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- What is the right time to start solid food for baby ?
WHO recommends 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. It means you don’t need to offer anything except breastmilk for first 6 months. Even water is not required as breastmilk has 80% water content in it. Unfortunately, due to any medical/personal conditions, if you want to wean after 4 months of the baby, please do converse with your Pediatrician and if agreed, then here(click) are some suggestions to start weaning for 4 to 6 months baby. I started solids for my babies after completing 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Click here for the food chart to start with.
- Can we introduce new food daily ?
My pediatrician asked me to introduce one new food a day(in the first part of the day before 12 PM). Giving the same food for 2 to 3 days to test for allergies is no more required(in 6+months babies), as results of recent researches have confirmed to offer one new food a day to rule out allergies. Also, the recent guidelines insist to introduce allergy-prone foods(like citrus fruits, nuts, wheat, egg, fish, berries, melons, brinjal) as early as possible(between 6 to 8 months) to avoid allergies or lessen the impact of allergies, if any. You shall have a discussion about these points with your Pediatrician for more clarity.
- Should I skip breastfeeding to give solids ?
Do not skip breastfeeding just to give solid foods for babies below 1 year. First breastfeed as usual and then give solids after sometime. Give solids at least half-an hour to 45 minutes or even one hour after breastfeeding depending upon baby’s mood and appetite. Do not feed solids when baby is too hungry or too sleepy. Feed when the baby is happy. Feed new food in first half of the day, so that any allergies can be noted & treated. Continue this pattern of breastfeeding before every meal until baby’s first birthday. After 1 year, you shall breastfeed for a total of 5 to 6 times a day as per baby’s demand.
- How many meals a day ?
If you start with 2 to 3 meals a day, too much of solids will lead to constipation in babies. Till 1 year, baby’s main source of nutrition is from breastmilk. Additional solid foods are just complementary to meet out their additional requirements for calories & nutrition. I increased one meal each month. This way, baby gets more breastmilk & no constipation at all. But, some doctors recommend to start with more meals a day. The call is yours !! Below is what I followed,
After completing 6 months(180 days), on 7th month(running), I gave one food a day at brunch time.
After completing 7 months(210 days), on 8th month(running), I added one more meal. I gave breakfast and late lunch.
After completing 8 months(240 days), on 9th month(running), I added one more meal. I gave breakfast, lunch & dinner.
After completing 9 months(270 days), on 10th month(running), I added a snack. I gave breakfast, lunch, evening snack & dinner.
After completing 10 months(310 days), on 11th month(running), You shall add a mid-morning snack too. But, I didn’t add as my baby had a nap by that time & so I couldn’t fit a snack time in the morning.
After completing 11 months(340 days), on 12th month(running), baby will have 3 meals and 2 snacks.
Click here to go to my posts to see month-wise baby schedule/routine(this will have meal & nap timings) and food charts(with recipes).
- How much water is required for a baby ?
If you are breastfeeding on demand, just 2 to 3 sips of water, post meal is enough. As we increase the number of meals every month, water quantity will also be increased, as we are feeding water after every meal. No more additional water is required as it will just fill baby’s tummy. For formula-fed babies, pls consult your pediatrician for water quantity. Do not give water in bottle or sipper. Just give in spoon or in a small cup. My baby drinks water in a small silver tumbler. Initially, baby will spit out the water. Don’t worry. They will pick up slowly. Do not feed water in between the meal time as it will hinder proper digestion. Just give few sips of water after completing the meal. Click here to know some tips on baby’s drinking water.
- Can I give juices or soups to baby ? / Baby food consistency
Watery food or soups or juices are not advised for babies(below 1 year) as they fill their tummy in place of breastmilk and offer less nutrition. Likewise watery porridges or purees are not recommended for the same reason. As baby eats little food, offering thick food with dense nutrition is a wise choice.
- How to maintain baby utensils ?
I feed food for my baby in silver bowl and water in silver tumbler. For foods that react with silver like egg white, lemon & other citrus fruits, I use normal stainless-steel utensils. After every use, I wash her utensils using baby dish liquid soap. I sterilize just once in a week or whenever I use the utensils outside during travel time. Click here to know how I sterilize her utensils ? Once in 6 months, I wash with Sabina dish washing powder and/or lemon to get rid of dark color.
- How much quantity to feed a baby? / Baby’s food quantity
This is the most common question for new moms. The quantity has to be determined by the baby. You just prepare a small quantity as shown in the pics in my food charts(link). Initially, baby might eat just 1 or 2 teaspoons and gradually might increase to 1 or 2 tablespoons. When the baby finishes the whole bowl, next time slightly increase the quantity that you prepare for baby. Do not force a baby to eat. Just stop when baby shows signs of “NO” like turning head away from the food, zipping up the mouth, spitting continuously, crying.. Some days baby might eat well and some days baby might not eat at all. That’s ok. Don’t force. Do not try to feed a cranky baby.. When my baby doesn’t eat well in a meal, she drinks more breastmilk to compensate it. I try to offer her favorite dish in the next meal. Do not give alternates in the same meal as it will encourage selective eating !
- What if baby eats very less or doesn’t open mouth at all ?
Just don’t worry ! Till 1 year, breastmilk is the main source of nutrition and additional solid foods are just complementary. Please read the answer to the above question as well. Don’t try to distract the baby(Showing books/toys/mobile/ipad/TV/Crow) & feed as it is a bad habit that will stick for a long term ! Also, distracted feed doesn’t aid in good digestion. Baby has to see the food and enjoy eating to avoid fussy eating habits. If baby eats very less and says no, that’s ok. Baby will not starve and so baby will eat when given in the right time. Don’t give the same food daily. Try to give variety of foods to introduce more taste and texture to baby & also to identify what type of food baby likes. My first one likes dal & coconut based bland food and the second one likes tomato based spicy curries. When baby refuses a food, just don’t stop giving that food again. Give it after few days and baby will slowly develop the taste of it. My baby liked Ragi milk porridge very much. But when I started sprouted ragi porridge, she was not much fond of it & ate very less, initially. But I gave her weekly once and slowly she started liking it and then she started to finish the bowl. So, don’t be tempted to stop a food as baby refused it one day or the other. As I am giving different foods daily, most of which are her favorites, her appetite have increased gradually and so she eats food of less interest too to meet her appetite. In the initial months of solids, don’t expect the baby to eat more. Just 1 or 2 spoons is completely normal. It’s just their training phase. Don’t force as it might create an aversion towards food. Give some time and see the magic.. Whenever possible, try to make them eat with the family as it creates a good connection both with food & family. Also, babies try to imitate adult eating & this encourages them to eat more.
- Baby was eating well. But all of a sudden, baby started to refuse food. Why ?
Don’t panic. This is called “Food strike” and it is very common in babies around 8 months, 1 year, 1.5 years, 2 years.. It could occur in any phase of their growth and would go away in a week or two and for some babies in a month or two. In such situations, you neither force feed nor tell in front of the child(>1 year) that he/she is not eating well. Just make the child to sit and eat with family. Give some time for the child to get over this phase. Follow the points mentioned in the above question, as well.
- Any weight gain food for babies ?
- Avocado, potato, sweet potato..
- Cooked Nendhran banana(link)
- Curd rice & yogurt smoothies(link)
- Sprouted Ragi porridge(link)
- Sago + urad porridge(link)
- Whole black urad porridge with roasted & powdered sesame seeds- this recipe can be found in all my food charts(link)
- Rice – rather than just giving fruit & vegetable purees, mix it with mashed rice & give as lunch.
- Ghee – Add melted ghee to food offered in daytime.
- Include moongdal & toor dal at least once in a week
- I could see the food as such in baby’s poop. Is it normal ?
When you feed solids for the first time, it is very common to see the food as such in baby’s poop for initial few days. The tiny digestive system is just learning to digest solids. Poop pattern will improve as days pass on. Even after 8 to 10 months, you could see orange pulp, mustard seeds, lady’s finger seeds and some tiny food particles as such. This doesn’t mean indigestion. Also, poop colors will vary as per some food. Don’t panic as it is absolutely normal. Beetroot gives pink pee & poop, Greens/Keerai yield green poop, Finger millet/Ragi gives brown poop. Carrot & tomato yields orange tinges in the poop..
- Baby poops after every meal. Is it normal ?
My baby poops after every meal and I asked the same question to my Pediatrician here in USA and she told that it is completely normal. She said that it is very common among well-fed babies. As babies have tiny tummy, they can’t store more food and so pushes out when new food comes in and this will lessen as baby grows.
- Baby asking for breastmilk just after the meal. Is it ok ?
Offer few sips of water after every meal. After that, if baby asks for breastfeeding, you shall offer without wondering if it will hinder digestion or not. Breastmilk can be given at any time. When baby asks for it, just go for it !!
- Should I give iron-rich food for my baby?
Yes. For foods rich in Iron(like Spinach, Beetroot, Peas, Sweet potato, Eggs, Poha, Rice, Meats, Lentils(Paruppu) & Legumes(Payaru,sundal)), either add few drops(start with 3 and gradually increase to 10 drops) of lemon in the food just before feeding it, or mix few lemon drops in water that you will give after the meal or just give a piece of orange or any other vitamin-C rich fruits(Citrus fruits, Berries, Kiwi, Papaya), or if possible add vitamin-C rich veggies(Tomato, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Potato, Capsicum, Cabbage, Brussel sprouts) while making that food. Vitamin-C helps in better absorption of Iron by the body. Avoid milk(not breastmilk) & milk products(like paneer, curd) while offering iron-rich food as Calcium hinders iron-absorption. Note that ghee doesn’t have calcium and so it can be had with iron-rich foods.
- How to avoid constipation in babies / Constipation food ?
When introducing solids, it is common for babies to constipate. But, by following my food chart, my baby didn’t constipate.
- Do not feed solids to baby just after the sleep as that dry feed might constipate the baby. Always breastfeed just after the sleep.
- Start with one meal a day and then increase one meal every month. This slow and steady increase of solid food will not cause constipation.
- Breastfeed once in every 3 hours or on demand.
- Ragi, beetroot, egg, wheat, meat and other iron-rich foods might cause constipation. So, when you give such food, do offer fruits/veggies/greens(keerai) in the next meal.
- Give curd once or twice in a week for the probiotics in it to aid digestion.
- If baby is constipated, do not give banana as it makes the stool bulky.
- Fruits to include – Apple, guava, kiwi, plums, pear.
- Give soaked raisins water(link) in the morning and/or warm apple water(link) in the evening.
- What food to feed during diarrhea / Food during diarrhea / Diarrhea food ?
- What food to feed during fever / Food during fever / Fever food ?
- What food to feed during cold/ Food during cold / Cold food ?
- Rice with Tomato rasam(link)
- Rice with lamb rib bone soup(link)
- Rice with chicken soup(link)
- Tulsi tonic(link) without any sweetener for babies below one year.
- Ajwain/Oma water(link) without any sweetener for babies below one year.
- Fruits – Orange, Pineapple, Berries, Guava, Kiwi.
- Avoid banana when baby has cold, as it is said to increase phlegm. But pls note that eating banana doesn’t cause cold in babies.
- Can I use mixie to blend my baby’s food or How to mash baby’s food ?
A big “NO“. Use potato masher to mash the food instead of mixie as mixie makes the food too smooth like paste and does not give chance to experience different textures of food. Using mixie for a long time makes the baby to swallow food rather than trying to chew. I know they don’t have teeth to chew but still babies have strong gums and they can very well chew with it. Believe me, babies can chew from the very first week of solids. Do not underestimate their ability !! They use gums, tongue and saliva to mash their food. So, just mash the food with potato masher or soft foods like fruits and veggies(soft-cooked) can just be hand-mashed. Banana can be fork-mashed initially for smooth puree. When you start to temper food with mustard seeds, do not mash with mustard as it might be bitter. So, mash the rice separately(as below) and then just mix with the tempered curry. For sambar, mash dal separately and then add to tempered pan.
|Veg+Rice puree||Mashed Rice||Hand-mashed Veg(Cooked soft)|
- My baby doesn’t eat textured food / How to make baby eat textured food ?
If you have given smooth purees till date(say 9 months) and suddenly seeing my 10th month chart, you give chapathi or other textured food and complain that your baby is not eating, the problem is not with the baby. You have to gradually change textures for the baby to learn and adapt to new textures. I recommend potato masher to change textures. You can even make smooth purees just like mixie using potato masher. And then gradually change the textures of a food. Please read the answers to above & below questions for more clarity on the textures.
- How could a baby eat chapathi or dosa without teeth ?
When giving dosa or chapathi, for the first few weeks/months, I mix it very well with curd/curry/chutney and make it look like rice and feed the baby. Once the baby is ready to handle textures, you shall give small pieces dipped in side-dish. For plain wheat dosai or wheat banana dosai, from the start(6+ months) you shall just give small pieces of it and baby could easily eat it as it will be more moist & softer than chapathi or ordinary dosai. The same applies to stuffed(potato or sweetpotato) parathas as well as the parts with stuffings will be too soft and moist that it will melt when baby mixes the food with saliva using tongue.. Read the answers to above 2 questions as well.
- Can you suggest some finger foods ?
It is a good idea to offer finger foods to babies as they get a good connection with the food when they see, touch, eat & explore it. Some safer finger foods are,
- Soft-cooked vegetables like carrot fingers, cauliflower, broccoli. It should easily mash when you press between 2 fingers.
- Watermelon strips
- Plain whole wheat dosai or Whole wheat banana dosai. Give as small pieces.
- Stuffed parathas(potato or sweetpotato). Give as small pieces.
- What to be avoided till 1 year of age ?
- No salt and sugar below one year. Click here to know the reason.
- No cow’s milk below 1 year as they cause baby’s guts to bleed internally and this might result in iron deficiency/anemia. Still, curd can be given from 6 months as curd has Probiotics/good bacteria & baby could digest it easily.
- No Honey below 1 year as they might cause a condition called botulism(wiki link)
- No Poppy seeds/Khuskhus/Kasakasa below 1 year, as it is said to cause serious health hazards. Even after 1 year, give in limited quantity as it might cause drowsiness in kids.
- No tamarind below 1 year – To be honest, I don’t have any scientific reference for this. But, our elders say not to give tamarind below 1 year. I have read somewhere that it is not good for their growing bones & muscles. I avoided tamarind for my babies until their first birthday.
- When can I introduce ghee to my baby ?
We can introduce ghee from when we start solids for baby(after completing 6 months). Add little ghee to baby’s food for better absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Make sure ghee is melted & mixed for proper digestion.
- When can I introduce nuts to my baby ?
The recent guidelines insist to introduce allergy-prone foods including nuts as early as possible(between 6 to 8 months) to avoid allergies or lessen the impact of allergies, if any. You shall have a discussion about this with your Pediatrician & start giving. I started giving nuts(one by one) when my baby completed 7 months. Click here to goto relevant food chart to know how I included nuts in her food ?
- When can I introduce egg to my baby ?
Please ask you Pediatrician and decide as egg(especially white) is a very common allergen for babies. Many pediatricians have many different views on starting egg for babies. Some say to start with white, some say to go with yellow and some say both ! So, better discuss with your pediatrician & start giving egg accordingly as he/she is going to treat, if something goes wrong. But, keep an eye on your baby whenever you give egg below one year.
I gave my baby egg 3 times. 2 times when she completed 7 months and one time when she completed 8 months. When she ate for the first 2 times(1/4 of a whole boiled egg in the first time & half omelet in the second time), she was completely normal. But, third time, when she ate 1/4 of a whole boiled egg, she puked(vomited) in her nap. Then vomiting continued for 5 to 6 times in an hour. I gave her egg only based on the recommendation of my pediatrician in USA. After this incident, I stopped giving egg. My pediatrician asked to try after completing 10 months, but I am really scared to try it again. Many of my readers pinged me that they had the same symptoms even after trying for multiple times before 11 months. So, I didn’t want to take risk especially in this COVID situation.
- When can I introduce curd to my baby ?
Curd can be introduced in just few days after starting solids for babies(after completing 6 months).. Cow’s milk is not allowed but curd is allowed below 1 year. Curd has good probiotics which aids in digestion. Always use fresh curd for babies. Do not feed curd with iron-rich food as Calcium in it hinders proper iron absorption. For the same reason, do not feed curd daily. Just once or twice in a week is ok. I started giving curd rice after completing 7 months. Click here for that food chart. Read below to know how to make fresh curd at home ?
- How to make fresh curd at home ?
Boil milk until it rises up. Switch off and let it cool for sometime. It shouldn’t be completely cooled down. Once it is slightly warm, take out 1 or 2 tbsp of warm milk in a small bowl. Add 1 tsp(fresh curd) or 1/2 tsp(sour curd) curd culture(Urai/Pirai thayir) and mix well with the milk without any lumps. Pour this mixture into warm milk bowl and mix well again. Close with a lid and keep it undisturbed in a warm place overnight or 5 to 6 hours or until curdled. In cold climate, you shall keep it inside oven(switched off) with light on. In such case, keep the curd bowl far away from the light to avoid watery curd. If I want to give in the morning, I keep it late night so that it will be curdled in the morning. In summer days, I will refrigerate the curd in the early morning and keep it out one hour before feeding breakfast to baby. If I have to feed her curd for lunch, I just make it in the morning so that it will be freshly ready(in 5 to 6 hours) by the time I feed her lunch. Do not give sour curd to babies as it might affect their throat.
- How to make fresh Coconut milk at home ?
You shall find the recipe with stepwise pictures in this post(link) in steps 1 to 4. Follow the same.. Just add whole or powdered green cardamom/peeled dry ginger(sukku) along with coconut while grinding in step 2. Use baby’s drinking water(link) in extracting the milk. Use fresh coconut milk within 30 mins to 1 hour, after extracting.
If you are staying abroad and can’t get good fresh coconut, go for grated & frozen coconuts. I like “Daily delight” brand available in Indian stores in USA. “Deep” brand is also good. Once you buy this packet, before freezing it(it would have been slightly thawed as you bring from shop to home), break the pieces without opening the packet by just bending the packet at many places and then freeze it. When you wanted to use, you can pick up some broken pieces, immediately thaw it in microwave(defrost for 1 or 2 minutes, turning over in between). Allow it to cool, not more than 5 minutes. Immediately, extract the milk and the milk will be fresh & not oily at all. Use the same technique for grinding coconut to make chutneys and gravies.
- How to make idli batter to make soft idlis for babies ?
Soak(overnight) separately 4 cups rice, 1 cup urad dal, 1 cup poha/aval(white or red), 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp fenugreek seeds. If using mixie, reduce all measurement to half and make so that mixie doesn’t heat up much. Use ice water while grinding in mixie.
Wash poha before soaking. Wash rice and urad dal after soaking. First add fenugreek seeds with soaked water and grind for 5 mins until fluffy. Then add urad dal to fluffy fenugreek batter & grind together adding little water whenever required. It might take 15 to 30 mins depending on the grinder. It might take 5+ mins in mixie. Take out urad dal batter and add soaked poha with soaked water. Start the grinder and just keep on adding rice along with required water. Add little water whenever required. It might take 15 to 30 mins depending on the grinder. If using mixie, grind poha seaparately. It might take 2 to 3 mins in mixie to grind poha and 5 mins for rice. If you are a beginner, pls refer to this post(link) to see stepwise pics of grinding idli batter. I have used castor seeds instead of poha in this post but pls don’t use castor seeds for babies below 1 year. Replace 1 cup soaked poha/rice flakes for castor seeds.
I don’t add salt in baby’s idli or aappam batter. I just mix the batter well with hand(without salt) and take some portion for baby in a separate bowl. Then add salt to our batter only. Batter will ferment well with or without salt. While making idli, I will sprinkle flax seeds/pumpkin seeds powder over baby’s idli to differentiate saltless idli.
When I make idli batter, first 2 days I give idli and the third day I give dosa. I don’t use the batter for more than 3 days for baby. I give other foods until I grind next batch of fresh batter.
- How to make Ragi idli batter ?
1 cup Ragi flour, 1/2 cup idli rice, 1/4 cup urad dal, 1/4 cup poha, 1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds.. Soak everything separately overnight(except Ragi flour). Before grinding, first mix Ragi flour with little water in a bowl.. Grind each other ingredients separately(but urad & methi seeds together) in mixie and add to the bowl.. Mix well and ferment overnight. If using whole Ragi, soak it overnight and wash well. Other ingredients and measurements are same. You can even increase whole ragi to 3:1 ratio to idli rice. Use grinder and grind rice, poha and whole ragi together. Cook just like normal idli for 10 mins. Place the idli plate once water in idli pot comes to rolling boil.
- How to make Aapam/Aappam batter for babies ?
For aappam batter, as we are adding coconut to it, make sure you ferment for 6 to 8 hours only and not more than that as it will be spoiled. Refrigerate immediately after fermentation. If the climate is so hot, just 5 to 6 hours will do. Else, you can replace coconut with Poha/aval, ferment well and add ground coconut(or just coconut milk) to the batter at the time of making aappam. Click here for link to aappam batter recipe in my instagram post.
- How to make soft idiyapam/idiyappam for babies ?
Idiyappam flour is just like making millet flour in this post(link). Just replace Foxtail millet/Thinai with raw rice/Pacharisi. After grinding to flour, dry roast in low flame until hot to touch. Cool down and store in refrigerator. Boil water with lil oil, pour boiling water to rice flour and mix to form soft dough. Squeeze using idiyappam press over a cloth on idli plate. Once water in idlipot comes to rolling boil, place idli plates with idiyappam and steam just for 5 mins. Immediately transfer it to a hot pack. Too much of steaming will make idiyappam rubbery.
- Why do I give Matta rice for my baby or How to make Matta rice for babies ?
We eat Matta rice(click here for recipe) as it is not fully polished and so nutritious than white rice. So, I give the same rice to my baby as well. You can give whatever rice that you eat daily to your baby. If you wish to give Matta rice to your baby only, you shall refer this post(link). Start with porridge and then you shall drain the starch and use it as rice.
- Where to get Matta rice and what brand Matta rice I use ? / Matta rice brand
In India, you can find Matta rice in supermarkets and Rice shops. In USA, you can find it in all Indian shops or order online in Amazon. The brand I prefer is – Laxmi’s Kerala Kuthari Rice. You can also get Palakkadan Matta rice from any brand and cook just like Kuthari rice. I have also tried Double Horse brand’s Vadimatta, but it cooks faster and requires less(1 hour) or no soaking at all. Also, the latter one needs just 10 mins of cooking while the former ones demand 15 mins. But Vadimatta turns lil sticky & mushy(still suits when you have babies). See the recipe(link) for cooking and timing instructions. I have used Kerala Kuthari variety in this recipe link.
- How to cook white rice for baby ?
Just take the bottom rice for baby from pot or cooker that you make for your family. As rice in the bottom will be well-cooked, moist & lil mushy. You shall use potato masher to mash well the rice. If you opt to cook rice separately for baby, then wash & soak 1 or 2 tbsp of white rice for 20 mins. Again wash well and keep it in a bowl with 3 times water. For 1 tbsp rice, use 3 tbsp water. Close the bowl with a lid. Pour some(say 1/2 cup) water in a pressure cooker and place this closed bowl inside the cooker. Pressure cook in high flame for 1 whistle and simmer for 12 mins. Once pressure releases naturally, take out the bowl and the rice will be so softly cooked. First try this once and then adjust water and timings as per your need. This way, even if u add 1 tbsp rice, u will get soft cooked rice. With the same setup, u can reheat the rice(without adding water) in the night for 3 mins. Choose boiled rice(Pulungal arisi) over raw rice(Pacharisi) for babies as giving raw rice daily might cause stomach pain.
- How to cook vegetables for baby ?
- Best option – You can steam the veggies in pressure cooker by placing wet vegetables(or just sprinkle little water) inside a closed bowl, and lil water outside the bowl. Keep just little water outside so that the bowl doesn’t float in water. Pressure cook for 3 to 6 whistles depending on the vegetables and how soft you need..
- Next option – Cook closed in saucepan for 10 to 15 mins depending on the vegetables and how soft you need.. Carrot & beetroot, grate and cook for faster cooking.
- What spinach or keerai can I give to baby ?
Till completing 10 months, I recommend only palak, araikeerai or leaves of thandu keerai. After completing 10 months, pasalai, vendhaya keerai. After completing 1 year, you can go with all other types. If you are in abroad & couldn’t get the above said ones, then just give spinach till 1 year. Then you can go for Kale and other varieties. Do not give keerai in night-time at any age as it is hard to digest at night.
- What fish can I give to baby ?
You shall select any fish with less or no bones. Don’t opt for big predator fishes. Pomfret/Vaaval is the best fish to start with. Indian Salmon, Ooli/Oola, Paarai, Murrel, Vela meen are other options in India. In abroad, u can go with Salmon(Wild-caught or Norwegian fresh water ones), Golden Pompano/Pomfret, Bronzini/Sea bass, Striped bass, White bass, Trout. Avoid Sockeye Salmon as it has strong flavor. Atlantic wild-caught salmon is a good choice.
- What fruits and vegetables can I give to baby ?
I have used fresh fruits available here in USA. Don’t opt for the same fruits. Opt for fresh seasonal fruits available in your locality. In India, you can give more fruits like chickoo(Sapota), guava(white & pink), papaya, Kamala orange, melons, ice apple/nungu(link). Same applies to vegetables as well. As per recent guidelines, you shall introduce all fruits & vegetables once you start solids(after completing 6 months). Choose well-ripened fruits, remove seeds(if any) & skin(if its hard to chew), chop into small pieces & hand-mash(if required) while feeding. You can give all fruits except Jackfruit as it can cause choking hazard. You can give smooth jackfuit puree though. Mango can be given only in season. Make sure it is ripened at home to avoid chemical ripening methods which might upset baby’s tummy. As Mango has too much fiber & also generates heat, give in smaller quantity. I just avoided Yam varieties(as it might cause tongue-itching) in vegetables. I gave all other fruits and vegetables, one by one. Click here to read more about which banana variety to choose ?
- What oil I use to cook my baby’s food ?
Mostly I use Sesame oil and Coconut oil. Occasionally I use Olive oil(For pongal & grills) & groundnut oil(rarely when I don’t have sesame oil). Click here to know how to make coconut oil at home for babies ?
- When can I introduce Millets to my baby ?
Finger Millet/Ragi is the first millet that we introduce from the first week of solids.. We first give Ragi milk porridge(link) until baby completes 7 months. Then we start Sprouted Whole Ragi porridge(link) till 1 year. We can also feed fermented Ragi idli after completing 7 months. Scroll up to find how to prepare Ragi idli batter ?
Millets other than Ragi are recommended only after completing 11 months or when the baby starts to walk without support, whichever is earlier. Many others recommend Millets after 6 months but in our family we do start late as mentioned and my Indian Pediatrician too suggested the same. The call is yours !! When you start other millets, first give in the form of idli, as fermented & steam-cooked millets are ideal for babies. Such form is easy to digest, easy to accept by the body and the nutrients are multiplied. Give only for breakfast & not for dinner. After 1 year, you can give millets in the form of Sathumaavu(link)/Multigrain porridge(link), khichdi(link), Pongal(link), Dumplings(link), Fryums(link), Ragi Koozh(link), Kambu koozh(link), Buttermilk(link).
- How could babies eat bland food without salt or sweet ?
Until you introduce salt & sweet, baby is not aware of it’s taste. Both my babies ate such food in their first year. Both my babies ate well & were chubby in the first year. Food need not be bland as we can add other spices like roasted cumin powder and more(see answers to below question). Whenever babies eat less or shows disinterest in food, people around you will blame on the salt-less food. I bet you will witness the same scenario again in few days, even after adding salt in the food !! Scroll up to read more about baby’s food quantity and food strike. Never be tempted to add salt or sweet to baby’s food below one year. Click here to know the reason.
- What spices to add at which month ?
Below is the list of spices & other items that I introduced to my baby at respective months.. I have not given the list of fruits & vegetables as we can give any available fresh ones after completing 6 months.
- After completing 6 months –
- Spices – Asafoetida, Turmeric powder and Roasted cumin/jeera powder.
- Other items – Oil, ghee, moong(Paasiparuppu), toor(Thuvaram paruppu) & urad dal(Ulundhu), tomato, spinach(keerai).
- Porridges – Ragi/Finger millet milk, Barley, Poha/Aval, Wheat milk, Sago+Urad dal
- New food items – Fruits, Cooked veggies, Purees, Porridges, Kichdis, Dal rice/Paruppu sadham.
- Food chart – Click here for complete food chart with pics and recipes.
- After completing 7 months –
- Spices – Pepper powder, Cardamom.
- Other items – Ginger, garlic, onion, curd, mint, curry leaves, coriander leaves, green gram(Pachai payaru), lemon, orange, coconut milk, coconut.
- Nuts & seeds – Almond, Peanut, Pista, Flaxseeds, Pumpkin seeds.
- Non-veg – Egg(Discuss with your Dr. before giving), Chicken soup.
- Porridges – Whole Ragi/Finger millet, Whole black urad dal.
- New food items – Curd rice, idli, dosai, ven pongal, idiyappam, aappam, white rava upma, wheat rava kichdi, wheat dosa, ragi idli, chapathi.
- Food chart – Click here for complete food chart with pics and recipes.
- After completing 8 months –
- Spices – Mustard, Cinnamon, Ajwain(Omam)(can give oma water after completing 6 months), little amounts of homemade red chilli powder or sambar powder(link) & green chilli(without seeds & just use for flavoring. Do not grind and add).
- Nuts & seeds – Walnuts, Sesame seeds, Melon seeds.
- Non-veg – Fish, Mutton soup.
- Porridges – Whole wheat, Oats, Lotus seeds/ Phool makhana.
- New food items – Paniyaram, Poha/aval pongal.
- Food chart – Click here for complete food chart with pics and recipes.
- After completing 9 months –
- Spices – Cloves, bay leaf, dry ginger(sukku)(can add sukku after completing 7 months).
- New food items – Aloo paratha, Upma from family pot(before adding salt), coconut chutney.
- Non-veg – Goat liver & Mutton(Planned to give this month but couldn’t get fresh ones & so gave next month)
- Food chart – Click here for complete food chart with pics and recipes.
- Spices – Cloves, bay leaf, dry ginger(sukku)(can add sukku after completing 7 months).
- After completing 10 months –
- Other items – Cottage cheese/Paneer(Could have given after completing 8 months), chick peas/sundal(both black & white), cow peas/thattha payaru.
- Non-veg – Chicken.
- New food items – Sweet potato paratha, Ragi puttu.
- After completing 11 months –
- Other items – Millets, Rajma/kidney beans.
- New food items – Cutlets.
- After completing 12 months(1 year) –
- Spices – Salt, tamarind, green chilli(Ground or whole)
- Other items – Cow’s milk, Honey(I will give after completing 2 years), Cane sugar(Naatu sakkarai), Jaggery(Vellam), Palm jaggery(Karuppatti), Coconut sugar, Dates, Figs.
- After completing 6 months –
- How to include cow’s milk after 1 year ?
After 1 year, first start including cow milk while preparing food like Oats porridge(link), Multigrains porridge(link), Pongal(add half water & half milk). If you are breastfeeding, you shall start cow’s milk as a direct drink when baby is nearing 2 years. Else, there is no necessary to give cow’s milk(as a drink) before that. Again, the call is yours !
- How to breastfeed baby in the night without disturbing our sleep?
I feel co-sleeping with baby and breastfeeding in side-lying position is the best option. If you don’t bother about it much, you can easily feed without being disturbed from sleep, in half woke-up mode and doze off again so easily.. This is a natural process for both baby & mom.. So just go easy with it !! Don’t stress it out !!
- In night time, baby wants to latch on the nipple for longer time. How to get rid of it ?
Co-sleeping with baby and nursing the baby to sleep is very common among Indian moms as this is the easiest way to make baby sleep & moms become more comfortable with feeding in side-lying position without affecting mom’s sleep. In such case, once baby wakes up, baby will always seek for a latch, both for soothing & to go back to sleep. Some babies develop the habit of sleeping with the latch for a longer time making moms much uncomfortable to maintain the position. Here, I would like to give a suggestion that worked well for both my babies.
A sleep-transition towel ! Select a breathable cotton towel. If the baby is below 7 months, you shall swaddle the baby with the towel. For older babies, you shall offer it as such. Do give the towel only when making the baby to sleep. Don’t offer the towel in the playtime or any other time other than bed time. This towel will be their sleep partner, giving comfort & soothing that they are looking for. Once they are used to it, it will help in fast transition to sleep. Initially, sleep near the baby until baby goes to deep sleep. Put the towel on baby’s face. Let the nose be free so that you don’t suffocate the baby. But, make the baby smell the towel. Baby will create a unique bonding with that smell. Gently, rub baby’s eyes with the towel. The towel should also touch baby’s mouth as baby rests the lips on the towel to compensate the act of suckling. This worked like magic with my babies. Just shared this idea as it worked for me. Ask experts for better idea !! Warning – My first one used her towel till her 7th birthday 🙂 I take the towel with me during travels. Now, my second one sleeps near me with her own sleep towel and asks for breastfeeding, once in 3 hours in the night.
- How to wean off breastmilk / Weaning tips ?
Give breastmilk at least till baby’s 2nd birthday. Some people might threaten you that weaning after 2 years is too difficult. Some might even add that breastmilk becomes less nutritious after 1 year. Hearing these, you might be tempted to wean early after 1st birthday. Please don’t lend your ears to such stories. The best asset that you could offer your child is breastfeeding till 2 years. It gives them a stronger base for lifetime health. It also helps in brain development & in building immunity.
When the baby is 2 or 3 months shy of 2 years, you shall start cow’s milk as a drink in the evening. After baby’s second birthday, bring down the breastfeeding frequency from 4,3,2 & finally just 1 in the night time. Give cow’s milk in the night & wean off that last 1 feeding as well. This way, you won’t have any blocked ducts and baby could easily wean off 1 feeding rather than stopping 4 altogether. To wean off that 1 feed, make baby to sleep with ur mom or MIL or baby’s dad. I just placed a pillow near me and my baby so that she is not attracted by my smell. You can have cow’s milk in a flask & offer to baby(in a glass) if baby cries in the night. You shall even try sleep transition towel technique(Read answer to above question to know about this).
- How do I plan baby meals daily ?/ Do I cook separately for baby ?
I just plan tomorrow’s menu tonight with the available veggies and fruits. I plan for our family meal and try to align baby’s meal with ours, so the effort is easy. Cleaning, chopping, pressure cooking(dal, channa & similar), grinding(coconut,chutney & similar), tempering – these all can be done in common for all and could use the same for baby’s meal, with little alterations. Some food like idli(but different batter), wheat dosai, chapathi(I don’t add salt for us too), rice, chutney(just grinding is different) can be made in common for baby and the whole family. But for curries, I prefer making it separately for baby below one year as I find it is easier to make it parallelly for her & the spice control is easier than making it for all and then altering spices for the family. In my baby food charts(link), in most of the recipes, I have mentioned how to make food common for both baby & adults..
- How do I manage cooking and all household works without any help? / My daily routine
As I am living in USA, I have to do all household works by myself.. My hubby helps me in the weekends.. I just wanted to give one simple tip. Work when baby sleeps 🙂 I personally feel this is efficient & stress-free. When I get up late, I could see that the same work is extended to so many hours, as we have to parallelly manage baby.
- I get up at least 2 hours(6 AM) before my kids wake up(8.30 AM) and finish my morning routines & cooking. Then all time with baby..I have my breakfast by 8.30 AM and baby mostly wakes after that.
- With baby by my side, some easy works I can do like folding clothes, clearing toys, teaching to my elder kid & some instagram time.
- When baby takes her mid-morning nap, I do cleaning, clearing laundry or any other pending household works. And I finish my lunch(12.15 PM) before baby wakes up(12.30 PM).
- When baby takes post-lunch nap, I work for my Website or Youtube channel(link). If chapathi is for dinner, I make it in this nap time.
- My hubby takes both kids out for walking in the evening for half an hour and that’s when I make my dinner(6 to 6.30 PM). Then, he goes out for Tennis after 7 & returns back when we are almost slept.
- After our dinner(around 7 PM), I take the kids out(half an hour from 8 PM) for some fresh air. Baby in the stroller and my first kid riding in her cycle. In summer, sunlight will be there past 9 PM.
- I sleep with the kids by 9 before 10.
- Hubby clears the vessels in the night and puts in the dishwasher.
- In the weekend, when hubby is at home, I grind batter, porridge powders for baby, masala powders for home. I clean the toilets & take hair bath on one day & give hair bath to both the kids on the other day. If time permits, I make some snacks for my elder kid. Weekends are usually busy compared to weekdays..
- The time spent with baby is not considered as work as that is my relaxing time.. I enjoy giving her bath, feeding her, playing with her.. If baby work is not considered as work, you can enjoy your time with the baby 🙂 Happy baby sitting/running 🙂
- Do you have an Youtube channel ?
Yes, I do. “Tamil Samayal – Maurai to Kovai” Click here for link. I am yet to upload baby food recipes in it. But, will do in future.