Infants in our country thrive mainly on
breast milk upto six months of age and have a satisfactory growth rate during this period.
But, breastmilk alone is not able to provide sufficient amounts of all the nutrients
needed to maintain growth after six months. Increased needs of calories and protein of
growing children cannot be met by the mothers milk.
Milk is a poor source of vitamin C and its
supplementation through the diet is essential. Iron stores in the liver of the infant
would last only upto 4-6 months. Hence iron rich foods should be given from six months
onwards. Milk is also deficient in vitamin D. If the baby is to maintain the expected rate
of growth and remain healthy and well nourished, supplementary feeding has to be resorted
to at six months.
This is the task we are happily performing
by telling you how to make food sufficient, attractive, appealing and acceptable to your
little darling. You are invited to send in your experiences about weaning foods and
practices helping other mothers like you.
OF WEANING FOODS
What are the desirable qualities of Additional
Breast milk is the only
"standard" food for the infant. At the onset, with the infant still
predominantly breast-fed, weaning foods are used as an additional source of energy as well
as to satisfy the increasing requirements for all essential nutrients. Particular
attention should be paid to proteins, iron, vitamin A and C, as these are frequently found
to be deficient in the diet of young infants.
Keep in mind that you are feeding an infant
with a small stomach capacity that has been used to liquid/semisolid diet only.
Desirable Qualities of Weaning (Additional)
- Should have high energy content
- Should be easy to digest
- Should be semi-solid to mashed in consistency
- Should not be too thick
- Should be fresh and clean
- Should not be expensive and should be easy to prepare
GUIDELINES DURING WEANING
Stomach capacity has never been
given much importance while telling a mother how to feed her baby. This results in mothers
either force feeding or getting unnecessarily worried about baby not taking enough.
The stomach capacity (6 9 months):
130 190 ml (26 38 tsp.)
We offer few guidelines to help you wean
your darling child better:
What points should be considered
while feeding weaning foods?
- Introduce only one food at a time to permit the infant to get used to it.
- Allow the infant to become familiar with the food before trying to give another.
- Give very small amounts of any new food at the beginning, 1-4 tsp.
- If, after several trials, that baby has an acute dislike for a food, omit that item for
a week or two and then try again. If the dislike persists it is better to forget about the
food for a while and substitute another.
- Food should be only slightly seasoned.
- Child should be encouraged to try new flavors.
- Infants may object to taking some foods by themselves but will take them willingly if
when one mixed with another, e.g. egg may be mixed with formula, cereal or vegetable.
Vegetables may sometimes be made accustomed to the new flavor.
- Variety in choice of foods is important.
- The mother or anyone feeding the infant must be careful to avoid showing in any way a
dislike for a food that is being given.
- A babys appetite varies a lot from meal to meal and day to day. During hot weather
suffering from cold the childs appetite may be less.
- The quantity of each feed should be increased as the number decreases.
Supplementary feeding at 6 months:
- Encourage gradual progression to 3 4 meals/day.
- Continue breastfeeding along with cows milk.
- By 6 months, lumpy foods should be introduced.
- Consistency gradually changes to mashed foods.
- By 6 7 months: add salt to cooked food.
- Sugar in the form of honey, syrup, juices and jams should be controlled as harmful to