Your pregnancy days have been filled with nervousness but also tremendous anticipation for the arrival of your little angel. Now, the days of waiting and thinking are over, and the baby has finally arrived! One of the most important tasks you’ll be doing day in and day out is feeding the baby. Now, as a new mom, it’s important to know that your baby’s dietary needs are constantly evolving with time. To help you keep up with that, we’ve put together a timeline of what to feed your infant in the first 12 months.
Feed the baby every 2 to 3 hours or on demand. As the baby’s digestive tract is still developing your baby must exclusively be on a breast milk or formula-only diet recommended by your paediatrician, for the first four months.
Now that your baby has gained some weight, grown up a bit and can hold its head up and sit upright, it’s ready for solid foods. While in the previous months your baby would need to be fed every other hour or up to 12 times a day, now you may need to feed it only about 2-3 times a day. You can now upgrade to pureed food.
The diet should majorly include:
a. Grains: Iron-fortified plain baby cereal with barley, oatmeal or rice as the major ingredient, which can be mixed with breast milk.
b. Fruits: Pureed bananas, avocado and steamed pears or apples (make sure that the fruits aren’t lumpy, as bigger bits tend to get stuck in the digestive tract).
c. Veggies: Pureed sweet potato.
d. Dairy: Continue with breast milk or formula milk.
Feeding Tip: If your baby refuses to eat the purees, take a break of 2-3 days and try again. Don’t rush into new foods, introduce them one by one.
As your baby’s appetite is increasing, you could stop with the pureeing and move on to foods with thicker and lumpier texture, along with some finger foods that’ll require a bit of chewing. This can be done 2-3 times a day.
a. Grains: Iron-fortified plain baby cereal with barley, oatmeal or rice as the major ingredient. You can also feed them high fibre biscuits broken into tiny bite-sized pieces, and whole wheat bread cut into tiny pieces.
b. Fruits: Cooked and mashed apricot, peaches, seedless grapes and mangos.
c. Meats: Cooked and pureed chicken, deboned fish or tofu.
d. Dairy: You can feed the baby up to 600-750 ml of breast milk or formula per day. Try adding Greek yoghurt (no cow’s milk till age 1) to the pureed mix, if the baby refuses to eat the puree by itself.
e. Liquids: Introduce a few sips of water.
Now your baby will begin to put everything in its mouth, will constantly showcase how well they can move their jaw, will pick objects by thumb and forefinger and will be ready to eat more textured foods.
a. Grains: Keep feeding the baby iron-fortified plain baby cereal, which can be mixed with either breast milk or formula. You can introduce porridge into the diet.
b. Fruits: All fruits in small bite-sized chunks can be added including berries like blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.
c. Veggies: All veggies, cooked, and fed in tiny bite-sized pieces. Green leafy vegetables are a must for growing babies, if your baby doesn’t like the texture puree the veggies and mix them with the foods they like.
d. Protein: Cooked pulses like lentils, peas, beans served with tofu, eggplant or cauliflower. If you prefer non-vegetarian food, then pair it with finely minced meat (chicken or lamb). Also, fish mixed with rice porridge and some chopped veggies would work as a complete meal.
e. Dairy: Feed breast milk or formula first thing in the morning and right before bedtime (around 480ml in total). Serve Greek yoghurt either plain or mixed with fresh fruits.
f. Liquids: Feed water in sipper-cups.
Now your baby is old enough to have food at the table along with the adults in the family, and should be fed 3 to 4 meals a day.
a. Grains: Everything, including pasta and cooked quinoa.
b. Fruits: Everything, including cherries (pitted and halved, lengthwise).
c. Veggies: All veggies cooked well, and served as puree or in bite-sized pieces.
d. Protein: Everything, including eggs and honey.
e. Dairy: Now is a good time to switch from breast milk to full-fat cow’s milk.
f. Liquids: A bottle of water and fresh fruit juice.
* Babies are to be introduced to solid food only after 4 months of age; however they should not be delayed beyond 6 months of age.
* Iron-fortified cereal (rice or oats) are a must for the baby to fight anaemia.
* Milk should still remain a staple part of the baby’s diet.
Feel free to keep your kitchen stocked well beforehand – right in your last few weeks of pregnancy, so you’re not running around last minute. If you found this information helpful, do share it with your fellow new-parents and if we missed anything, do tell us all about it in the comments!