Baby Food Chart And Feeding Guidelines For Your Baby’s First Year
The moment a woman realizes she is pregnant, the first thought she probably has is” Oh My God”. The fact of bringing a new life into the world is a nerve-wracking thought. For a new mom, no doubt motherhood is a happy and exciting phase but at the same time, she has several fears and anxiety related to the child’s upbringing. And one such area is your child’s eating habits, food pattern and subsequent health. None the less, these days parents are well educated and informed about the importance of introducing a healthy diet in your child’s initial growth stages. It is very crucial to provide your baby with a balanced diet with all adequate nutrients. And to make your task simple we present to you a detailed baby food chart that you can follow between 6 months to 1 year of your child’s growth.
Being a mother myself, I can’t stress enough on how handy and useful a good baby food chart can be. Right from the moment I delivered my baby, I started receiving advice from every corner. And believe me, there can be nothing more confusing than that. So I decided to do my own research and opt for the best and feasible
for my baby.
The idea is to slowly introduce different food groups and taste one-by-one such that the baby’s diet requirements are met.
Therefore, through this blog, the intention is to help all the new and would-be-mothers to let go of their apprehension about baby food.
One To Five Months Old
When the baby is inside the womb, it develops a strong bond with its mother. The baby gets all the vital nutrients for its growth inside the womb via his mother. During this phase, the baby tends to develop the taste depending on the mother’s food intake.
In the first six months at least, exclusive breastfeeding is the best way to meet the baby’s nutrient requirements. Breastfeeding has long-lasting benefits for both, the mother and child. Breastmilk has several potent ingredients like antibodies, white blood cells, hormones, probiotics, carbohydrates known as oligosaccharides that improve the digestive system, immunity building proteins namely cytokines etc. Keeping the health benefits of breastmilk aside, it is also available on-demand as per your baby’s needs!
However, under circumstances when a mother cannot breastfeed at all or the feed is not enough for the baby, formula milk is the second-best alternative. Formula milk helps to compensate for the need for milk. There are various kinds of formula milk available in the market. So, chose the one that suits your baby and prescribed by the baby’s pediatric.
Avoid introducing any solid or semi-solid foods t developed o the baby in this stage. The baby’s digestive system is not developed enough to ingest and digest them. Hence, it is advisable to only feed breastfeed or formula milk to your little one.
Six To Eight Months Old
Once your baby is six months old, it is the optimal time to introduce foods other than breast milk in your baby’s diet. You can start with small portions of fruit or vegetable purees. Apple, banana, carrot, pumpkin, beetroot etc are good to start with. Also, you can introduce a soft thin paste of boiled rice and lentils, vegetable or lentil soup etc.
As the baby gets a little older about seven months or more their ability to swallow gets stronger, so semi solid-foods can be fed. Rice porridge, apple semolina kheer, finger millet (ragi) porridge, ragi apple halwa, semolina upma with veggies, mashed rice khichdi, mashed potatoes and peas etc are some of the options.
Seasonal fruits such as apple, banana, orange, strawberry, grape, custard apple etc packed with natural nutrients and are best for the body for that particular season. Also, they bring different flavours like sweet, tangy, sour etc. with them. sometimes it is tricky to feed fruits as it is to the babies so you may have to mix it with other food items such that the food’s texture and consistency are suitable for a baby’s intake. For example, apple and date puree or custard apple and chenna/cottage cheese puree make a healthy and tasty combination.
Along with feeding these foods, do not forget to breastfeed your child. The baby’s milk intake will gradually decrease and accordingly follow the above baby food chart.
Nine To Eleven Months
Once the baby is nine months old, along with the above-mentioned diet other foods can be introduced. Oats, amaranth (rajgira), barley, wheat, buckwheat, broken wheat (dalia), yellow split gram( moong dal), seedless dates, litchi, etc. You can also introduce egg yolk, homemade ghee, curd, tofu, paneer, butter and pasteurized cheese. It is also advisable to introduce your baby to mild spices that you generally use for your cooking. Spices such as fennel seed( saunf), asafoetida (hing), carom seeds (ajwain), cumin seeds (jeera), cinnamon (dalchinni), turmeric (haldi) etc.
The baby is now capable to nibble and swallow so you can slowly move from mashed and pureed foods to small food pieces.
One Year Old And Above
At this age, babies have relatively stronger gums and may also have a few teeth. Hence, they have a better ability to chew and swallow solid foods. Hence, you can start feeding them normal food like dal-rice, khichadi, chapati etc.
However, there are certain foods which are still not fit for a 12 months old baby. For example, honey, sugar and salt, egg whites, high mercury fish, whole nuts among others.
Feeding Guidelines For Your Baby
- A prominent piece of suggestion is DO NOT push yourself and the baby too hard on anything. In other words, being very positive and pacific from the mind, everything falls into place while bringing up the little one. Especially if you are a new mother do not be afraid of making mistakes all the time. Remember, it’s a new experience for both you and your baby!
- Do not feed solid food to your baby before it is at least 4 months old unless your paediatrician advises you to do so.
- Gradually increase the number of solid/semi-solid meals in your baby’s diet. Ideally, n infant between 6–8 months of age needs at least 2-3 meals per day and between 9-12 months needs 3–4 meals per day in addition to breast/formula milk.
- After introducing any new food item, do not introduce another new food item for at least 2-3 days
- When you start semi-solid and solid foods, regularly check how your baby’s digestive system is taking this new change. For instance, sometimes they may have loose motions or constipation. These foods are completely new to them and it may take some time for their body to adapt to this change. Being patient is the key.
- Do not use salt or sugar in your baby’s food. Hence, it is better to avoid canned foods that contain large amounts of salt and sugar.
- Always feed your baby with a spoon and avoid using an infant feeder. Only milk, formula and water should be fed using a bottle.
- Honey can cause infant botulism. Hence, it must be avoided until the baby is 1 year old at least.
- Force-feeding is not a good habit and will not help in the long run. Your child may get the impression that he/she has to eat just because the food is there, not because they are hungry. Your baby’s appetite is very small in the first year so opt for small and frequent portions.
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No doubt bringing up your little one is an intricate process. But with a little care of the baby’s growth requirements, this process becomes beautiful for both the baby and mother.
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