Breast milk is a complete food for all babies from their birth to completion of 6 months. It provides sufficient nutrients to babies and help to defend from many diseases. Now during the second half of their first year (6-12 months) they need complementary foods (appropriately thick homogenous) also, in continuation with breastfeeding.
It is the period of rapid growth and important time for baby’s nutritional needs. At this time enzymes in their digestive system are mature enough to break down and digest solid foods. Remember, breastfeeding should remain the main source of nutrition throughout the majority of the first year and make sure to wait at least 4 to 8 days for signs of any allergies in between introducing new food for little one. Few tips to follow while starting new food for your infants:-
- The issue of a small stomach size which can accommodate limited quantity at a time. Each meal must be made energy dense by adding sugar/jaggery/butter/oil.
- To provide more calories from smaller volumes, food must be thick in consistency – thick enough to stay on the spoon without running off, when the spoon is tilted.
- Hygienic practices are essential for food safety during all the involved steps viz. preparation, storage and feeding. Freshly cooked food should be consumed within one to two hours in hot climate unless refrigerated. Hand washing with soap and water at critical times- including before eating or preparing food and after using the toilet.
- Consistency of foods should be appropriate to the developmental readiness of the child in munching, chewing and swallowing. Avoid foods which can pose choking hazard.
Foods for the age of 6-12 months:-
If baby is not breastfed, give in addition 2-3 cups of milk per day. The amount of food included in the above table is recommended when the energy density of the meals is about 0.8 to 1.0 Kcal/g. If the energy density of the meals is about 0.6 Kcal/g, recommendation will be increased by adding special foods or increase the amount of food per meal.
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