What should be the baby’s diet after completing six months of age?
Ideally, after the baby has completed six months of age, we should start with simple food – cereals like rice and oats in mashed form, mashed suji, boiled mashed potato or pumpkin, fruits like mashed banana, sapota etc. Initially, the baby should be made to taste the food two to three times a day, in spoonfuls, and the quantity should be gradually increased depending on how the baby takes it in. Since at this age the baby may not have started teething, the food given to the baby should be soft and mashed.
Can commercially prepared baby food be given to the baby?
We suggest that the baby is started on home cooked food and locally available fruits so that the baby accepts what is easily available at home. But some mothers may not have adequate knowledge of nutritional components like iron, iodine, vitamin, zinc, etc. and not know exactly what food is to be given or not given. In such cases, commercial baby food available in the market can be given to the baby. They are fortified with nutrients in the required quantities but cannot substitute the wholesome goodness of food prepared from fresh ingredients at home.
How many times should the mother breastfeed the baby after six months of age? And how should solid foods be introduced?
The baby should be breastfed about eight to twelve times in a day, at a gap of one and half hours or three hours, depending on the baby’s demand. Between six to eight months, the baby should be given complementary solid food along with breastfeeding. Eight months onwards solid food should be given three or four times a day and the quantity should be increased from two to three spoonfuls to about ¾ cup to 1 cup, per feed.
Can you explain the term weaning?
Weaning is the process of introducing complementary solid food while reducing the baby’s sole dependence on breast milk. Introducing complementary solid food means that you are still giving breast milk as per the baby’s feeding needs along with some solid food. Weaning has to be initiated after the baby completes six months of age, as prior to that the baby’s gut will be immature and cannot process solid food.