Motherhood is a beautiful journey. The everyday experiences of a new mommy right from conceiving to birth and beyond are one-of-its-kind. As the baby grows, a mother blossoms! Her role gradually shifts from nurturing the baby with breast milk to nourishing with the best nutritious food, apt for the age. Here is a complete chart of Indian weaning foods that will help all Indian mothers to provide the best nutrition to their babies for their proper physical and mental growth and development.
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Weaning is a gradual introduction of nourishment other than milk to the infant. Although, it can seem overwhelming to a new mother experienced women always preach “enjoy it”. It is a phase, and you shall both transit through it, gracefully. It may seem like a challenge but expert’s advice that with a bit of research and calm nerves, weaning can seem like a smooth passage. These Indian weaning foods information will help you make this phase smooth.
Pediatricians recommend exclusive breastfeeding until the baby is 6 months of age. Lactation is nature’s exclusive medium of providing nutrition to the baby. Having said that, this is not a strict rule and now pediatricians also mention new mothers to watch for dehydration as well as proper food intake if breast milk production is insufficient.
Weaning ideally starts at 6 months but some mothers may introduce some liquids at 4 months of age depending on baby’s appetite and milestone development. The infant is ready for solid foods when the sitting is achieved with skill. Eye-hand coordination is improved and tongue movement is better in order to allow food movement back and forth the food pipe.
Celebration of Weaning in India
In India, Hindu culture commemorates the introduction of first foods with the ceremonial ritual Annaprashana. Amongst the various Indian weaning foods, Rice is the first food offered to the babies. This grain initiation of the baby at 6 months of age is a rejoiced occasion in Indian families.
The infant’s gut development is gradual and acceptability to new foods is slow. Lactation tapers down after the baby is almost 6 months of age and breast milk is insufficient to fulfill appetite or support growth which is rapid up till the child turns two.
This Indian weaning food chart is made using easily available ingredients from the kitchen. Introduction to foods is such that the child eventually adapts to the family’s palette. The nutrition quotient of these Indian weaning foods is also at par to the age requirement. The need for iron, vitamin A, D, C is essential beyond 6 months of age as milk and formula milk will be insufficient in these nutrients. Salt, sugar, oil, and butter or ghee is generally avoided until the baby is 8 months of age.
How to Introduce weaning foods?
A common query every pediatrician has to answer every new mom, “How to introduce weaning foods?”. Here are some simple tips on Introducing Indian weaning foods to babies.
- Start with one-two teaspoons at a time. Allow the child to swallow and accept the new texture.
- Offer additional one-two teaspoons more of the same food every day till the end of the week when the child can have a small bowl at a time.
- Introduce a new ingredient every week and notice for acceptability, discomfort, or allergies.
- It is best to introduce only one food item at a time. and avoid offering too many food items at the same time.
- Avoid force-feeding or attempt a clean plate policy. Make feeding time, a simple, stress-free practice. only then your little one will look ahead for his meals.
Quantity of food while weaning
Apart from the type of food, the quantity of food for babies while weaning is another question that keeps popping up in every Indian mother’s mind. So to clear the air, here is something that will help you. You may follow this recommendation for quantity of weaning food to be offered to the infant; as suggested by Pediatric Dietetics Department at AIIMS Hospital New Delhi:
|Age in Months||Quantity of weaning food|
|5 – 6 Months||Few spoons to 30ml at a time|
|6 – 7 months||50-75 ml/g at a time|
|7 – 8 months||75 -100 ml/g at a time|
|9 – 12 months||100 – 150 ml/g at a time|
Some Tips about Indian weaning foods
Before we learn about Indian weaning foods, it is important to note certain points.
- Breast milk can be supplemented with infant formula milk, or undiluted cow’s milk (best avoided until the infant is 1 year old). Always check with your pediatrician about starting with any supplementation of milk. Look for allergies to these supplemental feeds when introducing for the first time.
- Semi-solid meals can be introduced with wheat-free grains and starches like rice (boiled/mashed), rice puffs (murmura), boiled potato, banana, sago, semolina (suji), boiled sweet potato, pumpkin.
- Pulses are initiated as clear soups and gradually as gruel/khichadi with rice.
- Vegetables like boiled mashed carrots can be added to rice gruel.
- Vegetables can be introduced as soups, stews, and gruel.
- Fruits like banana mash at 6 months of age but apples, pear, peaches can be stewed and introduced when the child is about 7-8 months of age. Citrus fruits can be introduced like orange juice after 9 months of age to avoid allergies.
- Egg yolk can be started at the age of 8 months
- Egg white, seafood as well as meat products are best started at the age of 1 year.
Indian weaning foods ( What to feed & when to feed )?
Indian weaning foods are cherished by nutritionists globally for their simplicity, nutrition content, and easy to customize to a family meal. Let us explore some authentic Indian weaning foods that are nutritious and convenient to prepare:
It is always a debate on when to start weaning the baby. some suggest that the babies are good to start weaning after they complete 4 months, while some suggest that the first 6 months are for breastfeeding only, and no top food is required. Well if you ask me, I have had mixed clients who wanted to start weaning at the 4th month, and some who wanted to start at 6 months. so it is a personal choice, and it majorly depends on how your baby’s digestive system is growing to be. whatever you decide, remember to talk with your pediatrician about your weaning plans. Here is the month-wise distribution chart of Indian weaning foods.
At 5th month
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- Juice – Orange, apple, and carrot.
Tip – Start with 1 tsp of juice mixed with 1 tsp of boiled water. give for 2-3 days, then eventually start increasing the quantity till it reaches 30 ml.
- Soups – Carrot, bottle gourd, Tomato, Spinach (Palak), beetroot.
Tip – Wash the vegetable thoroughly, skin it, chop in pieces and pressure cook it. Blend it in a lump-less puree. now dilute this pure with 1/4th quantity water, you can add a pinch of salt for taste. Gradually go on decreasing the water for dilution, till the baby takes undiluted soups with a cup and spoon.
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At 6th Month ( Introduction to cereals)
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- Rice Water – Start with rice water. Boil rice for the family. Do not throw away the water. Collect it in a clean bowl and give 2-3 teaspoons to your baby initially. Gradually increase the number of teaspoons.
- Barley water
- Thin Dals
- Wheat-based / Rice-based cerelac
- Rice and Moong Dal Khichadi – You can take 2 parts of rice and 1 part of shelled mung dal and soak for some time. Then pressure cooks it for 4-5 whistles. Blend in a mixer and feed warm. You can add 1/2 tsp of ghee to it.
- Boiled mashed potato with a pinch of salt and a little butter.
At 7th Month
- Rawa porridge – Sweet or salty based on your child’s taste.
- Ragi Porridge – Sweet or salty based on your child’s taste.
- Biscuits – As finger food
- Washed carrot – As finger food
- Mashed Pumpkin and sweet potato are very delicious and make awesome Vitamin A rich foods for the growing child.
At 8th and 9th Month
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- Lapsi / Daliya Porridge made with little jaggery, with or without milk.
- Oats porridge with apple and milk.
- Rajgeera porridge.
- Rawa Upama
At 10th Month
- You can nor introduce foods that have high residues like Mango and Papaya.
- Mashed Idli / Dhokla
- You can also introduce Mashed Curd Rice. Prepare fresh homemade curd using buffalo/cow skimmed milk. You can add freshly boiled and mashed rice to curd.
- Besides this, Banana milkshake and Chiku milkshake can also be given as convenient fresh no cooking weaning food.
At 1 year
If your baby has reacted well to all the above-mentioned food without showing any signs of indigestion or allergies, she is now ready to have her share of non-vegetarian weaning foods.
- Clear chicken soup to begin with.
- Boiled egg white and egg yolk.
- Small mashed chicken pieces.
- Boiled fish (Introduce only when you think the baby is ready).
After the baby completes 1 year of age, refer to this Indian diet plan for toddlers (1- 3 years )
These are some generic suggestions on how, when, and what to wean infants once you initiate the transition from lactation to solid feeding. Hygienic preparation, natural holistic cooking, and calm temperament three main ingredients to successful weaning.
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Hope this list of Indian weaning foods is of help to you. Final words of wisdom, happy moms make happy babies!