From the time babies are born, their main source of nutrition is usually breast milk. Experts recommend that babies be breastfed exclusively for about 6 months. After this period, they are usually introduced to other foods. These foods supplement breast milk which at some point is often not enough to satisfy the baby.
New foods need to be introduced carefully to ensure that the baby is ready and can tolerate it. Below are some foods you can gradually introduce to your baby.
- First foods
For your baby who is over 6 months old and just beginning to be weaned, food has to be soft and easy to eat. Common first foods are usually mashed or soft cooked and include potatoes, yams, carrots, sweet potatoes and vegetables and fruits such as apples, peaches, melons and pears. Rice cereals are also a good food to start your baby on. Even while first foods are being introduced, the baby can continue to be breastfed until both mother and baby are fine with stopping.
- Finger foods
These are foods cut into smaller pieces that the baby can comfortably hold with their fist leaving a small part sticking out. They can also be cut into the size of your fingers. Examples of finger foods include avocado and ripe bananas cuts in sizes that the baby can grab.
- Next foods
When the baby is used to the first and finger foods, you can give him other foods that have been cooked until they soft. These include chicken, mashed fish, pasta, and small pieces of chapatti, mashed hard-boiled eggs, toast and lentils. You should however avoid giving the baby foods that are very sugary. You can add more nutrients for your baby by cooking with whole cow’s milk once the baby is over 6 month.
Once the baby is above 8 months of age, he can be given 3 meals per day on a diet that is well balanced; containing foods such as eggs, beans, starchy foods like potatoes, pasta and rice, meat and fish. It should also contain milk and other dairy products. These foods can be chopped, mashed, finger foods or generally soft food. Once he is 1 year old, he can have a wider variety of food such as fruits and vegetable sticks that are a healthier snack. At this age, they can also take whole cow’s milk.
If your baby is over 12 months old you can feed him your 3 or four servings of starchy foods, fruits and vegetables, and 2 serving of plant or animal protein.
- Vitamin supplements
Babies can get vitamins from the food they eat especially fruits and vegetable. This may however not be enough for their developing bodies. Babies can be given vitamin supplements in form of drops that contain vitamin D, A and C. this should be done from the time the baby is aged 6 months and over. The vitamin drops are especially necessary for those babies whose mothers didn’t take the vitamin d supplements. For such babies, a doctor may recommend that that they be given vitamin drops from one month after birth. For babies going to our Quincy Preschool Day Care its good to accompany these foods with them.
Information on this website is not medical or dental advice, its for general information only. For more accurate medical and dental information please contact your pediatrician and dentist.