Oct 12, 2012

Starting Solid food for your baby

            My pediatrician advised me to breastfeed Neil till he was six months old. I didn't even feed him water till then. Initial breastmilk is watery and satisfies the babies thirst and later the breastmilk gets thicker and satisfies his hunger. So it is advised to let the baby drain out one breast before switching over to the other, else the baby might just get watery breastmilk and wont satiate his hunger. I introduced Neil to solid food when he was six months old, after his first Annaprashna ceremony, wherein he was fed some mashed rice sitting on his mama's lap.  Introducing your baby to solid food is an exciting experience both for the baby as well as parents.   

You will know your baby is ready for solids when he or she can:
  • Sit supported with good head and neck control
  • Open his or her mouth when seeing a spoon
  • Remove food from a spoon with lips and tongue
  • Move food from front to back of tongue to swallow
  • Use jaw control to munch up and down
  • Use his or her whole hand to grasp objects 
  • The baby is interested in your food and tries to grab your plate.
                     It is best to introduce foods one at a time, waiting at least a few days to a week in between new foods, so that you know which food is causing trouble to your baby. Dont give that food for couple of weeks and try again later.

Here are some recipes which you can try to introduce:
  A) Rice Soup:
You can also give cooled rice water, i.e. water in which rice has been boiled. This is a little but not too starchy and a light first food for your baby. boil 2 cups of water with 2 tbsp of rice (ambe mohar/ basmati) and cook till the rice is soft. Strain the water and feed 1 cup of rice soup to your child

  B) Moong dal Soup:
It is the water in which pulses have been boiled. Usually green gram (moong dal) is given to babies first as it is the easiest to digest.Add a pinch of turmeric, asafoetia and 2 tsp of washed moong dal to 1 1/2 cup of water. Boil and cook till the dal is cooked. Strain and feed the baby.

 C) Rice Porridge:
    Wash and dry 500gms of  Ambemohar/ Basamati rice and grind to a fine powder. use a sieve and discard and large pieces of rice. the powder should very fine.Store thios powder in an airtight box.
    When you want to make rice porridge add 1 tsp of rice to 1 cup of water and cook while stirring continuously with whisk. This ensures no lumps are formed in the porridge. Once the porridge is cooked, add some amount of your breast milk/ formula milk to make a very runny mixture and feed the baby with spoon.

  D) Banana
Banana can be simply mashed very well to a paste and mixed with a little milk or water to make runny and given to baby. To make sure there are no chunks, pass through a strainer.

  E) Khimat:
Wash and dry 3 cups of Ambemohar/ basamati rice. Dry roast the dried rice and 1 cup of greem gram/ moong dal and 2 tsp of cumin/ jeera. Then grind it to fine powder.
 When you need to make Khimat, add half a pinch of turmeric and asafoetida/hing to 1 cup water and 1 tbsp of khimat powder. cook on stovetop on medium heat, stirring continuously with whisk. add more water if desired. Serve warm, drizzled with some ghee/ clarified butter.

   F)Boiled potatoes and apples
Boil potatoes and eating apples in their skins and then scoop out the cooked flesh for the puree. Push the cooked food through a sieve or blend in a small blender. Mix the food with some of the cooking water or some breast or formula milk to get a smooth texture

  G)Steamed Vegetable purees:
Once the baby is adjusted to rice and bananas, its time to introduce vegetables. It’s easy to make your own baby foods by cooking and pureeing food. The vegetables are pumpkin, carrots, potatoes, green peas, sweet potatoes, bottle gourd/lauki/ doodhi.  Peel the skin from vegetables and steam or cook in a little boiling water to keep as many vitamins as possible.Don’t add salt. Once the vegetable are cooked and soft push the cooked food through a sieve or blend in a small blender. Mix the food with some of the cooking water or some breast or formula milk to get a smooth texture. As he gets used to ‘solids’ you can gradually make the puree less runny and then mash instead of sieve the food
Babies only need very small amounts to begin with, but you can freeze teaspoons of puree in ice cube trays and just defrost enough for one meal at a time. you could start off with once vegetable puree at a time and later on add some bottle gourd + pumpkin + carrots + potatoes and puree into thick mix.

H) Water
After Neil was six months old , I introduced him to water. I used to boil 2 liters of water in a large vessel with 1 coin of 1 gm gold and 1 coin of 1 gm silver and boil till it was reduced to say 1.5 litres of water. I used this water in his bottle as well as for cooking for him.

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