By Ria Arora
Figuring out how much to feed a baby at every age is cause for much stress for most parents. A quick search on the internet reveals this is a hot topic on most parenting forums is - what are the ‘best first baby foods.’ Unfortunately, there is no simple answer or rule of thumb or clear growth chart with inputs e.g. 10 spoons of this daily will help you raise a 6ft doctor/engineer or even a happy healthy child! The only truth is that each child is different and has a different food journey.
Therefore knowing what are best baby food types, portion sizes for adults broadly help with weight control and ensuring enough milligrams of fiber, protein, Vitamin A, B, C, Omega 3 fatty acids, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, etc. For adults the variables on the amount of physical activity help nutritionists determine appropriate portion sizes.
For babies, this is harder to do because for a given age they have different metabolic and activity levels. Further, a baby’s nutritional needs will vary with growth spurts, teething, and illness which can affect a baby’s appetite. This is why the amount of baby food he/she eats on a weekly basis varies significantly once he/she starts solids. Our job as parents is to ensure WHAT we give them is high on nutrition to allow them to grow and develop. Click on this for ideas for weaning.
Most pediatricians will maintain a growth chart for each child. They also and often share diet plans with a list of nutritious food for children. Your baby’s head, length, and weight are measured and tracked on the chart which has curved lines. These curved, centile lines allow pediatricians to measure the growth of your baby in comparison to children of the same age who have shown optimum growth.
Most babies won’t follow these lines exactly, and a baby’s weight will likely fluctuate between two centile lines. If your baby gets ill it is very normal to drop a centile or two but most babies will return to their normal centile within a few weeks.
From the ages of 6 months to 9 months, the following nutritious food for children and babies can be added on, one at a time, so that the baby gets gradually accustomed to varied tastes.
Banana or pureed apple, or any other fruit without the peel and seeds is a good pick.
Pureed vegetables can be introduced by adding them to the cereal-pulse blend.
3. Cereals and tubers
Rice and its variants like ragi, puffed rice powders, rice flakes, amaranth, semolina, and broken wheat Dalia.
All varieties of pulses can be introduced, except those of the whole and split variety.
You might also be particularly concerned about introducing potentially allergenic foods in the baby’s diet where there is a family history of allergies.
Please note: Remember that whenever you start the process of weaning - breastmilk is still the most important source of nutrition for your baby. Most foods, in the beginning, are about introducing new tastes and textures so the portion size is not really important. A month or so into your weaning journey, babies should ideally be having 3 solid/semi-solid meals a day. And for those who really really want to know how much I made for each meal - I would say I made meals like 50-60 grams a sweet potato or 80-100 grams of apple puree or 3-4 tablespoons of Sprouted Ragi (internal link) cooked into a porridge with water. I would add a bit of breast milk once it cooled to room temperature. We had days where she ate it all and those where she ate 3 spoons and then spit spit spit!
Welcome to your child's food adventure!
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author.