Fulfilling the nutritional requirements of a baby at different stages either through breast milk, formula or solids is known as feeding

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11 Benefits of Breastfeeding Your Baby / Pinterest

Avoiding Breastfeeding Problems

Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby and Mother

Bottle Feed : How Much Does your Baby Need

Breastfeeding Benefits

Safety tips for preparing baby food

Many parents are discovering that homemade baby foods can be a nutritious and often more economical alternative to baby foods available in stores. To ensure that the food is prepared safely for your growing infant, follow these simple steps for selecting, preparing, and serving food. Selecting Ingredients Always begin with good quality ingredients. It’s best to use fresh food whenever possible, but you can also use frozen or canned foods. If you’re using processed fruits and vegetables, try to find products without added sugar, especially canned fruit packed in syrup. Never feed these products to your baby or use them in homemade baby food: Dairy products made from raw, unpasteurized milk (may contain bacteria that can cause serious illnesses) Honey (puts your baby at high risk for botulism, a very dangerous illness) Home-canned food (may contain harmful bacteria if it was canned improperly) Outdated canned food Food from dented, rusted, bulging, or leaking cans or jars Food from cans or jars without labels Preparing Baby Food Since infants are at a higher risk of getting a foodborne illness than older children or healthy adults, it’s particularly important to follow these guidelines carefully: Wash your hands and any equipment used to prepare their food. Use separate cutting boards for meat, poultry and fish and for non-meat foods to avoid cross-contamination. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly under clean, running water. Even if you plan to peel a fruit or vegetable, such as cantaloupe or squash, be sure to wash it first. Store raw meats, poultry, fish, and dairy products in the coldest part of the refrigerator immediately after purchase. Cook meat, poultry, and fish thoroughly to kill any bacteria that might be present. Be sure to use a meat thermometer and cook all meats to an internal temperature of at least 160 ºF, fish to at least 145 ºF, and all white meat poultry to an internal temperature of at least 165 ºF. Check the Minimum Cooking Temperatures chart to be sure. Content source  Featured image source

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Meal plan ideas for 11 month old baby

Homemade Baby Food Recipes for 11 month old babies: 1. Semolina (Suji) Halwa Ingredients ½ cup semolina (suji) 1 cup water ½ tsp powdered cashews/almonds (optional) ½ tsp ghee 1 date, pureed How to Prepare Warm the ghee in a pan and then roast the semolina in it. Keep stirring else it will burn. When the semolina gives a nice aroma, add water to it followed by the pureed date. Stir to prevent lumps, and if using the powdered dry fruits, you can add them at this point. When the semolina appears cooked, you can switch off the heat. Keep it a little thinner than the final desired consistency as it will thicken a bit on cooling. 2. Spinach and Cottage Cheese (Paneer) Pasta Ingredients 1 cup pasta (penne or macaroni) 1 bunch spinach 1 cup grated cottage cheese (paneer) Water as required Salt if required How to Prepare First, cook the pasta and ensure it is soft enough for your baby to eat easily. You can also mash it lightly if you want. Wash the spinach well and then steam or boil it for a while. Add the cottage cheese to it and cook for a few minutes till the raw taste vanishes. Then cool this and grind it to a smooth paste with a little water. You can also add a little salt if required. Mix this with the pasta and serve it to your baby. 3. Creamy Carrot and Sweet Corn Rice Ingredients ¼ cup chopped onion ½ cup boiled sweet corn ¼ cup carrot peeled and chopped 1 tbsp butter A piece of bay leaf ½ cup rice A pinch of pepper powder Water as required How to Prepare Heat the butter and sauté the onions in it until translucent. Add the cooked and boiled corn to this. Next, add the chopped carrots and the pepper. Saute for a while and then turn off the heat. You can cool this and roughly or smoothly grind the mixture depending on your child’s preferences. Boil water to cook the rice and add the bay leaf. Cook the rice till it is soft enough for your baby to eat. Then stir in the mixture and remove the bay leaf. Serve it warm to your baby. Feeding Tips to Feed Eleven-Month-Old Compiling a 11-month-old baby food list and using it as a reference can simplify things for you. Sterilize the utensils you will use to feed your babies such as spoons, plates, bowls, and glasses. You can immerse these in hot water for a few minutes and then take them out when you are ready to serve the food. Every time you introduce a new healthy food, be sure to keep an eye out for any signs of allergies. Also be sure to give a gap of at least three to five days before introducing the next new food and only introduce one food at a time. Try to avoid sugar and salt in your baby’s food at least until the first birthday. Cow’s milk and honey are also not advised unless age one. Be sure to supplement your baby’s solid feeds with breast milk or formula based on your child’s demand. Check with your paediatrician if you have any concerns about your child’s feeding habits. Your baby is growing up fast and starting to explore the world around. So, this is the right time to introduce your baby to new foods one at a time and gradually get him to eat what the family east each day. Just ensure that the food you offer your child is as healthy as possible and home-cooked as much as possible.

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25 Foods to increase your breast milk: How your body produces nature's perfect baby food

After you become a mother, all you are worried about is your baby's food. That is, breast milk. Some women are lucky, while some struggle to produce the right amount of breast milk. But thankfully, there are certain foods that increase breast milk and enhance lactation. Breast milk contains all the prime nutrients required for an overall growth and brain development of a newborn. Here is a list of the top 25 foods that you must include in your diet to increase breast milk and also keep you healthy. 1. Oatmeal: Oats are easy to prepare as a meal. 2. Fennel Seeds: Fennel seeds boost the quantity of your breast milk. 3. Fenugreek Seeds: Fenugreek seeds are known for boosting breast milk supply. 4. Unripe Papayas: Unripe Papayas are part of the South Asian cuisine. 5. Spinach And Beet Leaves: Spinach and beet leaves contain iron, calcium and folic acid. 6. Garlic: Garlic is considered the best food to increase breast milk, as it is well-known for boosting lactation in nursing mothers. 7. Black Sesame Seeds: Black Sesame seeds are a rich source of calcium and believed to increase milk supply. 8. Carrots: A glass of carrot juice with breakfast or lunch will work wonders in lactation. 9. Water And Juices: Drinking water and juices is supposed to boost lactation. It increases the total milk volume per feed. 10. Barley: Barley not only boosts lactation, it also keeps you hydrated. 11. Asparagus: Asparagus is considered a must-have food for nursing mothers. 12. Brown Rice: Brown rice enhances breast milk production. It has hormone stimulants which boost lactation. It also gives nursing moms the extra energy that is required post delivery.  It also helps increase the appetite so as to enable the mother to eat nutritious food. 13. Apricots: During and post pregnancy, there are hormonal imbalance that takes place in your body. Dried apricots have certain chemicals which balance out the hormone levels in your body. 14. Salmon: Salmon is a great source of EFA (Essential Fatty acids) and Omega-3. 15. Cumin Seeds: Cumin seeds boost milk supply. Make sure you have them in moderation though. 16. Basil Leaves: Basil leaves are a great source of anti-oxidants.   17. Dill Leaves: Dill leaves look like a bunch of fine, dark green, silky hair. They have a distinct odor. 18. Bottle Gourd: Bottle gourd is generally not a preferred vegetable, but is high on nutrition. 19. Sweet Potato: Sweet potato is a major source of potassium. It has energy producing carbohydrate which is needed to fight the fatigue. 20. Almonds: Almonds are rich in Omega-3 and Vitamin E. 21. Chickpea: Chickpea is a protein snack and lactation booster for nursing mommies. 22. Drumstick: Drumstick has high iron and calcium content. 23. Poppy Seeds (Khuskhus): It is very important for nursing mothers to relax completely during lactation. Poppy seeds have sedative properties that help you relax and calm down. 24. Cow Milk: Cow milk has calcium and EFA. It promotes lactation. In fact, by consuming cow milk during lactation, you will help your child avoid developing an allergy to cow milk. 25. Oils And Fats: It is recommended to keep fats and oils in your diet to a minimum, post pregnancy. All the above foods have been traditionally used to improve milk flow in new moms. However, while some have scientific backing the others don’t. Consume the foods in limited quantities, and note the side-effects, if any. Also, go for organic products as the pesticide residue in the foods and herbs can increase the lead content in your milk. Feature Image Source

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What to get when you are Expecting

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10 tips for going back to work after baby

1. Start Early The last thing you want is uncertainty about who will be watching your baby, so start figuring that out early. Before the baby is born is not too soon, especially if you want to use a specific daycare--they might have a waiting list! 2. Choose Care Carefully The transition back to work will be so much easier if you are confident in your choice of who’s taking care of your baby. If it’s a daycare, ask if you can stop by and visit with your baby before you go back, so you can both get comfortable with space and people. 3. Do Some Dry Runs In the weeks before you return to work, it’s helpful to practice your routine of getting up, getting you and baby ready, and getting out of the house by a certain time. You can use one of those dry runs to make a trip to your daycare, for a visitor to drop off the diapers and other necessities they might have asked you to provide. 4. Start Back Slowly If possible, work just part-time for the first week or two. That transition time will help you and your baby adjust to being apart, and also let you sort out any kinks in your schedule and systems. 5. Ask for Updates The hardest part about going back is sure to be leaving your baby. Ask your daycare to send you texts and pictures of your sweet pea throughout the day. And if you need to call every day to check-in, that’s your right as a mommy 6. Ask a Lactation Consultant If you plan to keep nursing after you go back, a lactation consultant can help with any questions you have about maintaining supply, pumping at work and storing expressed milk. 7. Have the Pumping Talk Before you return to work, make sure you speak to your boss about your plans for pumping, and how he or she can support you need to feed your baby. Your Human Resources department might also be helpful in finding you a private space to pump. Your belly has finally arrived. Your pants dig uncomfortably into your waist and you feel like you’re falling out of your shirts. You’re going to feel so much better once you get some stretchy-waist pants and a shirt that fits your new body. 8. Plan Ahead Nighttime is your new prep-time. Plan on choosing your clothes, packing your lunch and baby bag, and getting everything organized for the next day before you go to sleep. It will make your mornings so much smoother (and you might even have time for breakfast!). 9. Get Baby To Take a Bottle If you've been exclusively breastfeeding, start giving your little one a bottle of expressed milk on occasion, to make sure he’ll take it. If he won’t, step away and have a dad or someone else try. Keep offering it regularly until your baby agrees to drink from it. 10. Skip the Guilt Whether you are choosing to go back, or you have to, absolve yourself now of any mommy guilt. Returning to work doesn’t make you a bad parent, so don’t think for a moment that you are. Content Source    

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Transitioning back to work after the baby: Tips for working moms

Top Seven Tips for Moms Returning to Work (outside the home): 1) If at all possible, return to work on a Thursday (if you work full time) so that you have a short work week initially. Then you have the weekend to review how to make necessary adjustments for the following week. And you enter the new week knowing you can do this! It is empowering to get through the first week, even if it is a short one. 2) If pumping, find out ahead of time where you can have privacy. Is there a lactation room at your work? Or an office with a lock on it? You don’t want someone barging in on you while in a vulnerable position. If you try pumping, and you find you just don’t have the energy to continue, perhaps partial supplementation with a formula for your baby will be just fine. Then you can breast-feed when you are with your baby at night and on weekends.  3) Bring snacks and water. It is so important to stay hydrated and keep blood sugar even. It’s easy to forget to eat or drink water when multi-tasking. Remember that proper nutrition, including continuing with prenatal vitamins (if breastfeeding and doctor recommends), is essential to good mood health. Bring high-protein snacks (like almonds and string cheese) to graze on throughout the day and before/after lunch. What is good for your body is good for your mental state. 4) Allow yourself to cry. You will miss your baby. A lot. Initially, it will be very tough. Bring Kleenex. Give yourself the time and space to let the tears flow in the company of supportive people who understand your transition. Then distract yourself with tasks at hand to ground yourself back in the present. Reward yourself with some nice adult conversation and a cup of delicious coffee or herbal tea. Savor being able to enjoy a chat with your colleagues uninterrupted by baby’s needs. 5) It may be helpful to bring a transitional object that reminds you of your connection with your baby, like a picture of the baby, or a little bootie with his/her scent. Some women laugh that they have a “baby shrine” of baby photos at their desks so that they feel connected to their little one while away. Leave a photo of you with the baby and an item with your scent on it (a robe or article of clothing). You stay connected through your senses that way throughout the day. 6) Align yourself with other working moms. They are invaluable as support when you are having a tough day balancing it all. These mammas are doing what you are doing and more than likely have some emotional support and tricks up the sleeve that has helped them weather the storm of transitioning back to work.  Don’t reinvent the wheel. Go to the seasoned mammas for support and guidance. 7) If at all possible, work for a family-friendly company. All moms/families deserve to have the flexibility they need to make work/family life balance possible. Sadly, not all employers embrace this philosophy. Some employers also have generous family leave policies. Check Working Mother magazine for the top employers who are “family-friendly.” I especially love companies that have on-site daycare. Content Source    

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Slow weight gain in breastfed babies

Most breastfed babies will get enough breast milk and gain weight in a consistent and expected pattern as long as they latch on well and breastfeed often. But, what if you think your child isn't getting what he needs to grow and thrive? If you're breastfeeding and your newborn is gaining weight slowly or inconsistently then he may not be getting enough breast milk. So, here's what to look for and what to do if you think your child isn't gaining weight well. Breastfeeding and Slow Weight Gain Breastfed newborns can lose up to 10 percent of their birth weight during the first week. Then, by the time a child is two weeks old, he should regain the weight that was lost. After that, for the next three months or so, breastfed babies gain about 28 gram per day. Of course, every newborn is different, and some children just normally grow more slowly than others. So, as long as your baby is breastfeeding well and his health care exams are on target, a slower weight gain may not be an issue. When Slow Weight Gain Is a Problem Weight gain is the best sign that a child is getting enough breast milk. When a baby is gaining weight slower than expected, it could mean that she's not getting enough. So, if your newborn is not back to her birth weight in two weeks, or she's not gaining weight consistently after that, it may be that there's a breastfeeding issue that's preventing your child from getting enough breast milk. The Reasons Your Baby May Not Be Gaining Weight as Expected Your newborn is not latching on well: A good latch allows your child to remove the breast milk from your breast without getting tired out and frustrated. If your baby is not latching on correctly, or latching on to just your nipple, she won't be able to remove the breast milk very well. Your baby isn't breastfeeding often enough: Breastfeed your newborn at least every two to three hours through the day and night for the first six to eight weeks. If he wants to breastfeed more often, put him back to the breast. Your child is not breastfeeding long enough at each feeding: Newborns should breastfeed for about 8 to 10 minutes on each side. As your child gets older, she won't need to breastfeed as long to get the breast milk she needs, but during the first few weeks, try to keep her awake and actively sucking for as long as you can. Your little one is in pain: If your baby is not comfortable because of a birth injury or an infection such as thrush in her mouth, she may not breastfeed well, and therefore she may be gaining weight slowly. You have a low breast milk supply: A low milk supply can prevent your child from getting enough breast milk, but it could also be the result of your baby not breastfeeding well. It's a bit of a vicious cycle. The good news is that a typical low milk supply can often be recovered pretty easily.   Content source Featured image source

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Introducing solid foods to your baby: Quick tips

As your baby gets older, she starts to need solid food so she can get enough iron and other essential nutrients for growth and development. For about the first six months of life, your baby uses iron stored in his body from when he was in the womb. He also gets some iron from breastmilk and/or infant formula. But your baby’s iron stores go down as he grows. And by around six months, he can’t get the iron he needs from breast milk or infant formula alone. Introducing solids is also important for helping your baby learn to eat, giving her experience of new tastes and textures from a range of foods, developing her teeth and jaws, and building other skills that she’ll need later for language development. Signs that it’s time for introducing solids: Your baby’s individual development and behaviour will guide you when you’re trying to work out when to start introducing solids. Signs your baby is ready for solids include when your baby: Has good head and neck control and can sit upright when supported Shows an interest in food – for example, by looking at what’s on your plate Reaches out for your food Opens his mouth when you offer him food on a spoon. Most babies start to show these signs around six months, but the signs happen at different times for different babies. It’s not recommended to introduce solids before four months. If your baby is nearing seven months of age and hasn’t started solids, you might like to get some advice from your child and family health nurse or GP. How to introduce solids: Food timing When you’re first introducing solids, it’s a good idea to offer solids when you and your baby are both happy and relaxed. Your baby is also more likely to try solids after a feed of breastmilk or formula. This is because when babies are really hungry, they just want the breastmilk or formula that they know satisfies their hunger. They’ll still have room to try new foods after they’ve had a feed of breastmilk or formula. As time passes, you’ll learn when your baby is hungry or full, not interested or tired. Signs of hunger include your baby: Getting excited when she sees you getting her food ready Leaning towards you while she’s sitting in the highchair Opening her mouth as you’re about to feed her Signs your baby is no longer interested include: Turning his head away Losing interest or getting distracted Pushing the spoon away Clamping his mouth shut Content source Featured image source  

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Baby feeding and sleeping schedule: Breastfeeding 4 to 6-month-old

A newborn’s sleep schedules take time to set and therefore it is very tough to get into a consistent routine before 4 months of age. Bedtimes can also be quite inconsistent and erratic in the first 3 months. Now that your baby is 4 months old, this is the perfect time to get your baby into a routine as they naturally settle into a 4-5 nap schedule. Here is your 4 month old breastfeeding schedule: 8am – Wake Up & Nurse 9:30am – Nap 11am – Nurse 12:00pm – Nap 2pm – Nurse 3pm – Nap 5pm – Nurse 6pm – Nap 8pm – Nurse / Bottle (We do a pumped bottle from 8pm onward) 8:30pm – 9pm Bed *Sometimes there is a middle of the night feed around 5am. It is common for baby to still get up 1-2x per night after the first 5-8 hour stretch at this age. Note: If your baby wakes up earlier, adjust the times above accordingly. For example, if your baby wakes up at 7am, then bedtime should be around 7:30-8pm. How many naps for a 4 month old? As you can see your 4 month old is napping 4 times a day now. This schedule has naturally emerged from following a 1.5-2 hour wake time in between naps and trying to do an “Eat, Activity, Sleep” schedule. The crucial point here is that you want to feed your baby AFTER they are awake. This way they are not associating nursing with going to sleep and will likely sleep better at night. This isn’t always possible to do this based on your baby’s nap schedule. Some days the schedule may get thrown off and you may have to nurse right before your baby goes to sleep. And that’s OK! Just try to implement it as often as you can. Naps at this age are typically 45 mins to an hour. Babies at this age haven’t yet learned to connect their sleep cycles so it’s common to have a nap that is just one sleep cycle. 4 month old babies usually nap 4-5 times a day. The key is that you’re wanting your baby to get 15-16 total hours of sleep a day (including naps & night time). How often to nurse a 4 month old? As far as nursing during the day is concerned, you may follow approximately 3 hours intervals in between nursing schedules. You may also nurse on demand and therefore if your baby gets hungry before 3 hours you may feed her. But, it will be ideal also to keep the 3 hours interval in mind. 4 Month Old Breastfeeding Schedule You don’t need to stick to a schedule to the T. Every day will be different and you can adapt and change it as you need to. The key elements of a schedule for a 4 month old is knowing that they will likely need at least 4 naps in the day. Carve out the approximate times for when those naps will be (morning, noon, early afternoon, late afternoon) and plan your day around that.   Content source Featured image source          

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FAQ: Introducing your baby to solid foods

Introducing solid food to your child is a big step ahead in their growth chart. A lot of mothers, whether new or old, have a lot of questions revolving around this crucial step forward in their child’s life. We made a list of some of the questions, after studying the primary questions posed by mothers to their pediatricians, their own mothers, fellow-mothers or on group threads, social media, and discussion boards, and answered them. When should I introduce solid foods to my child? Ideally, six months is the right age to introduce a baby to solid foods. Before this, you might notice your child not allowing the spoon to enter their mouth or their inability to swallow solid food. Additionally, initiating solid food too early also reduces the production of breast milk, if you are breastfeeding the child. Introducing food before this age might also increase their chances of developing a food allergy or becoming obese. Though, this is an ideal time to start solid food, each child is different and would give you the clues as to when they are ready to start solid food. These signs would include the following: The baby can grab and reach for objects. The baby shows interest in food and tries to reach for the food you eat. The baby can sit straight independently. This is the biggest indicator that they would have lost their tongue-thrusting reflex. The baby has an increased appetite where their milk times have increased or you notice them taking in more milk than their usual at a mealtime. Look out for these clues before you introduce solid food to them. Why does a baby need solid food at six-months? By the time the bay reaches six months of age, they have used up their stores of essential nutrients that they were born with. Now, to grow further they need essential vitamins, nutrients and minerals, like iron and zinc, which solid food can provide them easily. By this time, their digestive system would be ready for solid food. This would be demonstrated by the fact that the baby’s hunger is not satisfied by breast or formula milk alone. This is also the right time to introduce allergy foods. Further, familiarizing them to solid food is the first step in making them independent for their forthcoming life. How often should I give my child solid food? In order to get your child used to the idea of eating, schedule a breakfast, lunch and dinner time for them. Even if they are not hungry, do sit them down with a tablespoon of whatever you have planned for them. This would get them used to the idea of a mealtime and also help them fall into a schedule for the day. You would notice that most six-month olds would be comfortable eating just once a day. And as the majority of their nutrition comes from breast or formula milk, it is all right if they do so. As your child grows, they would slowly get used to the idea of eating regularly and would develop a routine of eating three meals a day along with the family. My baby appears to be not interested in solid foods. Should I force them to eat? No. Never force your child to eat. This will only make them averse to food. In fact, if you feel that even after trying for a sufficient amount of time, they are not interested in eating anything, get them out of the high chair or any other chair that you use for feeding and move on to the next scheduled activity. Further, at times, the first feed is a little strange for the child, so they might not be able to accept it. As it has a different texture, smell and taste, they just might end up spitting out the whole thing. But don’t worry. Remove the food from their vicinity and try again the next day. Just like at times we do not want to eat, babies also might not want to eat. Moreover, they are yet to fall in a habit so it’s all right if they skip a meal. What should be the size of the meals that I offer my child? At four to six months, feed the child between two to four tablespoon of the planned meal. Remember, their meal intake might change from meal to meal and from day to day. So don’t get worried if one day your baby is eating four tablespoons of food and the next day, they are eating just three. Also, as the child gets used to eating, their appetite will increase naturally. As this happens, increase the amount of food by a half-a-tablespoon till you feel that they are feeling full. What is the best way of feeding a six-month old baby? When you are about to feed your child, turn off the television and any loud music. Wash the baby’s and your hands so that they know that it is mealtime. Reducing other stimuli from the environment will help your child recognize the flavours in the food and also understand how their body reacts to food. They would be consciously aware of when they are full and would give you a clue to that. Which foods should I first introduce my baby to? Though every family might have a different tradition as far as the first solid feed of the child is concerned, even science does not follow any hard and fast rules. However, there are a few suggestions which seem to work well for the babies. These include single-grain cereals and boiled or pureed fruits and vegetables. Single-grain cereals can be initially prepared in the ratio of one teaspoon of cereal with 5 teaspoons of breast or formula milk. Once the child is used to this, the cereal can be gradually thickened. Fruits like bananas can be mashed, whereas apples can be par-boiled to soften them a little. Use brightly coloured fruits and vegetables as these are nutrient-dense and the colours appeal to the child. By the time your child reaches the age of nine to 12 months, they can be introduced to raw fruits and vegetables. Other suggestions include mashed potatoes, well-cooked rice or pulses, whole wheat biscuits, bread fingers and rusks. Full-fat yoghurt, cheese and custard can also be tried. Ensure that the first foods that are introduced to a child are fortified with iron or are iron-rich foods. This is because, the child has finished its iron reserves and needs extra iron to grow and avoid being anemic. Additionally, once the child starts taking solid or semi-solid food, they stop absorbing iron from the breast or formula milk. Should I use only boiled food at this stage? Depending on the type of food you are offering the child and the presence of teeth, boil, puree, chop or grind the food, fruits and/or vegetables. You can prepare clear soups or use vegetable stock to prepare their food. As the child gets used to swallowing semi-solid food, move to finger foods like French fries or a slice of boiled potato. The child can hold this in their hands, while getting used to its taste and texture. Be prepared for a mess as babies love to throw their food around and the hand-eye-brain coordination that the child needs to place the food in their mouth is still not fully developed. What kind of food should be avoided? Any food that is too hard, like a carrot stick, should be avoided. Further, small, hard foods, like grapes, hard candies, small pieces of toast, etc.should be avoided. If not given in the appropriate manner, these types of foods can choke the child. Other foods that come with a choking hazard include peanuts, nuts, popcorn and nut butter. Also avoid honey before one year of age as it can cause infant botulism, which may prove fatal. Additionally, do not give highly spiced or greasy foods. Further, cow’s or any other animal’s milk as a drink should be avoided until 12 months of age. Also avoid coffee, tea, and artificially sweetened drinks and juices. Try not to give any plant-based milk, like soy, almond or rice milk, till one year of age. However, these can be used to cook their food in from six months onwards. Do not give spinach, carrots, beans and beetroot to babies less than 6 months of age as these have enough nitrates to cause a blood disorder called methemoglobinemia. Aren’t juices healthy? Well, not as healthy as whole fruits. Juices cannot be considered as a part of a baby’s diet. Too much juice may contribute to weight problems and lead to diarrhea. Moreover, it hinders the appetite of the child. Sipping on juice the entire day or just before bed can lead to tooth decay. If you have to give your baby fruit juice, then ensure that it is 100 percent fruit juice with no artificial sweetening, and that you do not serve more than 120 to 170 ml of it in a day to your child. What are the other ways in which I can encourage my child to eat? A lot of children need stimulation other than that provided at the mealtime. This can be offered in the form of stories based on fruits and vegetables, showing them pictures of different foods and talking to them about the benefits of consuming a particular food, even if they do not comprehend what you are saying. Should I put cereal in my baby’s milk bottle? No. Putting cereal in the baby’s milk bottle will not enable them to learn the difference between solid and liquid foods. Feeding them seated and from a bowl/plate and a spoon, just like adults do, helps them learn about taking bites of food, moving it around in their mouth for either chewing or swallowing, rest between bites and the sensation of having had their fill. All these things help the babies develop healthy eating habits. How soon should I introduce new foods to the baby? You should wait for at least five to six days between introducing new foods to your baby. This allows you to watch out for allergic reactions to any food and also gives the baby time to get used to the flavor and feel of the new food. My baby appears to be constipated since I introduced solid foods? What should I do? Now that your baby is eating solid foods, they are getting more fiber than what they were used to. To help move the fiber around and digest it, they also need more water. Further, foods like cereal and fruits like bananas cause constipation. So to avoid this, it is important to introduce children to water at this stage. Use boiled water to minimize the chances of water-borne infections. If your pediatrician has still not given you a green flag for water, then ask if you can use diluted pear or any other juice to change the stool’s consistency. How can I ascertain that my child is allergic to some kind of food? If you notice that your baby vomits, has loose motions and stomach ache, develops a rash or swollen lips and eyes, or has any other adverse reaction or changes that you have not noticed before, then they might be having an allergic reaction. However, irritation around the anus does not mean that the baby has an allergic reaction to a food. Another good indication of an allergic reaction would be the stool. If the stool has mucus, is loose and watery, then it means that their intestinal tract is getting irritated. Try removing the latest introduced food to improve symptoms. If there is no symptomatic relief, then you must visit a doctor. Will my baby’s stool change once I introduce them to solid foods? Yes. Your baby’s stool will change once you introduce them to solid foods. It would become firmer and would have an odour. As some foods are hard to digest, you might see them as it is in the diaper. These would include things like peas, corn and tomato peels. What are the other things that I should keep in mind when feeding my child solid food? Wash your baby’s and your hands every time before a meal. Check the temperature of the food before you feed it to them. Ensure that you wash your baby’s hand, only when the food has cooled down enough to be fed to the child. Making the baby wait after building the anticipation is too much for them. The baby is going to push the food around, creating a mess of it. Be prepared for this and don’t fret as this is the natural process of learning to eat. Should solid food replace breast or formula milk? Not at all. Solid foods at six months are not meant to replace breast or formula milk but only complement it. It is the first step in introducing them to new textures and getting them used to experimenting, exploring and building on new experiences. Breast or formula milk remains the baby’s primary source of nutrition till about the end of the first year. Should I breast or formula feed before or after the solid food meal? This depends on the goal of breast and formula feeding. Usually, in the first year, the goal is to supplement breast or formula milk with solid food. In this condition, it is important to feed the child breast or formula milk an hour before the solid intake. This way ensures that the primary source of nutrition is the breast or formula milk and that the mother’s production of breast milk does not recede. Understand that the amount of breast or formula milk ideally remains the same and the increasing appetite of the child is satiated with the help of solid food on top of the breast or formula milk. How can I tell when the baby is full? Babies have their own way of communicating that they are full. They may turn their head away, bat at the spoon, refuse to open their mouth, is more interested in throwing away the spoon and the food as a way to play with it, or leans back in their chair. Look for the cues and you will soon understand their language and do things accordingly.

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