Complementary feeding for your baby: When, how and what?
Feeding solids to your baby for the first time can be messy but your baby needs more than breast milk after 6 months. So, you might wonder how to make this easy for yourself and your little one. Here is all you need to know about complementary feeding for the complete growth of your baby.
When should you begin complementary feeding?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), babies should be introduced to solid foods after they can sit up and hold their heads upright on their own. This is usually around the age of 6 months. Other signs that indicate that your baby is ready for solid food is when he starts thrusting his tongue in and out or tries reaching out for food on a different plate.
Introducing solid food before the baby is ready can increase the chances of developing food allergies. So don’t hurry.
How to start complementary foods for infants?
When it comes to complementary foods for babies, mothers need to be careful about the baby’s age, the amount of solid food being fed and the texture of this food.
The best way to start complementary feeding is to eliminate one breastfeeding session. As you reduce the frequency of breastfeeding, introduce complementary food to ensure his nutritional needs are met. Between the age of 6 months and 8 months, you can feed your baby 2-3 times a day. As your baby grows older, this frequency can be increased.
What to feed your baby?
Baby cereal, mashed khichdi and rice cereal are ideal complementary feeding recipes for infants. Always introduce only one new solid food at a time. This gives the baby a chance to develop a taste for this food and also makes potential allergies easier to identify. Once your baby is comfortable with cereals, you can add boiled and mashed fruits and vegetables to his porridge.
Many babies reject new types of solid food. It can take a while for them to acquire a taste for it. Do not attempt to force-feed your baby. You should try feeding a new food at least 10-15 times over a period of a few days. If your baby still refuses to eat it, find a substitute. It is important to respect your baby’s choices so that he develops a good relationship with food.
Feeding a baby can be overwhelming so be sure to keep plenty of wipes and napkins handy. Stay relaxed to make mealtimes a happy affair.