Starting Solids/ Weaning your baby?
8 minute read, Written By: Momly
When to introduce solids to your babies? What are the cues to identifying their eagerness to solids? Momly gets into the basics of starting solids for your babies. We have also attached a healthy meal plan to try out for your baby.
When to start solids for babies?
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for 6 months as breastmilk has nutrition and is replete with antibodies which help fight infections and chronic illnesses. Once your baby is well over the threshold of 6 to 7 months, it is the right time to introduce them to soft solids. Starting solids is important for babies as breastmilk or formula-induced nutrition alone is not sufficient enough for your growing baby. Around this time, your baby will require a different variety of food along with breastmilk to keep them energized and nourished. But having said that, your baby will give out certain cues. These are some of the signs of their readiness to explore solids.
- Looking at your food while you are eating
- Posture is upright with a firm back.
- Head doesn’t wobble much
- Able to sit steady in a high chair
- If not these above cues, sudden increase in hunger pangs which do not get satiated with breastmilk.
As a starter, what solids should I give my baby?
Breastfeed your baby in the morning before giving them solids and before bedtime. While making a meal plan, starting with simple rice cereal is a great idea. You can make rice cereals, rice purees, or dal rice which is packed with nutrition and a wealth of energy. Your baby’s tongue is just getting used to new solids so do not stop at one type of solid but offer them a palette of rich cereals made up of suji, ragi, oats and sabudaana. Try giving foods with varied textures.
Meal plan by Age:
6 to 8 months:
Introduce baby safe foods like rice cereals, mashed purees, cereals fortified with iron. You can start a simple mashed banana puree or carrot puree. Mashed banana is easy to digest for babies because of its gooey consistency and babies generally enjoy eating it. Finger foods like soft fruits, Broccoli, egg can be given during this time. This would make them associate with food with different textures.
9 to 12 months:
Mashed sweet potatoes, avocado, cottage cheese, sliced strawberries, carrot sticks, boiled eggs make foods for your 9 months plus babies. Sweet potato is rich with beta-carotene which further breaks down to Vitamin A, an important ingredient for your baby’s development. Iron-rich foods like pumpkin can be mashed and given to your baby. It is best for their eye health. Slowly you can introduce roughly mashed soft chopped foods or foods with pieces of cooked vegetables.
Also try giving yogurt around this stage as it is packed with proteins, calcium and other rich food groups. Do not add sugar to any of the food listed above.
Unsafe foods to avoid while starting solids:
- Raw eggs
- Cow milk
- Beverages like Tea and coffee
- Nuts and hard foods due to choking hazards
What do Momly moms have to say?
When starting solids, do not go overboard in the process. You need to test the waters before jumping into it head long. Try giving little at first like 1- 2 teaspoons once a day and check if your baby is keen to explore more. You can increase the quantity as per your baby’s appetite. This will also give you a sense if your baby is allergic to certain foods or her body is able to digest them. Look at her facial cues. If she turns her head or clamp her mouth shut, do not force.
“Babies refuse some foods but they later develop a liking for them”, Momly founder, Neha assures. Go with a simple meal plan which is replete with nutritious items. It doesn’t have to be an exotic meal. Divya Kapoor, Momly mom, agrees to it, says “I followed a traditional diet for my baby”
Sample Meal plan
Sailee Gujarathi, Momly mom, followed a meal plan which was guided by her doctor. Here is a host of items she used in making a comfort meal for her child.
“I started with one meal a day. I made a mashed fruit puree using one fruit. So, every three days I changed the fruit type, that is, if I am using banana for 3 days, I will use papaya after 3 days. I did not mix the fruits. This will determine if something is not working and you should take a step back in your approach. The fruits which I went for as guided by my doctor are: chikoo, banana and papaya. My doctor asked to use these soft fruits and gradually increase the other fruit varieties. This was the breakfast meal for my child for about a week.
After a week, I introduced second meal for my baby. The second meal was Nestum Cerelac which my doctor recommended. It is readily available in a general store or you can find it online. It has a source of 14 essential nutrients including vitamins and minerals. It comes in rice, rice vegetable and rice fruits variants.
The third meal was made using rice and moong dal in 2:1 proportion. Steam it in a cooker with water and is ready to feed.
The fourth meal was homemade cerelac in which I used multiple dals, rice, nachni, grounded and powdered almond. All of these were boiled and nicely cooked to give to my baby. The idea is to make babies eat 4 meals in a month’s time. Post which any fruits and vegetables can be added to any of these meals. Water can be mixed with these meals and in their diet around this time.
At the outset:
When thinking about venturing into solids for babies, do not rush into them. Latching on to solids in a milestone. Like every milestone requires patience, you need to cultivate patience in this too. Introduce the new serving of solid staggeringly so they will get into its rhythm easily, without feeling overwhelmed. Babies love patterns and order. Every milestone should be devoid of changes and constant shifts in the schedule. Have a routine in place. They are not aware of set meal times like we do, so introduce the concept of breakfast, lunch and dinner. This will make them gravitate toward the food easier as against starting solids in the middle of a bizarre routine. It will only make them crankier, trigger their hunger at unearthly hours and disrupt their sleeping routine.
Why nutrition coach matters?
If you have any questions regarding maternity nutrition and child meal plan, please take help of nutrition coach. Attend a workshop or a session by the maternity and child care nutrition expert to know ins and outs of starting solids for babies and gain healthy recipes to try out for your babies.
Momly adds value:
Our mom community is filled with maternal wisdom on varied subjects, all singularly related to maternal and child care. Join Momly App or Momly Whatsapp group to find out more about nutrition experts, maternal and child care, and parenting. Do you have a meal plan for your baby? Let us know some of the recipes that you have tried so that our mom community can benefit from them.