Up to six months of age, babies should be fed only on breast milk. However, after six months, you can introduce your baby gradually to solid diet. As your baby grows, breast milk might fail to give all the nutrients the infant needs for healthy development. The process of gradually introducing your baby to solid diet is known as weaning.
Pediatricians recommend that infants should not be given any form of solid food up to 20 weeks. If moms feel that they could not provide adequate breast milk to the child, they should consult their doctor before giving the child solid diet. Nonetheless, the change in diet should be a slow and gradual process. This reduces the risk of food allergies in infants.
Baby’s first food
Since your baby was used only to breast milk since birth, he/she might not be prepared to accept new flavors. Moreover, your child is learning for the first time to swallow a solid food. Therefore, caution should be taken to prepare food that is near fluid and has a bland taste. The first food of your baby could be rice mixed with milk. To give your baby the necessary nutrients, add pureed vegetables and fruits to the mashed rice. The vegetables and fruits that you give your baby up to nine months of age should be pureed. Introduce mashed fruits and vegetables, only when your child is comfortable to spoon-feeding. Pureed carrot, sweet potatoes and squash are common vegetables that could be added to rice. You can also give your baby boiled pureed apples, pureed banana, mango and ripe papaya puree.
However, it is advisable that when you start weaning your baby, introduce one vegetable and fruit at a time. Once you realize that your child is not allergic to these vegetables and fruits, you can mix them together and feed your child.
After your child becomes comfortable with rice, vegetables and fruits introduce him to protein diet. You can feed him boiled and pureed lean meats. Give him mashed beans and lentils, mixed with rice. After your baby is nine months, you can give him minced meat, fish and boiled eggs.
Do not add seasonings, salt and sugar to your child’s food until he/she is one year old.