FOODS YOUR BABY SHOULD BE EATING NOW: 6 – 18 MONTHS
A little child’s food needs are different from that of an adult. Children under 5 need more fat, calories and nutrients as for fuel for their growth.
From 0-6 months a baby thrives on breast milk or cow’s milk modified to resemble human breast milk. Between 4-6 months you can begin to feed your child with milky baby rice or bland potato puree which is initially runny and smooth.
After 6 months, your baby is likely to become more active and of course more hungry. He will enjoy tasting new flavours. He will be ready to transit from purees to solids. As teeth begin to emerge your child can be introduced to new textures. Your baby will mostly chew with his gums, so mashed and grated foods are good to start with.
Babies are born with sufficient iron to last for 6 months. After that iron is required from other sources. Cow’s milk along mother’s breast milk has iron in it. Full cream dairy products such as curd and paneer can also be given.
One should avoid giving large amounts of high fiber foods at first.
New foods that you can introduce to your child would be;
- Oats with milk, sooji with milk or upma, rusks.
- Eggs that are well cooked (to avoid risk of salmonella)—boiled egg, omelette or scrambled eggs.
- Fish blended with potato. Check that all bones are removed.
- Vegetables like onions, cabbage, green beans, and leafy green vegetables expand his choice of food.
- Fruits such as mangoes and grapes (deseeded and cut) can be served.
Your baby can manage to eat with a spoon (even though messily) and can also use his fingers.
Finger foods are excellent for self- feeding- so they play an important part in his diet.
Again iron needs to be an essential part of his diet. Some animal sources of iron are oily fish and sardines. Plant based sources of iron would be Soybeans, Spinach and Cashews. Kiwi fruit, oranges, cauliflower florets, these are rich in vitamin C; they should be served along with protein rich foods like lentils to aid in iron absorption.
Finger foods: Stir fried vegetables, vegetable sticks served with a dipping sauce, scrambled eggs on toast (small pieces), cheeses pasta with colourful vegetables (should be dry enough for a child to pick up easily).
Your toddler should be encouraged to try out different tastes and textures with his senses of sight, taste and touch.
India is full of varied and colourful cuisine. Foods that appeal to the senses of a child are : Sweet potato chips , banana chips with a honey yoghurt dip, rice with colourful vegetables, small vegetable cutlets etc.
If your child is encouraged step by step to try out different tastes, dietary habits will be established that will include a variety of foods that will contain all the essential nutrients.