Until the first six months of life breast milk provides all the essential nutrients that a baby requires for healthy development. But after the first six months, your baby's needs are no longer met entirely by breast milk.
Solid food should be introduced to the baby generally by the age of six months. This is known as ‘Weaning’ the baby. Weaning, is the process of transition from a purely milk based dietary intake of the child to a semi solid diet.
Which foods to begin with?
Babies can be weaned with a variety of foods but it is best to begin with those foods which are least allergic. It is always advisable to begin with such food and slowly move up to the heavier proteins.
Following tips will prove to be helpful to decide which foods to begin with while weaning-
You can puree boiled vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, bottle gourd, sweet potato and potato. It is not necessary to add milk, sugar or salt to these preparations.
You can also introduce fruit purees to the baby. Mashed banana, apple, pear, sweet lime, muskmelon can be given to the baby. Avoid strong citrus fruits like oranges, berries, cherries, pomegranate as they are acidic for the delicate stomach lining of the child.
The lightest food one can introduce is boiled and mashed brown rice. Avoid using semolina (suji) because it is refined food. It is also contains gluten which may be allergic in some babies.
The next step can be to introduce boiled pulses like green gram. Initially it is best to avoid the heavier pulses like bengal gram.
For babies who have allergies or who have a family history of asthma and skin allergies, it is best to start certain foods only after 1 year of age. These foods include honey, wheat, oat, animal and dairy products, peanuts, soy and heavier dals.
Processed food and canned food should be avoided completely.