Weaning do's and don'ts

Pranab Kumar Chowdhury | Update:

Ideally, a mother should breastfeed her infant within an hour of the baby's birth.

Babies get almost all the necessary nutrients from breast milk until they are around 6 months old.

Introducing your baby to solid foods that is called weaning. This complementary feeding should start when the infant reaches six months of age.

Many often wonder when and how to start feeding solid food for the baby.

Here is everything one has to know about when to start, what to start with, and more:

* There are some significant developments in an infant's growth that appear after six months. That is why supplementary food is necessary along with breast milk as the baby now needs extra calories.

* A baby is ready to for solid food when it reaches double its birth rate. The baby then feels hungry every three hours.

* Many start giving their infant fruit juice. Fruit juice contain plenty of vitamin C that helps absorbing iron, but the quantity should not exceed more that 2 ounces as it can trouble the baby’s digestion. The quantity can be increased to 4 ounces gradually.

A baby can initially be weaned on khichuri (combination of rice and daal), bananas and other fruit, carrots and other vegetables, all softly cooked. It is better for eggs, milk and wheat-flour foods can be introduced a little later.

Every week not more than two new items should be added to the meal in order to discover which food the baby digests best.

* You can give solid food like whole grain meals, rice with daal, vegetables, fruits, fish and meat to the baby from six to nine months of age.

* The baby can be fed with cow's milk with vitamin D when he turns one year old.

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