Now that your baby is six months old, it’s time to introduce him to solids. Here’s what you need to know during this very exciting milestone.
WORDS CHIA YING MEI
Now that your baby is six months old, you’ll want to begin the weaning process. Louis Yap, dietitian, Parkway East Hospital, cautions that the amount of milk intake should not be reduced in the early stages as the amount of solids may not be sufficient to meet the nutritional requirements of the baby. Monitor your child’s growth chart to ensure that the growth is consistent in that percentile, which suggests that they are getting sufficient nutrients from their current milk and solids intake.
Keep it Fun
You may have heard the phrase “food under one is just for fun”. Yap recommends making mealtimes fun. This keeps children interested in food and prevents them from being fussy eaters that avoid entire food groups in the future.
During the early stages of weaning, your child
is still mostly reliant on milk so don’t force them
to eat more than they are ready for.
As your child grows and is able to consume more solids, there will naturally be a shift of energy and nutrient reliance from milk to solids. When this happens, it can vary greatly depending on individual children, so do keep an eye on your child’s weight gain.
The Nutrients Needed
Yap also recommends several key nutrients for children at this stage. “For a growing child, total calorie intake, protein, DHA, iron and calcium play a more significant role in a child’s growing stage,” she says. “Calories and protein help with the continual growth of the child while DHA focuses on the brain development of the child. In addition to milk, babies need to be supplemented with high-quality protein such as strained meat, fish, chicken, tofu, lentils and yoghurt.”
No Junk, Please
You should still limit feeding your child junk food, processed food, sweetened food and food that are high in fats and salt at this stage to prevent babies from being too reliant on unhealthy food that reduces their hunger for healthy food.
Do not introduce honey or fresh milk before
one year of age and ensure that food known to have
higher allergenic potential is given in small portions.
Check the food you wish to introduce with your doctor if your child has any family history of food allergies or is at a high risk of eczema.