The care you put to your child during the infancy impacts his health throughout the lifetime. In today’s rush world, you may be enticed to use ready-made or quick homemade baby foods.
But, keep in mind while making your own baby food, a child is not developed enough, for the first 6 months, to digest any hard food and must be kept on breastfeeding.
Some figure-consciousness is also responsible for putting the child on baby foods much earlier than it actually should be.
During the first 6 months, your child needs carbohydrate as the main energy source. But, at the same time, his digestion system can process only the liquid diet. This can be fulfilled with breastfeeding only.
Remember, your child is not ready to digest fibres or other nutrients available in a baby food. So avoid such meals. Otherwise, the baby will be hit with iron-deficiency.
On the other hand, once the baby crosses 6 months age, breastfeeding alone is not enough to fulfil his energy needs. You must give him some other foods as well so as he grows physically and so does his digestive system.
You can make some baby foods yourself but only if you have enough sanitation at home and have arrangements to mash and mince. Remember, your child is ready to swallow but not ready to chew so a proper mashing and mincing is a must.
Make sure there is no hard piece in the meal. For example, Bananas and Avocados can be mashed well at home and are full of vital nutrients.
If you want an easy and quick alternative, there are many ready-made baby food supplements available in the market. But do not choose them without consulting your baby’s physician.
Read the usage and dosage instructions well before preparing them. Additionally, make sure the supplement is approved by the FDA or equivalent medical authority in your country.
No matter, If you opt for home-made baby foods or ready-made supplements. Some precautions must be followed as outlined below:
Feed him once in a day
Your child is exposing to the new foods for the first time. He might have developed an allergy to some of the foods. So, during the start, feed him once in a day. Also, try different foods keeping a gap of one-week minimum between two different foods. Once he shows interest in some foods and doesn’t show any sign of allergy, you can feed him 2-3 times a day.
Choose from local
Your child has grown in an environment of your locality. So it is important to choose only local grown ingredients as his food. Do not offer him foreign-imported foods. Moreover, it is equally important to feed him with seasonal foods. It is even better if you can find an organic store in your area.
Do not make a larger quantity
You must make a fresh meal every time you are making your own baby food to feed your child. Do not make a larger quantity so as to store for later feeding. Also, do not buy the raw ingredients in high quantity to store them for long in a freezer. It is best that you do a fresh purchasing every day at a local store.
You must keep a variation in the feeding menu. Your child is at a stage where he needs protein, fibers, carbohydrate, vitamins etc. So as a general rule, fill your child’s diet chart with fruits, vegetables, juices, and cereals. Additionally, do not forget to add enough water intake throughout the day.
Take extra care
Your child is not in the habit of chewing or swallowing well. So some extra care is needed so as the food doesn’t stick in his throat causing choking. As a better practice, lift his head and upper back up supporting with a hand or a pile of pillows.
Let him be independent
Once your child is grown as old as 9-12 months, he will insist on grabbing the food from your plate and try eating himself. Let him be independent but make sure you don’t offer him food in steel plates or steel spoons. Use silicon or plastic spoons that are tender on the gums. Let him eat himself but keep supervising him until he finishes.
You must have patience. Babies take a lot of time to get even one teaspoon of food. Don’t make a rush. Let him be accustomed to the new foods. Forcing him to eat may arise a sense of neglection in his mind and he will shy away every time you try to feed him.
Time to stop feeding
Once the child sways his face away or clenches the teeth, it’s an indication that he has had enough food and you must stop feeding him. Do not force him to overeat. Also remember, don’t continue to feed him if he feels asleep.
Make it fun
Make baby feeding a fun activity. Babies are found to mimic their parents or guardians. Instead of forcing them to eat, just pretend as you have taken a spoonful of his food, roll your lips as you have enjoyed the meal and it’s delicious. In no time, he will react and grab the next teaspoon.
Wear a bib
Last but not least, don’t forget to wear a bib on your baby or you will spend time washing and cleaning or busy making your own baby food. Additionally, food on clothes may expose the child to some allergens. Hygienic is the top priority while making your own baby food.
Many parents include the finely minced meat in the baby’s meal to fulfill his protein needs. You must avoid this by the time your baby reaches 12 months age. After the age of 12 months, you may add some even harder foods like sweet potatoes, meat, and biscuits. But make sure they are without chilies or other spices.
To add some taste, you may pour some salt on the food but only a pinch or two according to the food.
As a quick summary, all you need to do is choosing the fresh ingredients, preparing the meal in a hygienic environment and making the feeding a fun activity for the baby. Additionally, you must be in a constant contact with your baby’s physician so as to avoid any complications.
As a final note, you must keep in mind while making your own baby food, adding other baby foods to your child’s routine doesn’t mean you should stop breastfeeding. For the first 6 months, breastfeeding is a must. But it is even better to continue the breastfeeding for first 12 months which I’m telling you to remember while making your own baby food.