9 FAQs that you must read to feed your baby better
As an infant grows, their nutritional needs also increase. In the first 6 months, a baby needs just around 500 Kcal per day. However, this calorie intake increases to about 1060 Kcal per day by the time the baby reaches the age of 1 to 3 years. An infant’s health and development depends largely on baby food quantity and quality. Hence, for infants to develop to their full potential, they must get adequate nutrition.
Here is a set of FAQs which will help answer any questions you might have regarding your baby’s meal schedule.
- When can you introduce solid foods in your baby’s diet?
Babies can be introduced to solid foods when they are about 6 months old. You need to remember that the foods being introduced at this stage should have a creamy consistency. Blended or pureed foods are ideal. These are easy to digest and train your baby to swallow. Do not worry too much about following a generic schedule for introducing solids. Every baby has different flavor preferences and will take to solid foods in their own time.
- My baby is not eating solid foods. What should I do?
Ideally, you should not introduce new foods to your baby when he or she is very hungry. It may be better to breastfeed your baby a little before introducing any food. Your baby is more likely to be willing to try something new when he or she is not very hungry. Use a small, narrow spoon that fits into your baby’s mouth. If your baby pushes the spoon away, do not force-feed. Instead, wait and try again after a few days.
- How much solid food should you feed a 6- month-old baby?
The quantity of food for a 6-month baby may initially be just around 1/2 to 1 tablespoon at a time. For a while, after you introduce solid foods, you may need to complement this new diet with breastfeeding. Let your baby decide how much he or she wants to eat at each sitting.
- What can you feed a 6-month-old baby?
What you feed your baby is more important than how much solid food you can feed. To begin, you could boil foods like fruits, rice, pulses, oats, and vegetables and then blend them into a smooth puree. The puree should not be watery.
Once your baby can swallow these purees easily, you can start introducing more textural foods that require slight chewing. Khichdi and dalia are ideal foods at this stage.
When your baby starts enjoying solid foods, you can add foods with vitamins and minerals to his or her diet.
- How can you introduce different foods to your baby?
Do not introduce more than one thing at a time. This allows you to ensure that your baby is not allergic to any particular food and helps your baby develop different flavor profiles. Also, do not add any seasoning to the baby’s food until he or she is at least 12 months old.
Once your baby has accepted a few different flavors, you can try mixing and matching them to create something different each day.
- What are the common signs of food allergies?
Some signs of allergic reactions you should watch out for include rashes, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Why do babies need foods with added vitamins and minerals?
Foods with added vitamins and minerals help bridge the gap between the infant’s nutritional needs and the nutrition being provided by solid foods. In particular, these foods are enriched with iron, needed for healthy growth and development.
- What nutrients does your baby need?
Different nutrients play different roles in your baby’s growth. Protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and Vitamin D are essential for his or her healthy growth and development. Essential fatty acids like LA, ALA, DHA and Omega 3 along with vitamin A, iron, iodine, and folic acid play an important role in brain and vision development. Zinc and vitamins A, C, and E are important for your baby’s immune system. Also, prebiotics and probiotics help develop the digestive system.
- How much weight should babies gain in the first year?
A baby’s nutritional needs are very different from that of an adult. Though their stomachs are as small as their fists, their nutritional needs are 10 times that of an adult, based on per kg of body weight. By the time a baby is 6 months old, his or her weight should be double the birth weight. By the first birthday, your baby’s weight should be three times of his or her birth weight. Thus, it is important to feed your baby nutrient-dense foods.
The initial years of a child’s life are vital for his or her growth and development. What he or she eats at that time affects his or her health in the subsequent years. Therefore, it is extremely important to choose the food and its quantity wisely and fulfill the baby’s nutritional needs.