Top 10 Healthy Baby Weaning Foods
The experience of being a new mother is nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. But these memories are something that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.As a mother, you will have tons of dos and don’ts around the care of your tiny tot. The first and foremost thought- is your baby getting enough food required for his/her growth? Undoubtedly, your baby’s first food is mother’s milk, which remains the case for the first six months. After completing the milestone of six months, breast milk alone is not sufficient. Thus, it is time to introduce solid food to your baby and start weaning them off breast milk. Although the growth parameter differs for every child, there are certain signs to look for to know that your child needs to be introduced to solid food:
- Your child should be able to sit upright.
- Baby should be able to have a steady head control for a long period.
- Even after giving formula milk and breastfeeding your baby feels hungry.
- Your baby should readily open mouth to eat the food in pureed form.
- Cereals: Introduce cereals at the very beginning, when you start giving solid food to your baby. Always begin with cereals, preferably brown rice as it contains magnesium, Fibre, iron, and most importantly vitamin B. In addition to rice, you can give boiled and mashed pulses (moong dal) and raagi.
- Fresh Fruits: Fresh fruits contain essential nutrients and are full of natural sugar. To begin with, give your baby a mashed banana as it is soft and easy to swallow. For a smoother consistency, you could also add breast milk. After introducing bananas, you can gradually include apple, mashed papaya, and sapota. Furthermore, you can include fresh fruit juices like mosambi(sweet lime), watermelon, pomegranate, and orange which are rich in vitamin C and other nutrients. These juices help keep the baby hydrated.
- Milkshakes: Blend a milkshake with the fruits like mango, strawberry, papaya etc. The fresh fruit home-made milkshakes are best for your tiny tots.
- Green vegetables: Greens are an excellent source of iron and other essential minerals that can be introduced in blanched and mashed form. Spinach, peas, and beans can be given in boiled and mashed seasoned with ghee and a pinch of salt.
- Vegetables: After introducing cereals and fresh fruits, the next step is to introduce vegetables. They are essential for the baby’s growth as they have all the essential carbohydrates, nutrients and fats. You can begin with boiled and mashed sweet potatoes, beetroots, carrots, tomatoes, French beans, mixed with pulses, cereals, etc. Once your baby is comfortable with the taste of the vegetables, and you can cut a finger-sized carrot and introduce it in a form of salad. It can also act as a natural teether for your baby.
- Pulses: Pulses are full of protein and help in the baby’s bodybuilding activity. A small portion of dal combined with rice and a few vegetables seasoned with homemade ghee make it a complete nutritious meal. Dilute the consistency so that your baby can easily swallow. Also, introduce a small portion of multigrain mix chapatti dipped in dal.
- Soups: Start giving soups with pureed vegetables that will be a full meal for your toddler. Always start by making these soups with only one vegetable, e.g. pumpkin, spinach, peas, carrots, or tomato. If your baby is not allergic to any of the vegetables singularly, then move on to mixing vegetables like a tomato, carrot, peas, bottle gourd, etc. It is advisable to give plain soups and avoid any flavours or taste enhancers.
- Legumes: Another healthy meal option for your baby is boiled and mashed legumes with a little seasoning. Legumes are rich in proteins.
- Home-made food: Once the baby has adjusted to the above-mentioned foods, start introducing regular home-cooked foods like idli, dosa, chappati, curd rice dal, dalia vegetable stew. You should avoid salt and sugar until your baby completes 1 year.
- Fish, Meat, and Eggs: While you start with solid food, you could slowly introduce animal proteins like fish, meat and eggs. However, as per IAP recommendation, you should introduce it only after the completion of 1 year.