Bringing home a new born child is probably the most challenging phase in a person’s life. It involves a lot of physical and mental changes, adaptations and learning and huge responsibilities come attached with the bundle of joy.
Life turns into a roller coaster with varied emotions ranging from ecstasy to happiness, fear and tiredness coming one on top of another. This is especially true in cases of first time parents and couples who have no one to help around during the initial phases. Feeding a baby right is a task that needs a lot of experimentations, concentration and knowledge. Knowing what the kid can process and digest is important before starting on newer food stuffs.
While doctors stress on the importance of breast feeding till around 6 months of time, babies can slowly be started on complementary food after that. A consultation with a pediatrician at the end of 6 months will greatly help in deciding on the types of edible food one can choose.
WHY BREAST MILK?
- Provides complete nourishment to baby
- Protects from many diseases including diarrhea, pneumonia and infections
- It is the most cleanest form of diet
- Increases IQ levels in kids
- Helps mother lose extra weight gained during pregnancy
WHEN TO START OTHER SOLID FOOD?
It is usual for kids to start in taking food other than breast milk by their 6th month. Different food textures, tastes and smells can be introduced slowly step by step. Few kids could be allergic to few types of food. Always be cautious and notice for any kind of discomfort or changes in the kid after introducing a new food. If there is noticeable changes/pain, do not hesitate to consult a doctor.
Introducing them to different foods will help gain necessary nutrients, will not make the kid fussy about food in the later stages and prepare him/her to normal everyday food habits.
WHAT KIND OF FOODS ARE THE BEST?
Cereals, fruits and vegetables are the best choice when in doubt. Cooked pulses, dhal, rice, ragi etc. are very healthy and easy to digest. Make sure the food is mashed enough for the kid to swallow easily. All fruits and vegetables can be initially steamed, mashed and fed to the kids. As the kid gets used to home food, small pieces of chappati/roti dipped in milk, Kichidi (a mix of rice, dhal and vegetables) etc. can be tried.
Baby food supplements are available in plenty in the market. Talk to your doctor to know what the best brand for the little one is. There are also organic food supplements available that are safer and more nutritious for the kids.
All nutrients including calcium, zinc, iron, proteins etc. are important for brain and physical development of the kids.
HOW TO MAKE FOOD INTERESTING?
- Including different colors of food everyday to make the plate look interesting
- Introducing different tastes regularly
- Avoiding force feeding
- Kids mirror what parents do. Including all types of healthy food as parents will set a right example to the kids
Encourage kids to get involved in enough physical activity. Restrict watching TV/computer to a maximum of an hour a day. Being active the whole day gives a healthy appetite and they will be less fussy when it comes to eating.