stage can blur the child’s sense of taste. Home prepared food is best.
- Encourage self-feeding. The aim is to get your baby to feed himself as soon as he can pick up and hold food. If a child chooses his own pieces of food he is more likely to eat it than if you hand it to the baby.
- Increase their water intake. When a baby is started on solid they need more water. Avoid any other drinks apart from milk.
- Know when they have had enough. If you are using a spoon and after eating well your baby turns his face away or looks down., then stop feeding it is a sign that you are overfeeding him.
- Eat with them. Put your baby in a high chair, as soon as, he can sit up unaided and have him eat with you. Eating with the family will encourage your child to try a wider range of food items.
- SALT: Never add too much to the food, you give to your baby because their kidneys can’t cope with it.
- SUGAR: Sugary food and drinks are not recommended for babies under a year, as they can encourage a sweet tooth and leads to decay.
- FIRST FOOD: 6 months: by around 6 months your baby will be ready to eat semi-solid food.
- First food should be rice and daal in semi-solid form with ghee, followed by blender types of fruits and vegetables.
- The texture should be pureed.
- 6 to 9 months:
- After 6 months you can introduce well-cooked meats (chicken, fish) – be sure to remove bones and gristle.
- If your child starts solid food for the first time after 6 months ensure you begin with rice, cereal, and pureed food before increasing the texture.
- Continue to introduce the variety of new food and texture to ensure your baby receives a good balance of nutrients.
- The texture should be MASHED OR FINELY CHOPPED.
- 9 to 12 months:
- You can introduce wheat products (such as pasta, bread, oats), cheese and eggs (unless there is a family history of food allergy).
- Your baby is now ready for a finger food to encourage them to learn them to self-feed.
- 12 months:
- You can now introduce cow’s milk and more solid food. Remember to ensure the pieces are not too hard or too big to avoid choking.
- Your baby will now enjoy self-feeding different food (be sure not to leave your child alone, to prevent choking)
- You should include FINGER FOOD and other food the family is eating.
By Dr. Deepshikha Sharma
Designation: Newborn and Child specialist
Department: Pediatrics And Neonatology
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