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Diet for Infants - First Foods for your Baby
What do you feed an infant?
For a first time mother the question is a major headache. You read books that tell you all kinds of conflicting things.
One tells you to feed the child fruit puree at 3 months while the other says not to give the infant anything but mother's milk for the first full year.
The pediatricians are also no help with each one contradicting the advice of the other. and then you begin to wonder just what do you feed an infant or do you feed them at all?
Here I'd like to say listen to all the advice you can get but do what you feel is right for your child and yourself.
I remember being advised to only give the child mother's milk for six months, not even water was allowed. And this in the middle of the Indian summer!
Naturally I made sure that my infant baby got his fix of boiled and filtered water or else I would have seen him dehydrated!
So here I give you basic ideas of what a child can be fed at different stages during the first one year of his life. Believe me not having all their teeth is not going to stop the kid from eating what he likes.
And ideally by the time the child turns one he should be able to eat all that a normal adult eats for a regular meal, only in limited quantity. So while you can expect him to eat rice and vegetables don't expect him to eat more than three spoons of it.
A quick glance at infant food in the first year
At 3- 4 months
At 5 months
At 6-7 months
At 9 months
1 teaspoon of fresh fruit juice
2 teaspoons of Suji
1 tablespoon of mashed potatoes
Few bites of the thin top part of a roti
(use apple, orange, pomegranate, etc)
2 teaspoons of Kheer
1 tablespoon of mashed egg yolk
Few bites of idli or dosa
1 teaspoon of well blended curd
2 teaspoons of Custard
1 tablespoon of khichdi
Few bites of cheese
1 teaspoon of clear vegetable soup
2 teaspoons of daal water
1 tablespoon of dalia
Few bites of fried potato fingers
1 tablespoon of boiled vegetable puree
Few bites of rice and daal
(use lauki, kaddu, tondli, etc)
Meat is difficult for the infants to digest so try not to introduce it before the first year is up. You can always give the child clear chicken soup if you want him to get used to the flavor.
Also a number of people add extra Ghee or Malai into baby food in India. Not a good idea. You are getting the child used to a very fat rich food taste which may lead to obesity at a later stage. So stick to healthy food with your infant.
5 Tips for making baby food
1. You can puree and keep boiled vegetables and fruits in the freezer. A friend of mine used to store the puree in ice cube trays. That way she would just defrost one cube or two per meal and not have to start from scratch for the puree each day.
2. Start with vegetable puree rather than fruit. Once the child gets used to the sweeter taste of the fruit puree it is very difficult to interest him in the vegetables puree. While eating fruit puree later just goes faster.
3.Try not to add salt to the infant food initially for the first six months. And remember that babies have double the number of taste buds we adults do, so even a little salt or sugar goes a long way with them.
4.Give them different textured food to taste. Even if the child does not eat it and spits it back out you must give them the taste of a wide variety of foods. Just a spoonful is needed. Don't be discouraged if it comes right back out again!
5. Try to introduce basic spices that are used in the family cooking to your child after the age of six. A pinch of oregano, or black pepper can make a world of a difference in the way infant food tastes.
Think like a Cave Woman
In the end I'd just like to say that when you are wondering about any advice you have been given give it the Cave Woman test. Just ask yourself if you were a cave woman and someone asked you to do this same thing, would you do it?
In most cases the problem has a way of resolving itself the minute you ask this question. If it was okay for a cave woman to do with her baby, it is probably okay for you to do with yours. if you have a doubt, its probably best not to do it!