Weaning Foods for Infants
Weaning is the introduction of supplementary foods to augment the energy and nutrient intake of the infant. Weaning is important as the baby needs extra nutrients that are not found in breast milk. During this phase breast feeding is continued and maintained till about 1 year of age. Supplementary foods are gradually introduced and increased in quantity whilst breast feeding is slowly withdrawn.
The process starts with omitting one breast feed and supplementing it with a chosen food in suitable quantity. Gradually the baby is given higher quantities of top-feeds and more frequently. This allows the mother to withdraw and eventually cease breast feeding smoothly. It is ideal to wean the child completely by 18 months of age.
4-6 months Carbohydrates e.g. Mashed banana, Wheat flour, porridge, ground rice 6-9 months Banana, mango, boiled egg yolk, Mashed vegetables, Chapati softened in milk, Green leafy vegetables
9-12 months Fruits, Chapati, Curd-rice, Vegetables, Egg (boiled/scrambled), Minced meat/fish.
- Liquid supplements.
Breast milk must be continued in this period of the 1st year of life. However, supplementation and substitution with certain liquids is recommended. Foods that can be used could be fruit juices like orange, and grapes. These would cater for mineral and vitamin requirement of the growing infant. Green leafy vegetable soups can be used as alternatives.
- Mashed solids.
Mashed solids like boiled and mashed potatoes with salt and ghee, cereal gruels like sweet dalia porridge, etc. must be introduced in the 7th month. These foods contribute to the energy required for the rapidly growing baby. Some mashed proteins can be added. These will add to the variety and protein content of diet.
- Mashed Vegetables.
Green leafy vegetables can be used as semisolid soups suitably garnished with salt and ghee.
- Boiled egg.
It is a very useful, nutritious and easy to cook foodstuff. One may start with egg yolk. Egg white can be introduced later. Initially a partially boiled egg can be given later on a boiled or poached egg is fed.
Well cooked, finely minced or ground meat or mashed. Fish can also be introduced at this time.
- Unmashed solid supplements.
When the baby starts cutting his teeth it is time to introduce chopped and solid foods. Chopped vegetables and minced meat of a coarser consistency can be used. Bit of potato, well cooked rice or dalia can also be given. A piece of toast, biscuits, banana, carrots can also be given for healthy teeth and gums. Fruit slices should be preferred to fruit juices now.
For lactating mothers, try to consider This diet.