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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Baby food for your six-month-old: Things to keep in mind

A six-month-old baby is primarily breastfed or formula-fed. However, solid food can be introduced for breakfast or lunch.

By: Parenting Desk | New Delhi |
August 26, 2021 11:00:50 am
baby food, what kind of food to give to babies, baby foods for six months old baby, babies and healthy eating, healthy baby food, parenting, indian express newsAlways start with just one or two spoons and give more only if your baby likes the taste. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

By Durga Chincholi

It is that time when your baby has hit the half-year milestone. In the first six months, he/she has gained all the nutrients from breast milk. It is now time for your baby to start tasting solids and relish them.

Here are the nutritional components that six-month-old baby needs from the food they consume:

Calcium: Calcium is essential for bone and teeth development.

Iron: Iron helps to carry oxygenated blood to developing parts of the body.

Zinc: Zinc improves cell repair and growth.

Fat: Fat insulates the baby and stimulates brain development.

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates provide energy for doing day-to-day activities.

Protein: Proteins act as building blocks for cells.

Vitamins: Different vitamins contribute differently to a baby’s growth. Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, D, E, and K are essential to a baby.

Minerals: Minerals like sodium and potassium directly influence the growth of a baby.

A six-month-old baby is primarily breastfed or formula-fed. However, solid food can be introduced for breakfast or lunch. Introduce only one fruit or vegetable and feed it to your baby for at least three days. If she responds well and does not show any signs of allergy, then you can continue with that fruit or vegetable and also try other foods.

Some healthy food options for six-month babies include:

Fruits Puree: Fruits should be steamed, and mashed or pureed while introducing. Fruits like apples, bananas, pear, avocado, chikoo, and peaches can be given.

Vegetable Puree: Vegetables such sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, sweet pumpkin, french beans, etc. can be steamed and given either as finger foods or as a puree.

Pulses Soup: A variety of pulses, especially dals, can be boiled with water and the soup can be given to babies. Keep few ready to eat food purees (for emergencies only)

Vegetable Soup: A variety of vegetables can be boiled in water, and the stock can be given as soup.

Juices: Various fruit juices can be given.

Khichdi: Moong dal, Arhar dal khichdi or porridge can be given with ghee. Soft coconut pulp can also be given.

An allergic reaction can occur in the form of diarrhoea, vomiting, rashes, constipation, or pain in the stomach and is a cause for concern. If there is an allergic reaction, stop the food that you have been giving the baby immediately. If the allergic reaction persists, seek medical assistance. You can retry it after a few months if your paediatrician gives the go-ahead.

baby food, what kind of food to give to babies, baby foods for six months old baby, babies and healthy eating, healthy baby food, parenting, indian express news Moong dal, Arhar dal khichdi or porridge can be given with ghee. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Feeding babies can be a daunting task for mothers. Here are some tips to make your baby’s mealtime happy and stress-free. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Always start with just one or two spoons and give more only if your baby likes the taste. Introduce only one new fruit or vegetable at a time and observe her reaction to it, before starting with another foodstuff.

  • Do not give lumpy foods or finger foods to babies as small as six months. It can sometimes cause gagging and even choking.

  • Feed the baby in the same place, time every day so they know it’s mealtime. Decide on a calm and quiet place for feeding like the living room or the kitchen.

  • Avoid distraction feeding, i.e. don’t feed your baby by getting them to watch something on a TV or mobile screen. Get a feeding chair.

  • Give only homemade food as your baby’s digestive system is still underdeveloped. Introducing solid foods to babies can be tricky, and mothers may feel confused as to what food is right for their babies. Most of the time, babies love to eat foods that are of varying tastes, textures, and colours. A little effort towards tingling their taste buds can go a long way in successful feeding.

  • You can modify the meals according to your child’s preferences/requirements. Never force-feed a child.

  • While introducing solid food to a baby, initially, one needs to prepare watery gruels/soups.

  • Some kids may eat less on some days and that is alright. However, if a child eats less for more than 3-4 consecutive days, please visit a doctor to guide further. A child may eat less during the teething phase or if he/she may not be feeling well. You could increase breast milk /formula feeds on those days. Re-introduce the foods once the child is back to normal.

  • Don’t stop feeding if the child is suffering from diarrhoea.

  • Avoid giving your child junk food.

Follow these tips for a healthy and happy child. In case of any health issues, remember to consult a paediatrician.

(The writer is an ex-Army Captain & Founder of Snuggle Diaries.)

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