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Which  Solids to Introduce in the First Year

Introduction of fruits, vegetables, rice, cereals and juices

As the items below are added, do not stop or reduce the ones already started.  The object is to foster more tastes and increase the quantity of food to the amount accepted. 

Fruits

Mashed fruits are a good first weaning food.  They are easy to digest and palatable to the baby.

  •  Mashed bananas: Bananas should be mashed, and then given plain or mixed with malai (cream) or milk. Start with quarter banana, and increase it every week until the baby accepts it. 
  • Boiled and mashed apples: You can also offer apples instead of bananas to your baby.  Take an apple and cut it into pieces, taking care to remove the center core.  Boil it and then mash it either with a spoon or in a mixer.  Start with half an apple and increase it to the limit accepted by the child.  It has been observed that apples causes constipation in many babies.  In this case, try other fruits like papaya.
  • Other seasonal fruits: Other seasonal fruits like pears (to be prepared like apples), chikoo (simply mashed), papaya (simply mashed), mango (simply mashed) can also be given.  It has been observed that papaya helps soften stools if the baby is constipated.


Mashed and well-cooked vegetables:

Vegetables can be added to the baby's diet a week or so after introducing fruits. Vegetables should first be boiled, then mashed in a blender, and then strained.  (It is important to strain the vegetables until the baby is about 7 months old.  After the baby is 7 months, straining is not required because vegetable fiber is very nutritious and contains certain useful toxins).  Begin with a couple of spoons and then gradually increase the quantity every succeeding week to the limit accepted by the baby.   Dark green leafy vegetables, carrots and pumpkin are very healthy. 

There is no need to add salt to the vegetables, since there is enough sodium in the vegetables. The baby's system is not ready to handle too much salt in the first few months of life.  Ghee, butter or cooking oil can also be added for flavor as well as for calories.  Vegetables like spinach are high in iron.  In order to improve the absorption of iron into the baby's system, you need to give vitamin C.  Vegetables like tomato and cauliflower contain vitamin C and therefore can be a good complement to spinach.  Multivitamin drops also contain vitamin C and can be given once a day, right after a meal.
 

Porridge

This can be added to the baby's diet a week after starting mashed vegetables.  One to two teaspoons should be given twice a day, between two feeds around 8 am and 7 pm.  Keep increasing every 3-4 days to the amount accepted by the baby.  Home-made preparations are preferred to ready-made cereals.  There are several ways of offering home-made porridge: suji kheer (rava kheer), thin seera with ghee, dalia from broken wheat, ragi (or nachni), soaked bread in milk, mashed boiled rice with milk, phirni, etc.
 

Mashed and well-cooked khichri or dal and rice

Introduce khichri to the baby's diet after a couple of weeks.  You can add half a teaspoon of ghee, butter or cooking oil to the final preparation.  Initially, you should put the cooked khichri in a blender so that it is easy for the baby to swallow.  Then you can gradually increase the consistency to a semi-solid state so that the child's palate starts getting used to regular foods.  You can also add vegetables like carrots or spinach to the khichri.
 

Curds/yogurt

When the child is about 6 months old, curds can be introduced in the child's diet.  Start with about 2 teaspoons and then gradually increase. Avoid adding sugar or other sweeteners to the curds.
 

Soft boiled egg

Egg can be added to the baby's diet when the child is about 6-7 months.  The egg should be boiled in water for three minutes, and then cooled in running water.  First begin with one teaspoon of the yolk (yellow portion), and then gradually introduce the white portion of the egg.  The white is very high in proteins, but can also cause allergic reactions in some babies.
 

Juices

Juices made of fruits high in vitamin C, like orange and pineapple, can be added at around 7 months.  The reason for not adding them earlier is that they often do not suit very young babies.
 

Milk

After the eighth month, as the baby takes less of your milk, she needs to start getting external milk.  Either cow's milk or buffalo's milk can be given.  Do not dilute the milk with water.  If the milk contains too much fat, remove the cream.  External milk does not suit many babies initially.  They either get diarrhoea or start vomiting. They may also develop allergies like eczema (if there is a strong family history of allergies).  Breastfeeding should be continued at least until 1 year.
 

Chapati

Gradually introduce chapati in the child's diet.  One can do so either by adding one chapati in the blender with the child's vegetables, or by soaking it in dal.
 

Fish, minced meat

In the case of non-vegetarians, these foods can also be introduced, in the soup form initially.  It can later be steamed, minced and offered to the child.
 

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