Your baby is growing, and the breast milk and formula feed that it has been taking since birth needs to be complemented with solid food. It is important that the baby gets the essentials nutrients and minerals through food that would aid in its development. Baby healthy food can be introduced when the child turns 4 months. The amount of food that the baby will eat and the baby food chart is just a recommendation, as each child’s appetite and taste would be different. It is important that one checks the diet plan with a doctor before starting solid food.
Birth to 4 months
At this stage, baby gets all the required nourishment in breast and formula milk only. Rooting reflex makes the baby turns towards the nipples for food. It is not advised to introduce solid food at this stage because the baby’s digestive tract is still developing.
4 to 6 months
The baby might show signs of being ready for solid food at this stage. You could look out for indications such as the child being able to sit upright and being able to hold its head up, significant weight again to almost double from the birth weight, able to close mouth when a spoon is put in, and being able to move the food from the front to the back of the mouth. At this stage the child can be introduced to solid food such as follows:
- Vegetable and fruit puree
- Meat puree
- Semi liquid and iron-fortified cereal
- Unsweetened yogurt
You could start be feeding the baby 1 teaspoon of pureed food or cereals mixed with 4-5 teaspoons of breast or formula milk. Gradually increase the quantity to one tablespoon of pureed food or cereals to twice a day, and also make the cereal less liquid. It may be possible that the child does not eat initially; however, you can try feeding again after a few days.
6 to 8 months
At this stage, the baby should be fed filtered fruits, meat, and vegetables, and you can also introduce it to pureed tofu, legumes, and iron-fortified cereals. You can increase the quantity to 2-3 tablespoons and spread it to four times a day. You could also give 3-9 tablespoons of cereals in 2-3 feedings.
8 to 10 months
At this stage, you can introduce the child to finger food, as the baby may be able to pick up objects from its thumb and finger and can move the food in a chewing motion in the mouth. The child’s diet should include mashed vegetables and fruits, finger foods such as potatoes, pasta, small bits of meat, and iron-fortified cereals. You can feed the child a quarter cup of dairy food, half a cup of cereals, 1 cup of fruit and vegetables, and 3-4 tablespoons of food rich in proteins.
10 to 12 months
At this stage, the baby will be able to swallow easily and will also have more teeth. The baby can be given soft pasteurized cheese, cut cubes, and strips of fruits, soft cooked vegetables, macaroni cheese, small bits of meat, finger food, and iron-rich cereals. One-third cup of dairy, half a cup of cereals, 1 cup of fruit and vegetables, a quarter cup of combo food, and 3-4 tablespoons of protein-rich food should be given to the child.
Things to keep in mind
Care should be taken that any new food is introduced once at a time, and you should make a note of the food introduced so that you know if the baby is allergic to any. Do not introduce a new food for at least three days. Solid food is only a supplement, and the child should be breast-fed or formula-fed for at least a year. Cow’s milk, however, should be avoided till at least 1 year of age.