-article by Sushma Gumma– Clinical Nutritionist and Dietitian ( since 4 years) , founder of Online Diet consultancy- Nourishia. Author of two Telugu books published on Nutrition and column writer for Mana Aarogyam ( health magazine )
The first year of life is the period of phenomenal growth and development. To get full potential the infant requires abundant nutrient supply. So, the parents especially the mother who feeds a baby should be every patient, dedicated & interested. Infancy is the period where growth is very rapid & nutrient needs are very high. A healthy child doubles his/her birth weight by 6 months & triples by 1 year and height changes slowly when compared to weight. An increase of 25cm can be observed in the child in one year. Here are few tips before start weaning foods to your baby.
Observe the signs before offering the Complimentary Foods…
Breast milk is an ideal combination of nutrients designed by nature to promote growth in the child. Baby should be exclusively breast feed till 6months and should continue till 2 years as per WHO. Along with breastmilk “complimentary feeding” should be provided after 6 months to meet the increasing requirements of the baby.
Before starting weaning foods check whether the baby’s head & neck control is well developed and can sit with support.
Look out for the baby’s hand-eye coordination and check out if the baby can open & close mouth around a spoon.
Spitting out the food does not necessarily mean that he dislikes the food, it also indicates that the baby is yet to develop proper coordination needed for swallowing, the up & down movements of the jaw.
If all above the signs are seen the baby is ready for “weaning foods”.
All these foods should be well cooked & mashed in a form of puree- that allows the baby to swallow easily & digests in their delicate digestive system. Start with nutrient rich & calorie dense foods but not only empty calorie store bought.
A food can be introduced every week & it may take 10-15 times to get accepted by them.
Babies can be given calorie rich foods rich in natural sugars like stewed fruits & veggies.
Examples: Carrots, Potatoes, sweet potatoes, beet roots, pumpkin.
Mashed banana, Papaya, stewed apples, chickoo. All these are easily digested than carbs, proteins & fats.
Lumpy textured purees can be increased along with introduction of carbs, proteins & fats.
This stage should be in porridges form.
Examples- Rice porridge, dal soup, ragi porridge, vegetable soup or kichadi, mashed idli or upma.
As the baby develops teeth the food can be a bit crunchier.
- Soft dosa with curd, Chapathi dipped in dal soup or curd or milk are great ideas.
- Egg yolks(well cooked) can be introduced, Egg whites should be given only after first year.
- Herbs & Spices like turmeric, jeera, Coriander powder, Pepper instead of using salt & sugar.
- Ghee can be added to all dishes (Preferably homemade).
The best way to make foods nutrient & calorie rich is by “malting”. This means “germinating” the whole grains or pulses, sun drying & then powdering it. These flours are rich in “alphase amylase enzyme” that are excellent in providing more energy.
Nutreat in my words….
I appreciate Nutreat whole heartedly for following all these traditional methods & bringing the best products for babies & health products without any preservatives.