5 Principles of Complimentary Feeding

How to wean a child from breastfeeding is science in itself which is hardly discussed or talked about. Complimentary feeding or weaning from breastfeeding/ weaning diet have correlation with oral development and gastrointestinal system maturity of the baby. Gradual transition from breastfeeding to adult food in a systematic way is discussed here in lucid and simply understandable way.

1. Consistency of food: to begin with it needs to be just like milk or a bit thicker than milk. Slowly one can increase the thickness as age progresses. One can consider making it thick to an extent that if fullspoon food tilted to 45 degrees it will not get spilled by the age of 8-9 months. The food can be made thicker further as age progresses. Completely solid food can be given to children beyond 12-15 months depending upon the individual and oral acceptance.

2. Texture of food: Initially food needs to be smooth like paste. Slowly you can increase the texture to more sandy and then grainy. By 8-9 months you can consider to have food which is just like Sheera, more of bonded but coarser, kind of RAVA. By 10-12 months child can be fed with half crushed rice and by 12-14 months full rice can be given subjected that child can have it.

3. What to give: Most of the food one prepare for self can be given to infant. You need to take care of first two princples. You can prepare fruit juice, vegetable soup, grain flour porridge, commercial baby foods and combination of any of the above. As age progresses slowly you can consider adding spices in small quantity to each meal. Instead of sugar, add dark jaggery as natural sweetening agent, can use pinch of salt per meal. Ideal age to start complimentary food is 6 months (4.5 months onwards can be started in few cases which needs to be individualized). As the age progresses, frequency of weaning food in 24 hrs should be increased; initially once a day for 15 days, then twice a day for 15-20 days and so on till 3-4 top food meals per day. Not to mention to continue breastfeeding in between till child accepts it, though major nutritional requirement is now getting fulfilled by weaning food.

4. How to introduce: since baby is use to milk, the transition from milk to complimentary food is going to be difficult. One need to help child to get acclimatize to new food slowly, hence initially give few spoons to small bowlful of new food to begin with. Over a period of 2-3 days increase it to medium size bowl or one time meal by that food, then for next 2-3 days twice a day and then for 2-3 days thrice a day. Once its assured that baby is accepting that particular food very well, continue it for once a day and introduce new food in same method. Over a period of time accumulate 6-8 different recipes and keep repeating food in random sequence so child will have one particular food every alternate days so won’t get bored of monotonous schedule. Do not keep specific schedule fixed e.g. fruit juice only in morning, vegetable soup only in evening, etc. keep rotating the meals too in a day.

5. What if child is not accepting feed: As discussed that child is use to some particular food; say breast milk or previously introduced top food; sometime child is bound to show fuss to new food.

You need to be consistent enough to try new food for at least 10 days or 20 times. If child is still fussy to have that particular food, discontinue for 10-15 days and retry to introduce the same.
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