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While exclusive breastfeeding takes care of the baby’s growth during the first six months, introducing supplementary foods thereafter becomes essential for normal growth. Babies cannot directly progress from breastmilk to adult foods. Modified family foods should be given until the baby is about one year old and ready to eat adult foods. This period of dietary transition is called the weaning period. Offering simple home-cooked meals with different textures and flavours during this period encourages your baby’s chewing and biting skills and familiarises him/her with family foods.
Here are a few delicious tips on how to make baby food:
Baby nutrition is an integral one to learn. Making baby food at home is an important skill to have once you plan to wean your infant off breastmilk. While the diet of your baby undergoes a radical change after six months, it is challenging for mothers to introduce cooked food that has a good aroma, flavour, texture, and appearance that babies would find appealing.
Follow these tips while you cook delicious baby food at home from readily available ingredients:
You can introduce family foods from 12 to 24 months when the jaw and chewing movements gain strength. You may give roti softened by soaking it in dal or vegetable. Add pulses or vegetables to rice to modify your family foods.
You may cook complimentary food rich in protein, energy, and micronutrients. For a baby 6 to 12 months or older, you may cook the following:
The current guidelines suggest the use of gluten-free cereals for babies less than six months old. Gluten is a protein naturally present in some cereals such as wheat, oats, semolina, modified starches, or rye. In some babies, it may cause intestinal inflammation causing diarrhoea, bloating, or constipation.
It is best to give your baby freshly cooked food at a temperature well tolerated by your baby. Do not store cooked food. If it is not possible to give freshly cooked food each time, you may store food below 10°C or above 60°C for the next meal. Reheat the cooled food properly before feeding. Use clean hands and containers while you cook and store the food.
Remember to cook small meals that are energy and micronutrient-rich baby food at home. Identify staple, clean homemade food for your baby's nutrition. You can also prepare and store dry mixes like sattu or a cereal-pulse mixture (in a ratio of 2:1) that can be reconstituted with water or milk when you want to use them. Keep the mixes in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. Do not give any readymade processed or junk food, as it may contain high amounts of sugar, salt, and preservatives. Talk to your paediatrician or nutritionist for the best feeding tips.