Your baby’s diet plan, from birth to 12 months

breastfeeding, baby food Ease gently into solid foods

From breastfeeding to shakes and solid foods, here’s what your baby should be consuming from birth to 12 months to stay healthy.

By Kejal Sheth

Having a baby is undoubtedly the most wonderful experience for any woman. The journey through the gestational period is filled with miracles as your body undergoes changes during pregnancy. Nature weaves her magic and most mothers start producing breast milk almost immediately after they deliver their bundle of joy.

Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It has a nearly perfect mix of all vital nutrients, protein, fat and vitamins, everything that your baby needs to grow. And it’s all provided in a form more easily digested than any infant formula. Once you start feeding, there is a yellowish translucent fluid which is secreted in place of breast milk, called “colostrum”, which is rich in antibodies that provide immunity. Within 3-4 days, this fluid turns into mature milk that provides complete nourishment to your baby.

Birth to 4 Months

Feeding Technique:

Proper positioning of your body will help enhance the feed; the baby feels your stress so make yourself comfortable and then start. It’s important to feed your baby with both your breasts.

What to feed:

Ideally, breast milk is the best option at the initial stage and paediatricians recommend breast milk as their first choice. But, if the body is unable to produce milk, you can start with cow’s milk, but remember to dilute three parts of this milk with water and boil before feeding the baby. Due to high level of proteins, it can become difficult for the baby to digest cow’s milk in the early months.

How much:

Depends on the baby’s hunger.

Age 4 – 6 Months

Feeding technique:

Up-to 4 months you can gradually also start with formula feed if needed, which can be given based on the instruction on packages. Remember to sterilise all the containers and products used to prepare the feed.

Most paediatricians recommend introducing weaning foods (a baby’s diet changes from only breast-feeding to foods based on what the family eats) by the end of 4 months.

Start with healthy, easily digestible foods, such as:

1-2 tbsp Mashed Cereal like Rice

Apricot & Fig Puree

Pureed vegetbales (potato, sweet potato,beetroot)

Barley Water

Moong Dal Water

Mashed Fruits (apple, papaya, mango, banana)

Mashed strawberry with Yogurt at room temperature

Jowar/Bajra/Ragi/Oats Porridge

Chicken Soup

How Much:

Begin with 1-2 tbsp. and mix along with breast milk at intervals and gradually increase to ½ cup.

Age 6-10 Months

By now, your little one is not so little anymore, weighing approximately twice as much as his/her weight. Breast milk is gradually decreased to 2-3 feeds a day. Also, the baby gets used to semi-solid supplements, so you will need to pay special attention to the baby’s nourishment.

What to feed:

Any fruit milkshake

Fruit phirnee

Dal Rice

Khichidi

Palak Paneer Pureed Rice

Vegetable Porridge

Mashed Dates

Golpapdi (mashed)

Pureed Meat (no red meat)

Pureed Paneer/Tofu

Fortified Cereals

How much to feed:

  • 1 teaspoon fruit, gradually increased to 2 or 3 tablespoons in four feedings
  • 1 teaspoon vegetables, gradually increased to 2 or 3 tablespoons in four feedings
  • 3 to 9 tablespoons cereal in 2 or 3 feedings

Age 10-12 Months

You can start adding more flavours to your baby’s food, using spices like salt, pepper and herbs so that she starts developing a taste for them. Start with combining various food groups for adequate nutrition and make more innovations. Encourage the baby to eat independently and also start with teething foods.

What to feed:

Roti & Dal

Jowar & Bajra Roti with Vegetables

Daliya Khichidi

Vegetable parathas

Dal & Vegetable Soup

Chicken veg soup

Soft cheese

Boneless chicken, fish

Soft cooked vegetables

Fruit with custard

Fruits

Chana salad

Dal dosa with sambhar

How much:

  • ¾ Fruit
  • 1-2 cheese cube/Slice
  • 2 small CD size Dosa
  • ½ bowl Salad/Vegetables/Meat
  • 2 Roti

Introduce new foods one at a time. Wait two or three days, if possible, before offering a new food item.

(Kejal Sheth is a nutritionist, weight management expert and founder of Nutrivity.in)