Healthy eating starts at home. As parents, we must offer healthy food choices to our kids – remember, they can’t ask for pizza and French fries unless we’ve introduced them to those foods! So if you want your kids to develop healthy eating habits, you need to catch them young – and weaning foods are the place to start.
According to researchers, kids’ early taste preferences (for fruits & veggies or sugary treats) are lasting. This means, in terms of quality, the diet must be cast in the first year itself. Weaning foods should be your aim as well as a medium to introduce your kids to a variety of fruits and vegetables. Set up their high chair, grab a bib, buy some kid-friendly cutlery and settle down with a diet plan for your baby.
It requires a little patience and time but the result, in the long run, is highly rewarding. Through weaning foods, your child will develop an emotionally strong relationship with food. As an adult, s/he would be able to appreciate the nourishing aspect of food and is also less likely to fall into the trap of fad diets and food disorders.
Weaning Food Chart
Apart from the type of food, the quantity of food for babies while weaning is another question that keeps popping up in every mother’s mind. One may follow the following recommendation for the quantity of weaning food to be offered to the infant, as suggested by the Paediatric Dietetics Department at AIIMS Hospital New Delhi.
Age In Months
- 5-6 Months
- 6-7 Months
- 7-8 Months
- 9-12 Months
Quantity Of Weaning Foods
- Few spoons to 30 ml at a time
- 50-75 ml/g at a time
- 75-100 ml/g at a time
- 100-150 ml/g at a time
There are several types of weaning foods to choose from. Here is a month-wise chart.
Weaning foods at 6 months: “Weaning foods 6 months” is one of the most common Google searches for new patents. And it can be confusing figuring out what to feed your baby. What you need to keep in mind is to only change one meal of a baby at this time and then gradually introduce foods in other meals. It’s good to introduce new baby weaning foods at lunchtime. 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 and thin dals can also be given. Start with single vegetable soups and fruit juices.
Weaning foods at mid 6 months: Introduce ground, cooked, single-grain cereal or infant cereal with breast milk or formula. Mashed banana, potato, yam, sweet potato, carrot, spinach, apple and pear are some good options. Cooked and pureed meat or poultry can also be considered. Foods containing allergens (such as peanuts, hens’ eggs, gluten and fish) can be introduced from around 6 months of age, one at a time and in small amounts so that one can spot any reaction. Full-fat dairy products, such as pasteurised cheese and plain yoghurt can be given from around 6 months of age. Choose products with no added sugar. Move on to 2 meals/day and then 3 meals/day. Rice and moong dal thin khichdi with 1/2 tsp of ghee is an ideal lunch for your baby.
Weaning foods at 6-7 months: When it comes to cereals and pulses do ensure these are in a 3:1 ratio. All fruits and vegetables in thick puree forms can be given now if the baby is adapting well. Remember, babies do not need salt or sugar added to their food (or cooking water).
Weaning foods at 7 – 9 months: Baby will gradually move towards eating 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), in addition to their usual milk feeds, which may be around 4- 5 meals a day. As the baby eats more solid foods, they may want less milk at each feed or even drop the milk feed altogether. Gradually increase the amount and variety of food to ensure they get the energy and nutrients they need. As infants become more confident eaters, remember to offer more finger foods.
Providing finger foods as part of each meal helps to encourage infants to feed themselves, develop hand and eye coordination, and learn to bite off, chew and swallow pieces of soft food. Increase the quantity according to your infant’s interest and appetite – offer foods from all 4 food groups. An infant may need to try many times before learning to like a new food/taste. Always encourage self-feeding and babies to learn by coping: eat with infant and include a family meal. Babies learn wonderfully by watching adults around them.
Weaning foods at 9 months of age: High-fiber foods can be introduced at this time such as semolina, oats or fruits with peels such as apples or pears. You can also consider sliced and quartered bananas or small pieces of other soft fruits, whole cooked beans and well-cooked, minced or finely chopped meat, poultry or fish. Dalia porridge with or without milk, oats porridge with apple and milk, rajgira porridge and rawa upma are excellent one meal options that score high on nutrition.
Weaning foods at 10-12 months of age: By now, your baby should be enjoying a wide range of tastes and textures. They should be able to manage a wider range of finger foods and will be increasingly able to pick up small pieces of food and move them to their mouth. They will use a cup or glass with more confidence. As the baby grows, eating together as a family encourages them to develop good eating behaviour. Reduce milk feeds one by one to two feeds per day at 11-12 months. You can introduce sugar and salt from 10 months onwards because before that babies don’t need any extra sugar and salt. The invisible salt and sugar in vegetables and fruits are sufficient for them.
Weaning foods at 12 months: Small pieces of fruit and cooked vegetables should be the dietary staple of your toddler. A child may also need two healthy snacks in between meals. The World Health Organization recommends that all babies are breastfed for up to 2 years or longer. One can keep breastfeeding for as long as suits you both, but the child will need less breast milk to make room for more foods. After the baby completes 1 year of age, refer to a toddlers’ diet for a kid.
Foods To Avoid When Weaning
Salt: The baby’s kidneys cannot process salt yet.
Honey: No honey till the baby is one as it can cause infant botulism in babies.
Sugar: Sweeten food with mashed banana or stewed dry fruits puree. No artificial sweeteners as it encourages your child to develop a sweet tooth.
Whole nuts: They are a choking hazard and difficult to process.
Certain fish: To avoid mercury poisoning.
Tea/coffee: Do not tempt the child with even the smallest drop of these beverages. Caffeine and tannin are unsuitable for babies and prevent the absorption of vital nutrients in their body.
Low-fat food: Any low-fat dairy or food products are unfit for the baby as they need calories.
Risky foods: Foods like mouldy cheese, liver pâté or soft boiled or raw eggs that can contain bacteria and are not killed in the cooking process.
Sugary Foods to Avoid
If you are looking for a more detailed diet plan for your child, or expert advice on how to get your kid to eat better, you can always consult with us via the Children & Teenage Nutrition Program.
What foods should be avoided during weaning?
Avoid salt, sugar, honey, caffeine, whole nuts, certain fish, low-fat foods and risky foods like mouldy cheese, soft boiled/raw eggs, etc.
What foods do you introduce to baby first?
You can start with rice water, dal water and barley water.
Does baby-led weaning prevent picky eating?
Yes, baby-led weaning gives babies a better appreciation for the foods they are eating, and an opportunity to enjoy the tastes, textures and smells.
How much additional milk does baby need during weaning?
Between 6-12 months, approx 500-600 ml per day is needed. Beyond 12 months, it should be between 350ml to max 600 ml.
When is my baby ready to start solids?
Babies can start solids from 6 months.