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Complementary feeding for your baby


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?

6 months

Liquid food like Dal water, fruit juices (apple, orange, sweet lime),

Rice Kanji and later thick soups (tomato, mixed veg.)

7 months

Semisolid food like Rawakheer, mashed fruits (apple, banana and chikoo), Nachni, mashed potato with butter

8 months

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




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