The growth of a child from an embryo to a baby foetus is quite easy, though not so simple for the mother, compared to the baby’s further development till he gets to a particular stage where they are able to recognise their needs for themselves and get help themselves. But to reach that level, the parent’s should have to play a vital role. They for sure have to make sure that the infant’s growth is at its full potential, which or else may lead to deficiency of minerals, iron or vitamins and thus end up in diseases, anaemia or stunted growth. Now that expression on your face is the gateway to the question, how can I know whether my child is deficit in something? And here is the answer, start giving them food rich in minerals, iron and vitamins right from 6 months after delivery, and that too in different stages. There are mainly three stages of feeding a child longing from 6th month to 12th month of development.
Stage 1 Food for Child Development
The strategy to give food to babies is divided mainly into 4 categories. Till the age of 6 months, it is advised not to give anything to the baby other than breast milk. Here all the ambient amount of nutrients the baby’s body needs is met with the breast milk alone. To increase the nutrient content in the milk, it is pretty better to make sure that the mother is fed with better quality food. This is the time when the mother needs the same or sometimes more care than the babies, as they are facing an emotional change too, and if is left unnoticed and unattended may end up to post-partum illness. Then after a mere 6 month’s time, we can start to introduce foreign food to the babies. This is called the stage 1 of baby food. The baby themselves shows signs that they are ready to have some food other than the breast milk alone. Although we enter a new phase of feeding it is advised to continue breastfeeding, as some nutrients helping in development of the immune system of the baby is still to be acquired from the mother. At this stage introducing other food does not mean an alternative to the breast-feeding
Confused About What Is Stage 1 Baby Food?
Parents are always cautious when it comes to the affairs related to their kids, be it their food , cloth , toys or anything, parents would always have a recheck of whether they are the appropriate one for their child, and would make sure it is of no harm to them. So its natural if you thought whether stage 1 food introduction, is harmful as some think 6 months is too early to start feeding them with something other than the breast milk.
Stage one baby foods are those homemade puree which have a very delicate consistency. It should be so thin that the baby should not have a chance to chew upon it to make it travel from the mouth to the stomach. There are puree packets available labelled in as for 6 month old babies. If you are too busy for your baby then you could grab one of these, which are healthy and meets all the mentioned benefits. If you have to time to invest then making these meals at home is no big deal. While making at home it is better to have a single-ingredient puree at this stage, so that it would be easy to identify if your baby is allergic to any specific ingredient. During the preparation of these, make sure it is smoothened in such a manner it won’t have any chunks of the ingredient causing choking in the baby.
Natural signs that baby indicates to start stage 1 foods
As mentioned earlier in the article, the baby starts showing signs of their wanting of a next level of food in addition to breast feed. Since everyone is unique different child may show variance in their signs. Generalising this uniqueness the signs exhibited by most of the babies include:
- They curiously stare at what you eat and is keen to have a taste of the same.
- They lean toward the food, when someone appear to offer them a spoon of their dish.
- Some kids appear to be an fast developer, they start to show sign to shift to stage 1 by sitting up straight without an external support.
- Their ability to hold on their head without falling down is also a matured sign of wanting food.
- Usually when not ready to accept other foods the kids shall reject it by not allowing a spoon or anything touch their tongue. If this reflex action is reduced and he allows to feed him using a spoon, it clearly indicates a sign that he is in need of some puree.
What is the appropriate time to start with stage 1 foods
Till an age of 6 months breast milk is sufficient enough to satisfy the child’s need of nutrient. So in most of the kids starting the stage one food is advisable. Since the development rate is different in kids taking a prior consultation of your paediatrician can serve better. If solid foods are not started at the proper time it can be a menace. It van lead your child to deficiency diseases. For example as time passes the amount of iron content available from breast milk will detiorate as the amount of milk available itself reduces and moreover the mother’s body starts utilising it.
If this condition is allowed to happen it can lead to deficiency of minerals in the body. One of the main component, iron that is required for the growth of the child, if deprived can lead to an extreme condition called anaemia. Anaemia further causes stunted growth. Early signs of iron deficiency can be noticed by some regular symptoms like :
- Pale skin
- Irregular heartbeat
What is to be included in the initial period of stage one
There is no proven technique to start with this level. Although any edible item can be fed to the child in the puree form, make sure that only one ingredient is used at a time. This is important to make sure that the baby is not allergenic to the given food. It is better to avoid such food in the future stages where we can mix up multiple ingredients within a single puree.
The best ingredients of stage 1 baby foods
Being an underground vegetable, this is one of the richest source of vitamin A, Vitamin C, beta version of carotene and a lot more. The only restriction being it should be smashed as such it should not leave any clumps for the kid to choke upon. Now in order to make it into such a puree, there are a variety of methods followed. One can peel potatoes, slash it into smaller pieces, then allow it to get steamed for some time in a steamer. Remember checking the consistency of the potato periodically and take it off once you think its done. It is adviced to add a small amount of breast milk to the puree to make it taste similar for the kid and to make it up to the right consistency. Add liquid in so much amount that at last you feel it contains only liquid contents.
One of the richest elements that can be used in baby foods. By rich its not of the cost it is a granary of a variety of mineral nutrients. Being a great source of fibre, vitamin A, and fat, not only for the stage one tots, it is beneficial for everyone irrespective of age. Here too never serve the avocado to the kid as you serve for yourself. From the half-cut avocado remove the pit out and scoop out the soft flesh and place it in a plate. Thinking that the flesh is so soft never serve it without churning. Smash it into a puree either manually using a spoon or smash it using a mixer.
As per the famous quote an apple a day keeps the doctor away, giving a meal of an apple once in a while is good for developing the child’s immune system. Peel the apples, remove the inner part where the seeds rest, and smash it into a puree. Sometimes people do steam the apple to a tender texture. This may have a bit tight consistency to make it light adding breast milk is preferred.
Butternut is something that has multiple benefits. It improves the functionality of the immune system, the eyesight, it is a very good antioxidant, it has a protein structure that makes it a good antibacterial and antifungal element. It has also been proven to be good for reducing inflammations and is better known for its anthelmintic activity. To make it to the squash texture that is best for the infants, the butternut is to be peeled and cut to pieces at first. The seeds that appears to be attached with the skin is to be carefully removed, leaving none left within. These seeds may cause choking to the babies if consumed. Cooking the pieces as soon as possible is better preferred as discoloration may appear when left peeled out for some time. To cook the same steaming is preferred to boiling as boiling may wash out a significant amount of nutrients from it. Cooked in any form of your choice, make sure it finally reaches a loose puree form without lumps. As if said in the former ingrients , adding breast milk is beneficiary.
Sometimes known as broccoli, cauliflower is a great source of iron and many minerals. Removing the bacteria after a thorough boiling, cutting to pieces and cooking to a puree is the most preferred method of changing the cauliflower to a stage one baby food.
Carrot being a great source of vitamins and minerals is one of the best vegetables from our dining table to reach the puree section of the kids starting to have solid foods. Before feeding, cook and smash it into puree and mix it with milk to make it convenient for the child to consume without choking.
Well-cooked meat can be smashed well using a mixer to a well textured form, leaving no lumps, is good for the kids to acquire additional benefits of calcium and protein that would help in their growth especially of their bones.
Giving a healthy start for stage 1 foods
Never play too much experiments with your child. While starting the food the child will gradually get used to the process. Never compel them to get into the process in the thought of witnessing their growth in a faster pace. Never have the thought of replacing breast milk feed with solids at this stage. It’s better to take the solid food feed as a snack, and have it once in a day or maximum to a two. As told earlier, always start with a single ingredient food. And try continuing the same food for two or three days and wait till how the baby respond and then get a change in the ingredient and observe the child’s response and keep on continuing the pace till you are confident enough to change the speed.
It is the health of the baby that matters. If the baby gives a negative response to any of the ingredients, never give it a try again. Moreover, keep on adding a small amount of breast milk in all the purees. Start the stage only if the child shows the natural signs to enter the solid phase of feeding as mentioned earlier in the blog.