Uptill 4-6 months, the only food which your baby needs is mother's breast milk.

Ideal age of starting solids
I recommend to start solids not before the child is 4 months of age. Try small amount in the beginning and then gradually increase the amount. You should be mentally prepared and relaxed about giving solids. Try various types of foods and always stay close to the baby whenever trying solids.

From 4-6 months, iron and other nutrients are needed in slightly more quantity. Therefore, the supplementary foods are added. You will receive hints from your child that supplementation is needed. These will come in the form of signs of hunger even after a feed and more frequent requests for feed.

Initially, giving the external feed may seem difficult as the child may take time to develop the taste for solids. None of us like change in our life, therefore, you must keep trying. If child vomits/spits out on one day, try again next day. Start with thin consistency of foods and then gradually thicken the consistency.

Following foods can be given after four months of age:
Fruits: Steamed Apple, Steamed Pear, Chickoo, Banana
Vegetables: Potato, Sweet Potato, Carrot (all of them boiled and mashed with a thin layer of butter/ghee)
Rice based cereal

Give 1 portion each of fruit, vegetable ad cereal daily spaced at 3 hourly intervals and give milk remaining 5 times in 24 hours.

After the age of 6 months there is a wide range of things you must give:
Fruits: Melons, Papaya
Vegetables: Tinda, Turai, Lowki, Pumpkin ( Boiled with a bit of ghee/butter added)
Cereals: Rice based, Upma, Halwa, Idli mashed with a bit of ghee, Biscuits.

You may give few sips of water after giving solids.

From 6-9 months onwards you can now add wheat based cereal (pastas, bread)

Homemade juices can also be given without adding sugar.

From 9-12 months onwards your baby should be learning to eat on a high chair.

You could add now things like cheese slices, cheese cubes, paneer, yogurt, eggs. Give plenty of fruits and vegetables and reduce the intake of milk to 3 times a day. If you are a vegan, you could try tofu.

Foods that are avoided till the child turns one

Salt should be avoided as kidneys find it difficult to cope with excess salt.

Excess sugar should also be avoided as it leads to sweet tooth and decay.

Honey should be avoided till the first birthday as there are chances of contamination by spores in the honey which can lead to serious life threatening illness known as botulism.

Nuts and seeds are also best avoided till the first birthday.

Commonly Asked Questions

Why and what type of juices should be started?

Juices contain natural sugars and are acidic, therefore, they are best avoided before the age of 6 months. Also they tend to fill the tummy with the few calories that they contain. Definitely avoid squashes, fizzy drinks, pjuice drinks, tea and coffee.

From close to 15 months, you can start giving cows milk. You can also give non-veg products. Start with clear chicken soup, then chicken, mutton and fish in this sequence. Serve meat and vegetable together so as to increase the absorption of iron.

Are jarred products good for my child?

Personally speaking, I prefer home made food. Jarred products can be reserved for travelling. One must remember before buying that it should be age appropriate and not expired.

My child has been diagnosed as Lactose intolerant, what are the options?

You may try soya milk which is available, although, I must say that 15% of lactose intolerant kids are also intolerant to soya. For such children, option left is protein hydrolysate which these days is freely available in India.

Doctor has diagnosed my child to have iron deficiency anemia, what diet would you recommend?

Foods rich in iron are apple, papaya, green vegetables, dates, gur (jaggery) but make sure that you are supplementing iron medicine as well.

My 9 months child still wants everything grinded, what should be done?

Actually you should be trying dalia or porridge consistency for child of 9 month age. Therefore, my recommendation would be to keep trying and don’t succumb to pressure tactics by child.

How should I be sterilizing the bottle?

Generally we don’t recommend bottle feeding for multitude of reasons including nipple confusion to many severe gastro-intestinal infections but if you still are using it, the bottle must be rolling boiled for 15 minutes. This means once water starts boiling, put the bottles in and measure 15 minutes. Nipple should be boiled for 3 minutes and should be changed every 2 months. You can also buy a sterilizer and follow the instructions.

My 5 year son has constipation, can you recommend a diet?

Constipation is one of the diseases which is treated by diet rather than medicines. The diet which contains more of fibres : Sweet corn, Sweet peas, mushroom, broccoli, green vegetables, apple, papaya, pomegranate, Carrot cucumber. Don’t give milk more than twice after the age of 2 years if you want to treat constipation.

When should I be giving skimmed milk(toned)?

You must start giving toned milk from the age of 2 years onwards.

Generally speaking what are the things to be avoided in toddler age group?

I would say don’t give water from outside which is neither bottled nor treated, raw eggs, whole nuts and extra salt/sugar.


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