As the infant starts growing, its nutrition requirement too increases. Thus, it requires foods other than breast milk. The process of introducing complementary foods (that have high amount of nutrition) to the infant is known as weaning. After four or six months of age, the infant can be introduced to liquid supplements. Seventh month onwards, the infant can be fed with mashed solid foods.
a) Liquid Supplements that can be fed include:
- Soups made from green leafy vegetables. Ensure that the soup has been strained.
- Fresh fruit juices from tomato, orange, sweet-lime, grapes etc.
- Cod-liver oil or fish liver oil, which is a rich source of vitamin A & D. Mix half a teaspoon in milk, and give it to the infant.
b) Solid Supplements:
Introducing solid supplements to infants can be further divided into mashed foods and unmashed foods. Mashed food can be started around seventh or eighth month.
- Cereals and other starchy foods, which are smooth and easy to digest.
- Boiled and mashed vegetables like potato, green leafy vegetables, carrots, cabbage etc.
- Pulses in the form of porridge or khichdi
- Preferably all fruits
Points to be remembered at the time to weaning:
- Begin with one food at a time and small quantity.
- Ensure that the food is freshly made.
- As far as possible, the food should have a very thin consistency.
- The food should be high in nutrition.
Problems you may face during weaning:
- Large quantities of feeding can result into obesity.
- Some infants may be allergic to wheat, milk, eggs or citrus juices.
- The infant may often resist or refuse to take a new food.
As the infant grows up, it tends to use a lot of energy in babbling, crawling and learning to walk. At this point in time, it requires adequate quantity and quality of food, which will provide maximum nutrition to the body. This is the right time to introduce soft and lumpy food like chapati, rice, idli, dal, boiled and unmashed vegetables.