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Weaning Foods: What, Why and Which ones are the Best for Infant?

Weaning food meaning in simple words is- a food item used to make a baby transition from milk and start with solids. But is that it? What other role does a weaning diet play during your baby’s growing stage? And what food should you introduce, in which form and when? Let’s find answers to all your questions in this blog.

What is Weaning and What are Weaning Foods?

Weaning is the process of progressively shifting a new born from solely being breastfed or being fed formula to a more varied and texture-rich diet. It usually begins at around six months of age when the baby's digestive system is more advanced. 

Food for weaning is specifically chosen to offer vital nutrients and facilitate the baby's transition to solids. Moreover, weaning foods often have minimal allergenic risk, are soft, and are simple to digest. 

Pureed fruits and vegetables (such as apples, carrots, or bananas), infant cereals, mashed or pureed meats, yoghurts, and cooked grains like rice or oats are typically included in a weaning diet chart.

However, different types of weaning food options are also used as baby-weaning food depending on a parent's needs and cultural preferences.

Why Consider Baby Weaning Food?

You must be wondering why weaning food for infants is necessary. Yes, obviously it’s a way to make them used to the food they’ll grow up eating instead of milk, but what else? 

Check out these points to know why your baby needs a weaning diet:

  • Offers vital elements, such as iron and zinc, that may be lacking in breast milk or formula on their own.
  • Develops motor skills and oral coordination as the baby learns to chew and swallow different textures.
  • Encourages a wide range of tastes and aids in avoiding future picky eating patterns.
  • Expands the baby's sensory experience and encourages food absorption by introducing various flavours and textures.
  • Reduces the risk of allergies and food aversions by gradually introducing potentially allergenic foods under controlled circumstances.
  • Supports the development of a strong immune system through exposure to different food antigens.
  • Encourages satiety as the infant switches from liquid to solid foods, giving them a feeling of fullness and contentment.

Related - Know the essential steps to introduce solids to your infant.

Types of Weaning Diet for Different Weaning Stages

Weaning is often divided into three stages: 

  1. Introducing pureed foods first, 
  2. Moving on to mashed or chopped textures, and 
  3. Finally introducing finger foods. 

The weaning period refers to the different time frames when solid foods are gradually introduced.

It is crucial to feed weaning foods that are suitable for the baby's stage since doing so ensures that they have the right texture, nutritional value, and developmental compatibility. This promotes a smooth transition and gives the baby the freedom to safely experiment with and adjust to various food consistencies.

That’s why we have made the job easier for you and listed down different food items you can feed you baby during different weaning stages. Have a look:

Around 6 Months

It's best to begin with simple, easily digestible foods when giving solid foods to a baby at the age of 6 months. Check out this list for the recommended food items in your baby’s weaning food chart:

Single-grain cereals (Rice or Oatmeal)

These cereals are often the first solid foods introduced to babies because they are easily digestible and gentle on the stomach. They provide essential nutrients like iron and are typically available in powdered form. 

Mix them with breast milk, formula, or water to create a thin, smooth consistency.

Dal Ka Pani (Boiled Pulse Water)

Dal ka pani, also known as lentil water, is a nutritious and easily digestible food for babies. It provides protein, fibre, and essential minerals. To prepare it, boil a small amount of dal (such as moong or masoor dal) with water until well cooked and strain the liquid. 

This thin consistency can be offered as a soup or mixed with rice cereal for a slightly thicker texture.

Fruits (Bananas and Apples)

Fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Bananas and avocados are soft and easily mashed or pureed, making them suitable for early weaning. Apples can be cooked and pureed to create a smooth texture. 

Homemade Yogurt

Yoghurt is a good source of protein, calcium, and probiotics. Start with plain, whole-milk yoghurt without added sugar or flavours. Offer a small amount of smooth yoghurt to the baby, gradually increasing the quantity as tolerated. 

Baby Oatmeal or Rice Cereal

Baby oatmeal or rice cereal is a fortified option that provides additional iron and other nutrients. They can be mixed with breast milk, formula, or water to create a thin, smooth consistency. You may also mix dates power in the oatmeal and rice cereal for better flavour.

Around 7 to 9 Months

You can continue feeding your baby with the above-mentioned food items, and change consistency. However, in addition to the above weaning foods, you may start including the following as well:

Soft Cooked Vegetables (Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli)

Soft-cooked vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. They help in developing chewing skills and provide essential nutrients. Steam or boil the vegetables until tender and mash or cut them into small pieces for easy chewing. You can also offer them as finger foods for self-feeding.

Fruits (Pears, Peaches, Mangoes)

Fruits are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and natural sweetness. Pears, peaches, and mangoes can be steamed or cooked until soft and then mashed or pureed. They can also be cut into small, soft pieces for babies to pick up and self-feed.

Pulses, Beans and Oats 

Pulses, beans and oats are excellent sources of protein, fibre, and essential minerals. Cook lentils or chickpeas until soft and mash or puree them. You can also offer mashed or cooked beans in different recipes, such as bean purees or mildly spiced dals.

Soft Shredded Chicken or Fish

Introducing small amounts of lean meats like chicken or fish can provide additional protein and essential nutrients. Cook the meat until tender and shred it into small, manageable pieces. Make sure the texture is appropriate for the baby's chewing abilities.

Around 10 to 12 Months

When introducing weaning foods to a baby around 10 to 12 months old, it's important to offer a variety of nutrient-rich foods that are appropriate for their stage of development. In addition to the above-mentioned foods, you can add the following food items to your baby’s weaning diet chart, have a look:

Homemade Khichdi

Khichdi is a nutritious one-pot meal that combines rice and lentils with vegetables. It provides carbohydrates, protein, and essential nutrients. Cook rice and any dal of your choice with a small amount of ghee, turmeric, and salt. 

Add mashed vegetables like carrots, peas, or potatoes for added nutrition if you like.

Soft Idli or Dosa

As you may know, these traditional Indian dishes made from fermented rice and lentil batter are easily digestible and provide a good mix of carbohydrates and proteins. Steam idlis or make dosas with a soft texture, then cut them into small pieces for the baby to hold and eat.

Soft cheese

Offer small amounts of soft, pasteurized cheese like mild cheddar or mozzarella. Cheese provides calcium and protein. Cut it into small, age-appropriate pieces for safe consumption.

Ragi (finger millet) porridge

Ragi is a nutritious grain high in calcium and iron. Cook ragi flour with water or milk to make a smooth porridge. It is a great alternative to rice-based porridge and can be introduced in a mashed or pureed form initially.

Over 12 Months

By the age of 12 months, babies can typically handle a wider variety of foods and textures. Here are some weaning foods that can be introduced to babies over 12 months:

Soft Fruits (Berries, Grapes, Kiwi)

Soft fruits like berries, grapes, and kiwi are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Offer them in small, bite-sized pieces that the baby can easily pick up and eat. They provide natural sweetness and encourage self-feeding skills.

Cooked Vegetables (Green Beans, Peas, Cauliflower)

Cooked vegetables offer a wide range of nutrients and fibre. Steam or boil vegetables until they are soft but not mushy. Cut them into small pieces or mash them slightly, allowing the baby to explore different textures and practice chewing.

Whole Grains (Oats, Brown Rice, Whole Wheat Pasta)

Whole grains are a good source of carbohydrates, fibre, and energy. Cook oats, brown rice, or whole wheat pasta until tender. Offer them in small, bite-sized pieces or as a side dish alongside other food. You can also incorporate them into soups or make soft, cooked porridge.

Soft Cooked Eggs

Eggs are a nutritious source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Soft boil or scramble eggs until fully cooked and offer them in small, bite-sized pieces. Ensure that the texture is appropriate for the baby's chewing abilities.

Nut Butter

Nut butter like almond butter or peanut butter (if there are no allergies) can be introduced in small amounts. Spread a thin layer on whole grain bread or offer it as a dip for fruits or vegetables. Nut butters provide healthy fats, protein, and other essential nutrients.

Finger Foods (Toast, Crackers, Soft Baked Goods)

Offer age-appropriate finger foods that are soft and easy to chew, such as toasted bread, whole grain crackers, or soft baked goods like muffins or pancakes. These foods encourage self-feeding and improve fine motor skills.

Bottom Lines:

Now that you know all this, start your baby’s weaning diet today. However, introduce new foods one at a time and watch for any allergies or intolerances. Continue to offer a balanced variety of foods to meet the baby's nutritional needs. 

However, if you find it a task and are still confused, we are here for your rescue. Check out Starting Solids for the Baby plan that offers 5 comprehensive sessions. Get in touch with us for further details. 

Visit Newmi Care to learn about their weaning sessions!

Frequently Asked Questions on Weaning Foods-

Although we have covered all the necessary information related to baby-weaning food, here are some frequently asked questions along with their answers for your convenience:

1. Weaning should be started at the age of?

Weaning should be started at around 6 months of age when babies show signs of readiness and can sit with support.

2. What are the risks of early weaning?

The risks of early weaning include inadequate nutrition, increased susceptibility to infections, impaired growth and development, and a higher risk of certain chronic diseases later in life.

3. What is the best way to stop breastfeeding?

Introducing weaning foods is the best way to stop breastfeeding. You can start with pureed apples, bananas, vegetables, etc.

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