As the child transits from breastfeeding to baby food and from baby food to table food he not only tries to recognies the new food by colour and texture but the taste also. These changes can surprise or even annoy him at times. The parents need to tackle the baby with patience at this time.
The First Six Months
1. Start breast-feeding as soon as possible after birth and continue as long as you wish. Breast-feeding has proven to be beneficial for babies even if it is only for a short time.
2. Use a commercially prepared, iron-fortified infant formula until 4-6 months of age as a second choice if breast-feeding is not chosen, or is discontinued. You can continue to give follow-on milk formula from 4-6 months till 12-18 months.
3. Semi-solids should not be introduced earlier than 4 months of age. Take 2 months as a learning time for your baby. Eating semi-solids should be established by 6 months.
4. To detect for any food allergies, introduce solid foods one at a time. If the various types of food are tolerated well, then you can begin to mix the food.
5. Iron may need to be supplemented by about the fourth to the sixth month. Solid foods and juices should be given for more balanced nutrition. Iron-fortified infant formula/cereal (rice) is recommended for the child along with other things.
The Second Six Months
· Do continue to breastfeed or formula feed. Full cream cow’s milk may be given from the second year of life.
· Try to introduce pureed or mashed foods, either homemade or commercially prepared.
· Textured and chunkier foods that are soft and which will not choke the baby are preferred as he can’t chew much. Chewing is an acquired skill – if children do not have the opportunity to learn how to chew, they may have trouble later in accepting all but pureed foods.
· To increase the source of protein in addition to that of breast milk or formula, add fish, poultry, white egg, and curd to baby’s diet. This will support the fast rate of growth.
· A wide variety of foods should be gently introduced, such as milk products, grain products, meat and alternatives and fruit and vegetables.
· Do not force your baby to eat more than he wants.
· You should not add salt or sugar to any baby food.
· Give fruit juices only during meal times.