By: Dr. Subash N Rao
Complementary feeding means gradual transition from breastfeeding to full diet by making the baby accustom to food other than milk.
It is NOT a replacement for milk when started.
Complementary feeding should be attempted around 6 months of age
- Developmentally ready to receive & digest semisolid non-milk based diet
- Diminished tongue-thrust reflex and head control achieved
- Earlier or late introduction may lead to rejection( food refusal & vomiting )
Not later than 8 months as
- Breast milk alone is inadequate to provide for the increasing nutritioncalorie and protein requirements of the growing child.
- Develops taste buds around 8 month. Hence likes and dislikes start after 8 months
- Refusal act comes at 8 months in child development
How to start Complementary feeding?
- Complementary feeding could be attempted around 6 months of age
- Introduce only one food at a time.
- Do not change the food daily. Try one food for at least a week before introducing another.
- Start by giving the food once a day in small quantities (say half a cup) and then gradually increase the frequency to twice and then thrice a day. Also the quantity of the food can be gradually increased after a week’s time.
- The prepared food may be tried before a breast feed
- Do NOT force feed the baby
At what frequency to give?
6 months – twice a day
7 months – thrice a day
8 months onwards – 3 to 4 times a day
What food to give?
Liquid food like Dal water, fruit juices (apple, orange, sweet lime),
Rice Kanji and later thick soups (tomato, mixed veg.)
Semisolid food like Rawakheer, mashed fruits (apple, banana and chikoo), Nachni, mashed potato with butter
Mashed rice and dal, sabudana or rice khichadi. Mashed boiled vegetables like carrot, cabbage, beetroot and leafy vegetables can be added to it later.
Ready-made baby foods can be given though NOT a must.
9 months to 1 year
idli, dhokla, upma, poha, custard, boiled egg yolk, chapatti soaked in milk or dal, cornflakes soaked in milk can be tried.
After 1 year
Give everything cooked at home.
Milk upto half a litre a day.
The writer is the Consultant Pediatrician, Child Care Clinic, Shop 16, Landmark Bldg, Near Petrol pump, Sector 14, Vashi. Tel: 022-27650198