In our Indian culture, every milestone of a baby's life is celebrated like a festival with a lot of food, fun, and all family members present to bless the baby. The ceremony where the baby is fed solid for the first time, popularly known as Annaparashan, is also one such big milestone celebration for babies. Traditionally as soon as the baby turns six months old, parents and medical experts advise preparing a 6 month baby food chart and starting solid food.
But, starting solid food does not entirely depend on age. So, although in most cases, the 6 month baby food chart is the standard that is followed, it sometimes depends on the child's readiness. This article will discuss the 6 month baby food chart and the prerequisites to start the solids journey.
When To Start Solids
Listed below are the signs that will let you know that your baby is ready to start the solids journey (1) :
- ▪ Your baby should be able to sit unsupported on their own.
- ▪ Your baby should have gained neck control.
- ▪ They can bring objects held in their hand to their mouth.
- ▪ They open their mouths when something to eat is offered.
- ▪ They can swallow the food.
- ▪ Your baby can hold things in their hands or fingers.
If your baby meets all the above criteria, they are ready to start the solid food journey. So, start working on their 6 month baby food chart and get set, go!
Do You Need To Continue Breastfeeding After 6 Months?
Experts advise that a child should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months. This is because all the nutrition your baby needs is present in the breast milk and with proper Breastfeeding Techniques, you will be able to provide enough for your baby. But when you start the journey of solid foods and follow a 6 month baby food chart, your baby will not begin consuming a full tummy solid meal from day 1. It takes months to sometimes even up to 1+ year for a child to start properly eating solid meals just like adults do.
Thus, experts advise continuing breastfeeding the child until at least two and beyond if needed. However, breastfeeding toddlers is very common, and once they start consuming meals at regular intervals, you can slowly wean your baby off the breast milk. But, until their first birthday, it is not safe to introduce animal milk to babies. Thus, introducing solids and continuing breast milk is the safest practice.
Best Foods To Add In 6 Month Baby Food Chart
You need to start offering solid foods to your baby two to three times a day at this stage. Rest all meals can be breast milk or formula milk till the solids become a regular part of their meal. Until around 8 months, your baby will still be just learning to explore the textures of the food, play with it, mouth it, taste it, but eat hardly a few bites. So, here is a list of the best foods to introduce to your child as a part of their 6 month baby food chart:
- ▪ Steamed or un-steamed fruits – One of the safest foods all parents and paediatricians start with is fruits. Mash a banana, steam an apple, and see what they like and can digest easily in the beginning. You do not need to puree them; just lightly mash them with a fork, and your baby will be able to eat them easily. Avoid big chunks as they can be a choking hazard. Fruits such as chikoo, avocado, peaches and pear can also be given.
- ▪ Seasonal Vegetables – Steam vegetables and cut them into bite-sized pieces or mash them lightly with a fork. You do not need to add spices to the food of kids this age. Vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, guard, and sweet potatoes are the safest to begin with.
- ▪ Rice Porridge – Rice is the lightest cereal for kids to digest. Rice khichdi, daal rice, and unsweetened kheer are all amazing, fulfilling, rice-based items that your child will love. Add some boiled, mashed veggies for extra taste.
- ▪ Curd – A good source of calcium, cord and yoghurt is an excellent way to introduce spoons to kids and give them nutritional food.
Foods To Avoid In 6 Month Baby Food Chart
Just like foods that are preferred and recommended for babies who start solids, there are foods that must be available at this stage. Here are such foods that you must avoid (2):
- ▪ Salt
- ▪ Sugar
- ▪ Honey
- ▪ Saturated Fats
- ▪ Whole Nots & Peanuts
- ▪ Soft Cheeses
- ▪ Animal Milk
- ▪ Raw or Runny Eggs
- ▪ Sea Food
- ▪ Packaged Food
Beware Of The Allergies
You may introduce a particular food category, and your child experiences an allergic reaction to it. Therefore, it is essential to check what constantly and when your baby is eating for the first few months to identify any underlying food allergies.
If your child experiences fever, vomiting, loose motions, body rash or non-stop crying after consuming any food item, talk to your doctor and identify the cause. Do not offer the same food item for the next three days, and before you consult the doctor and tell them your observation.
Starting solid foods is the beginning of an excellent era for your child. The current relationship with food will define how they perceive food throughout their lives. Remember, do not force-feed them or insist on eating things they do not like, finishing the whole plate. Instead, let them fall in love with food and explore a lot of different ingredients and recipes with them. Happy Parenting!