A common question that parents often ask after the birth of their baby is, “When can I give my newborn food?”
Once your infant arrives, be prepared for lots of unsolicited advice from friends, relatives, and even strangers. Some of the advice will be good, but you’ll definitely need to learn to disregard outdated advice that may go against your pediatrician’s recommendations.
One of the often controversial subjects that you may encounter is feeding your baby. Well-meaning friends or relatives may tell you to begin giving your infant baby cereal to help him sleep through the night. Others may advice starting your infant on solid foods at 2-3 months of age. These are the advice that you should not follow for a number of reasons.
- Your baby is not mature enough to grasp the concept of eating solid foods.
- Your baby’s digestive system may not be able to adjust to the digestion of solid foods without causing discomfort.
- Your infant could develop food allergies if started too early on solid foods.
- Your infant should be receiving all the nutrients he or she needs from formula or breast milk in the first 4-6 months of life.
After 6 months of breastfeeding your baby, every parent is excited to enter the next growth phase, as well as worried about how and what solid foods to be introduced to their babies. A ton of questions run in our minds, like what should they eat, in what quantity, what if they don’t like the taste, how frequently should I feed them etc. In this blog, we will cover a few basic guides to introducing organic baby foods that should help you all get started without the worry!
A 6+ month baby is still developing its digestive system, building new enzymes, acids, getting stronger muscles etc. So we should ideally start with organic foods that are easy to digest and not heavy on the stomach. Such foods are fruits like ripe bananas, guava, papaya, watermelon etc. Slowly, you can also start with steamed vegetables like potatoes, beans, cauliflower, carrots etc. Steaming is the best way to retain max nutrition within the vegetable.
In most cultures, they also start with sprouted grains like millets and rice. Soaking and sprouting increases the nutritive value and also makes it very easy to digest. Sprouted Ragi or Finger Millet is one of the most nutritious foods for babies as its 10 times richer in calcium than other grains. If your baby likes ragi, please do try and feed foods based on this grain at least 3-4 times a week. You can make porridges, soft dosas, ragi laddoos, ragi seviyyan etc.
Try to procure locally grown, organic fresh fruits, vegetables, grains. Do ensure you procure them from either a trusted farmer / manufacturer or organically certified brand.
Crops grown with the help of pesticides and chemicals are firstly toxic, as its residue always enters the food which we directly consume. The other important point is, plants don’t get a chance to naturally develop a strong immune system as all the chemicals destroy the pests externally. You can call it a lazy plant, as they don’t reach the full potential because of all the external help. Because of this, the nutrition value, anti-oxidants that naturally protects the plant reduces.
Remember, you are helping build a new body of your baby. So try as much as possible to build it from the best organic foods you can get.
Most moms immediately begin to completely mash foods to form a puree to feed your baby. At 6 months, your baby needs to start to form the reflexes to chew food. Have you not seen your baby try and pick everything on the ground to chew? They may not have teeth but have strong gums.
So finely chopped fruits or boiled vegetables that your baby can slowly chew will be a good start.
Juices, porridges, dosas, idlis, kheer, halwa, rotis. The more textures you introduce the better. All forms of organic baby food can be introduced slowly.
Hand mash everything you make and stay away from the mixer or blender to convert foods to a puree. The puree habit, will still make them expect soft foods that are in a consistency to swallow, even when they turn 1+ and get teeth.
From 6-8 months, your baby is most likely to eat 3 small meals of solids and 50-60% of the nourishment is met by breast milk. 8+ months, 3-4 meals of solids and breast milk become more of an add-on.
A simple rule will be to feed when your baby is hungry. First offer solid foods and then breast feed your baby. Don’t force, simply trust your baby’s instincts to eat and respect the choice of what they would like to eat.
How can I flavor the food?
- Avoid adding salt & sugar upto the age of 1 year. Most of the salt the baby needs is already present in the foods and breast milk. Any excess salt will harm the kidneys.
- Avoid refined sugar in these foods. Refined sugar has no nutritive value and have a lot of chemicals added while processing.
- Replace salt with natural sourness like amla, curd, lime etc.
- Replace refined sugar with natural sweetners like dates powder, jaggery, fruits etc.
- Introduce a pinch of spices too. Spices have a lot of anti-oxidants that can be added to our foods. Spices like cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, nutmeg etc. have a lot of medicinal values too and make the food yummy.
Overall, your baby is your best guide. Try to understand their language of what they like and how much they would like to eat. Your only duty as a parent is to offer them natural, nutritious & organic baby foods.
Did You Know :
Babies 6-12 months of age need 11 mg of iron per day for healthy growth and development. It is important to include iron-rich foods in baby’s diet every day. Iron-rich foods include iron-fortified baby cereals. Serve iron-rich plant-based foods with vitamin C such as fresh fruits.
Here are some of the Organic Baby Foods you can find:
Organic ragi baby food or finger millet porridge mix that is 10 times richer in calcium that other grains.
Contains 5 nutritious whole grains – Ragi/Finger Millet, Pearl Millet or Bajra, Foxtail Millet or Kangni, Whole Wheat & Yellow Moong.