Biggest queries of all mothers who has child aged more then 6 months is what food items to start with and in what quantity.
Important Principles for Weaning:
- weaning should begin at 6 month of age
- Introduce one food at a time
- Energy density should exceed that of breast milk
- Bland taste, nothing very spicy.
- Food items should be mashed and free flowing, paste like, so that baby can swallow it easily.
- Common food which can be started as per Indian settings are Banana, glucose biscuits dissolved in milk, soojie kheer, dalia , Khicihdi, upma etc
- If cost is not an issue then formula milk is better than cows milk especially in less then 1 year of age as solute load is less and less chances of long term kidney problem in adulthood.
- If opting for cows milk or mother diary milk, give undiluted full cream or toned milk only.
- Many of us think that child might not be able to digest full cream or single toned milk ,so adds a bit of water, which is very wrong practice. eg if you have added water in 1:1 dilution of 500 ml milk i.e. 250 ml water in 250 ml milk. You will think that you have given 500 ml of milk to baby but actually you have given only 250 ml of milk. Rest 250 ml of water is only going to fill the stomach and will not give any calories, which will eventually lead to poor weight gain.
- Basically any food item that is free flowing , soft, cooked so as it is very soft (overcooked rather then under cooked), easy to swallow and calorie dense can be given under supervision with katori spoon.
Avoid bottle feeding, there is enough evidence to prove that babies who are bottle feed has increased incidence of loose motions, cough , cold, serious infection as compared to children who were katori spoon feed.
So if still choose to bottle feed your baby (which seems easier option then katori spoon), be mentally prepared that your hospital visits to your pediatrician will increase along with emergency visits to hospital.
Dr Rahul Varma