The period when you introduce solid foods to your baby
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Baby food: 7-9 months
When your baby hits the seven-month mark, he gears up for some important physical milestones like sitting up, teething, etc. Providing the right kind of nourishment in this crucial growth period is very important for the baby. During this time, the baby receives the essential nutritional supplements from both the breast milk/formula milk and from solid food. Here are some helpful options for healthy food for a 7-month baby that you can include in your child’s diet: Best Foods for Seven Month Old Baby: After introducing a few solid foods to your baby at six months, you can slowly diversify the options and incorporate more variety in their food by the next month. Here are some interesting options for solid food for 7 month baby. Fruit Puree: Fruits are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Fruits like apple, chikoo, papaya, banana, watermelon, avocado, etc. are great options for a snack or a meal. Vegetables: Vegetables contain essential multi-vitamins and minerals. It can be given as a meal by steaming it and making a puree. Steamed vegetable wedges can also be given as an excellent snack. Porridge: Porridges made from single grain cereals make for a great nutritional supplement for babies. Cereals like rice, wheat, oats, barley, millets etc. can be processed and powdered to make a porridge mix. Meat Puree: Meat and chicken are high protein and carbohydrate foods that can be introduced to babies in the form of puree. Egg: Egg is a popular source of healthy fat and protein. It can be given to babies as bite-sized pieces after boiling it. Cheese: Cheese made from pasteurised milk is available widely in the market. It is a food rich in fat, protein and vitamins. Kichdi: Kichdi made out of rice, wheat or dal with mild spice and salt is a filling and nutritious meal for small babies. This also serves as their first taste of adult food. Keep these in mind while introducing the Solid Foods You can offer the three times a day meal to your baby. Food should be well cooked, soft and easy to digest. Solid intake will increase gradually. Once baby starts eating proper solid foods, his milk intake will reduce. Don’t expect your baby to consume the milk as before. Sometimes, your baby doesn’t like the new food. He may take few days to adapt the food changes. Your baby’s digestive system is still developing so sometimes, introducing the solid foods can disturb his bowel movements. Feed your baby when he is sitting in a proper position. Always refrain your baby from distractions like watching Tv, playing some rhymes or cartoon on mobile while feeding. Offer the finger foods to let your baby start eating by himself. Every child is different and every parent is unique so don’t compare your child’s food intake with other babies. Content source Featured image source
Is baby ready for solid foods? (Developmental signs of readiness)
What do the experts say? Health experts and breastfeeding experts agree that it’s best to wait until your baby is around six months old before offering solid foods. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and many other health organizations recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed (no cereal, juice or other foods) for the first 6 months of life. I’m not going into the many health benefits of delaying solids here; see When Should Baby Start Solids? for more information. Developmental signs that baby is ready for solids Solids readiness depends on both the maturity of baby’s digestive tract and baby’s developmental readiness for solids. Although the maturity of baby’s digestive system is not something that we can readily observe, research indicates that 6 months appears to be ideal for avoiding increased illness and other health risks of too-early solids. After this point, different babies are ready for solids at different times — developmental readiness for solids cannot be determined using a calendar. Most babies are developmentally ready for solids somewhere between 6 and 8 months. . Signs that indicate baby is developmentally ready for solids include: Baby can sit up well without support. Baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex and does not automatically push solids out of his mouth with his tongue. Baby is ready and willing to chew. Baby is developing a “pincer” grasp, where he picks up food or other objects between thumb and forefinger. Using the fingers and scraping the food into the palm of the hand (palmar grasp) does not substitute for pincer grasp development. Baby is eager to participate in mealtime and may try to grab food and put it in his mouth.
When can you start giving Finger Foods to your baby?
Any bite-size, easy-to-eat pieces of food that your baby can easily pick up and eat on his own can be described as finger food. Eating finger food is fun for your baby, and an important step towards independence that also helps him develop his fine motor skills and coordination. When you can introduce finger foods to your baby? When your baby is between 8 and 9 months old, she'll probably let you know that she's ready to start feeding herself by grabbing the spoon you're feeding her with or snatching food off your plate. How should you introduce finger foods to your baby? Simply scatter four or five pieces of finger food onto your baby's highchair tray or an unbreakable plate. You can add more pieces of food as your baby eats them. Feeding your baby in a highchair rather than in a car seat or stroller will reduce the risk of choking and teach him that a highchair is the place to eat. Which foods make the best finger foods? When choosing the best finger foods for baby—whether you’re starting at 6 months or 9 months—experts suggest that it’s best to begin with small pieces of soft food that dissolve easily. Your baby may have a good appetite, but she probably doesn't have many teeth, so start with foods that she can chew or that will dissolve easily in her mouth. As she grows into a toddler, you'll be able to give her bite-size pieces of whatever you're eating. Remember that your baby is learning about food's texture, color, and aroma as she feeds herself, so try to offer her a variety. Resist the temptation to give your baby sweets like cookies and cake or high-fat snacks like cheese puffs and chips. Your baby needs nutrient-rich foods now, not empty calories. Here's a list of finger food favourites: Small pieces of lightly toasted bread or bagels (spread with vegetable puree for extra vitamins) Small chunks of banana or other very ripe peeled and pitted fruit, like mango, plum, pear, peach, or seedless watermelon Well-cooked pasta spirals, cut into pieces Very small chunks of soft cheese Chopped hard-boiled egg Small pieces of well-cooked vegetables, like carrots, peas, potato, or sweet potato Small well-cooked broccoli or cauliflower "trees" Pea-size pieces of cooked chicken, ground beef or turkey, or other soft meat Content source Featured image source
When can you safely give your baby water to drink?
The first food of babies is liquid whether that’s breast milk or formula, and most babies don’t start solids until they are six months old. But you might be wondering: When can babies drink water? When Can Babies Drink Water? For babies 0-6 months: No supplemental water For babies 6-12 months: 59mL to 118mL of water maximum. Most breastfed babies don’t need supplemental water. Once you introduce solids you can introduce water. Formula-fed babies may need a little bit more water, but no more than 118mL. For babies and toddlers 1-3 years old: Many experts recommend 887mL to 1182mL of water. However, if you are still breastfeeding, this quantity is higher. You may talk to your pediatrician about the right quantity of water. Is It okay to give water to a newborn? Healthy babies do not need extra water. Breast milk, formula, or both provide all the fluids they need. Breast milk is made up of 88 percent water, and is sufficient to keep your baby well-hydrated. During the first few days of life, supplementation of any kind interferes with the normal frequency of breastfeeding. If the supplement is water or glucose water, the infant is at increased risk for increased excess weight loss, longer hospital stay, and potential water intoxication. The dangers of giving a newborn water So babies don’t need to drink water, but what’s the harm in it after those first few days? You may be surprised to learn that giving an infant too much water is actually detrimental. Here are the rare, but dangerous results of too much water: Dehydration: Because a young infant’s kidneys aren’t developed enough to process supplemental water. It can cause them to release excess sodium and water into the urine, which can affect brain activity and lead to dehydration. Malnutrition: Babies who are given water in place of breastmilk or formula fill their bellies up with non-nutritious fluid instead of the healthy calories they need. Too much water can cause your baby to not receive enough nourishment from nursing, and can contribute to low weight gain or failure to thrive. In breastfeeding babies, supplementing with water can also decrease a mother’s milk supply. Water intoxication: Too much water can be toxic to both breastfed and formula-fed newborns. This occurs when there’s an imbalance of sodium and electrolytes in the infant’s body. It can cause irritability, brain swelling, unresponsiveness, and even seizures. Content source Featured image source
Baby's Food Chart This Month: Quantity and routine
Finally, your baby has turned 6-months-old and your wait to feed him with solids is also over. Many mothers wait for this important moment eagerly when their little one can enjoy variety of foods and stimulate their taste buds. It is pure fun to watch how the expression on your little one’s face changes as he/she tastes new flavours. However, you also need to remember that at this age breast milk is still considered to be most important part of your baby’s diet. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding till 6 months of age, and breast milk to complement solids for the next year or more. Nutrient Requirements of 6 Months Old Infant: Here are the nutritional components in baby food for 6 months old: Calcium: Calcium in food is essential for their bone and teeth development. Iron: Iron helps carry oxygenated blood to all the developing parts of the body. Zinc: Zinc helps cell repair and growth. Fat: Fat insulates the baby and helps in brain development. Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy and fuels their day-to-day activities. Protein: These are a must for growth as they act as building blocks for cells. Vitamins: Different vitamins contribute to the growth of the baby differently, and almost all the vitamins including Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, D, E and K are essential to the baby. Minerals: Minerals like sodium and potassium directly influence the growth of the baby. Best Foods for Six-Month-Old Baby: Options for healthy food for six month old baby include the following given below: Fruits puree: Fruits can be steamed and mashed or pureed to be given as their first solid food. The popular fruits that are given as baby foods are apple, banana, pear, avocado, chikoo and peach. Vegetable puree: Vegetables such a sweet potato, potato, carrot, sweet pumpkin, french beans etc. can be steamed and given either as finger food or as a puree. Pulses Soup: Variety of pulses, especially dals can be boiled with water and the soup of the dal, which contains the nutrient extract of it, can be given as a source of proteins to babies. Rice porridge: Rice is a good source of carbohydrates and vitamins for babies. Broken rice can be given as porridge, made in breast milk or formula milk. Cereal porridge: Porridge can also be made from a variety of single grain cereals like wheat, millets, barley, oats, etc. in breast milk or formula milk. These cereals can be dried and powdered together or separately, to make a mix for the gruel. Vegetable soup: A variety of vegetables can be boiled in water, and the stock can be used for making soup. Yoghurt: Although cow’s milk is not allowed until the age of one for babies, unsweetened yoghurt can be given in moderate amount as an alternative to purees. Content source Featred image source
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
Baby food chart and recipes: From 6th month onwards
As your baby completes 6 months, it is time to start the solid foods or semi-solid foods. So far she would have gained all her essential nutrients from mother’s feed or formula feed. It is a big milestone for her as now she can taste and enjoy the solid foods and relish them. Now you can also introduce water as well to your baby as it is also introduced at 6 months. 6 Month Old Baby Food Chart/Meal Plan You can prepare a meal plan or a chart for your baby’s food routine and follow it as much as possible to incorporate a variety of healthy options. You can use the chart below to design your own 6 month baby food schedule according to your baby’s food preference: Day of the week Breakfast Lunch Dinner Monday Breast milk/formula milk Apple puree Nap time Vegetable soup Breast milk/formula milk Rice porridge Breast milk/formula milk before nap time Tuesday Carrot puree Any fruit puree cereal gruel Wednesday Rice porridge Sweet potato puree fruit puree Thursday Ragi porridge Mashed banana stewed apple Friday Stewed apple with cinnamon dal water suji kheer Food Recipes for 6 Months Old Baby Here are some interesting baby food recipes for 6 months old that are a blend of different tastes and flavours for your baby to try and explore. 1. Apple Stew with Cinnamon Ingredients: Apple Water Cinnamon powder How to prepare: Cook the peeled and diced apple slices, in boiling water. Alternatively, you can also cook the apple for two to three whistles in a pressure cooker. Take the steamed apples and mash it in a blender or a mixer jar. You can also forcefully sieve it through a filter with slightly bigger holes. To this apple stew, add a pinch or less of cinnamon powder and mix well. 2. Mango Puree Ingredients: Mango How to prepare: Peel and cut out the pulp of the mango Blend the pulp into a coarse paste in a mixer jar or a blender or sieve it forcefully through a filter. The fruit has a natural sweetness to it, and it can serve as such without any additional flavouring agent. 3. Oatmeal Ingredients: Oats powdered Water Breastmilk or formula milk Banana How to prepare: In a pan, boil the 2 cups of water Once the water reaches boiling, add a cup of powdered oats slowly to the water and stir continuously without lumps Once the oats are cooked well, add 2 tablespoons of milk. You can add banana paste to give flavour to the dish. 4. Sweet Pumpkin Puree Ingredients: Sweet pumpkin Water How to prepare: Deseed a small pumpkin and peel off the skin. Dice it into small cubes. Boil water (2 cups) after which you can add the pumpkin. Cover the lid to cook it well for a few minutes. Mash or blend the cooked pumpkin to a fine paste and feed. The natural sweetness of the vegetable gives a good taste to the dish. Content source Featured image source
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.