Feeding your child their first solid food is an important and exciting milestone, you
are introducing your child to a whole world of flavors and textures.
But it can also be a little daunting as it also comes with a million questions.
Hi I'm Dr. Kavya and Today we are going to talk about complementary foods or weaning foods
The first 1000 days of life i.e, the 270 days that your baby spends inside the uterus and
the first two years after birth is the most critical period for nutrition.
Adequate nutrition during this period is fundamental to the development of your child’s full
So we are going to take a step by step approach to this nutritional journey starting with
The first biggest question is When to start weaning
your baby is physically ready to take his/her first food after 4 months.
However the WHO, AAP and the IAP recommend to continue exclusive breast feeding for 6
months and to start first food after 6 months.
Now There are two important reasons for this recommendation
Breast milk provides all the essential nutrition that the baby requires during the first 6
months of life.
Any food that is introduced before six months is going to replace breast milk.
that is whatever energy that the child will derive from other foods would otherwise have
been derived from breast milk.
So the total amount of energy that the baby gets will remain same only where it gets this
energy from, that will get altered breast milk not only provides calories and nutrition
but it also provides additional antibacterial, immunological benefits that help the baby
fight infections . so when you start weaning foods before 6 months you are essentially
replacing the most nutritious and beneficial food that the baby is already receiving, that
is the breast milk.
Which is probably why, Studies have shown that growth of babies who have started taking
weaning foods from 4 months onwards as compared to those starting at 6 months is not that
different, even when you give the most nutritious and safe food.
After six months of age, however, it becomes increasingly difficult for the baby to meet
their nutrient needs from human milk alone which would be the ideal time to introduce
Apart from this there is also the added risk of exposure to food-borne pathogens.
In places where sanitation is very poor introducing complementary food will increase the risk
of exposure to food-borne pathogens which the baby is not equipped to fight.
. If your still having a difficult time deciding
when to start feeding them your baby will show you signs that he is ready for solids
Do you nurse about eight to ten times a day and yet she is suddenly crying for more feeds
or if you are giving formula, your baby is taking about 900 milliliters of formula.
Is your baby sitting up and able to control his/her head
Has your baby started teething Does he watch you eat and make chewing motions
? Or simple rule of thumb that is easy to gauge
is when your baby’s weight has he reached approximately twice its birth weight?
keeping all this in mind I would personally recommend to start weaning by 5.5 months so
that by the time your baby reaches 6 months when breast feeding is insufficient, you would
have established an additional source of nutrition.
Should you stop or gradually wean off of breastfeeding once you start with complementary food
The answer is no absolutely not Continue frequent, on-demand breastfeeding atleast until 2 years
of age and if you desire so even beyond 2 years.
This is because Breastfeeding continues to make an important nutritional contribution
well beyond the first year of life where the child
receive 35-40% of the child's total energy Research has shown that a longer duration
of breastfeeding can reduce risk of childhood chronicillnesses, boosts immunity and decreases
your baby’s risk for ear infections, allergies, asthma, diabetes, and, obesity, and improves
cognitive outcomes Before we go into what you can feed your child
its important to know how to prepare and store food
SAFE PREPARATION AND STORAGE OF COMPLEMENTARY FOODS
Practice good hygiene and proper food handling by
a) wash your hands thoroughly with soap before preparing food
and also your child’s hands before eating b) prepare food just before feeding
c) avoid feeding bottles unless you are properly euipped on how to sterilise
FOOD CONSISTENCY Start with soup like consistency and you can
gradually increase to paste like then to semi solid “lumpy” food and by the end of first
year your child should be able to chew food and eat small pieces soft fruits and vegetables
The most common problem that i have seen is that parents continue to spoon feed soft mashed
food even until 2 years and the child doesnt learn chewing motions.
A good time to introduce semi solid foods is by 9 months when the child starts learning
Dont worry that your baby doesnt have teeth yet he can chew food with his gums and successfully
If you miss this window of 9-12 months to introduce solids the child may have feeding
difficulties in future, may take a lot longer to learn chewing solid foods and might continue
to prefer mashed foods.
So Make sure you Gradually increase food consistency and introduce solid foods by a 9 months of
This can be done by introducing “finger foods”
By 12 months, most children can eat the same types of foods as consumed by the rest of
AMOUNT COMPLEMENTARY FOOD NEEDED Remember that the quantity does not matter
and it varies from child to child depending on the energy density of the food and also
it depends greatly on how much breast milk you child consumes.
Start with small amounts of food and increase the quantity as the child gets older, while
maintaining frequent breastfeeding.
As a rough guide Start with two to three tablespoon of puree initially gradually increase the
quantity weekly to about half a cup measuring 250ml BY 8 months of age.
And 3/4th to one cup by a year.
Just remember quantity does not matter What you should know more importantly is signs
to pick up that your child is full like Spitting food
Refusing to open their mouth Pushing spoon away
If your child doesn't eat suggested quantity of food then you can always make the food
energy dense by adding ghee or clarified butter or vegetable oils.
This ensures the baby gets the required energy even with small quantity of food.
Never force your child to eat this will only make them develop unhealthy relationship with
food which can develop as eating disorders later in life.
MEAL FREQUENCY When it comes to how many times you need to
feed your child start with once a day preferably in the noon at around 1pm initially, then
gradually increase to 2-3 times a day by 8 months and 3-4 times a day with 1-2 nutritious
snacks in between.
And don’t pay attention to the schedule that your friends’ babies are on.
Watch your one-of-a-kind baby for signs of when the time is right for the solid stuff
What specific foods can you start with, what combination of foods is the most nutritious
and specific food recipes and my holy grail recipes for perfect weaning food, thats all
coming up in my future videos, so stay tuned and please subscribe and click on the bell
icon because you dont wanna miss those videos.
Also like and share with people you think this video might help.
If you have any question regarding weaning foods definitely comment below i’ll try
to answer as many as i can.
And also i can probably include them in a Q&A session at the end of this series.