When and how to start solid foods for babies is every new parent`s concern. Nothing gives more pleasure than watching your little ones growing up. Starting solids to little ones is an important milestone both for the parents and for the baby. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding until the baby reaches 6 months of age as it provides optimal health benefits.
In some parts of India, a ceremony is conducted known as Annaprashana where the baby is introduced to food for the first time and usually cooked rice is fed to the child. Starting food should be a gradual process and only single grain food like rice or suji should be fed first. Before introducing food to your baby I would recommend keeping these things ready with you.
Let us see what kind of food babies can have according to age/months.
6-8 months: Starting solid foods
Babies can start with single grain iron-fortified cereal apart from breast milk and of runny consistency to get a hang of swallowing it. You can add a little amount of breastmilk or formula milk. Once a routine has been established and they get a hang of it one can use less water or milk to make the consistency a little thick.
Vegetable purees made from carrot, pumpkin, broccoli are some of the best food one can give to their babies. Mashed and pureed fruits like banana, pears, and apple can be given. Remember not to give Apple in raw form. Always steam it first and then only fed the baby.
Later purees made from 2-3 vegetables like Carrot, Peas can be given. Don’t add salt or sugar, instead, natural sweeteners like Banana Powder or Palm Sugar can be given. You can also try other Organic Baby food items that are available in the market.
One can even introduce Finger foods or teething sticks at this age. I found teething sticks form Early foods to be helpful for my daughter. They are made from organic whole wheat breadsticks and travel friendly too. You can add more variety of food at this age. It can be either in puree form, mashed, or even small tiny chunks. Properly cook pureed meat and egg can also be fed to the baby. Remember breastfeeding or formula should be continued, and no cow`s milk to be introduced until the baby is 2 years of age.
After 12 months of age, the baby can start having whatever the rest of the family is eating but with less oil and spices. Always remember to maintain an ideal environment, away from distractions like mobile phones and tv screens.