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Of course the first six months of only milk is a bliss. Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, there is no choice but milk. But after that is the confusion. What is good, what is not, what is much, what is less!
Ground rule - follow three day schedule. Whatever new food is introduced, give it for three days at the same time (here I mean breakfast lunch or dinner). We are vegetarians and my experience is shared below:
You can either take the first bites Raagi or make it at home. Here's how you make it-
Let the Raagi sprout. Dry it and dry fry on pan. Once the smell changes, get it off the stove, cool it and grind it (get it grinded, since the mixer will not give you a fine powder). This can be stored in an airtight container.
How to make: Mix two heaped tablespoons of Raagi, half spoon sugar, half glass purified water and half glass milk. The consistency should be watery. Keep it on stove and keep stirring on low flame. Once it starts thickening, get it down and add two teaspoons ghee. Mix well, cool and serve.
Best time for feed: 10am and 4pm
The same Raagi can be extended. Dry fry 50gms each of daal and pulses of your choice. Grind along with Raagi. Prepare it similarly and serve
Banana: Do not mash. A 7 month old baby knows how to swallow. Peel the banana and feed directly.
Watermelon: No juice. Cut into small pieces and feed it.
Main course meal: Cook rice and daal really soft. Whatever curry is made, keep aside a little before tadka. Mash and mix rice, daal, ghee and little curry. Add salt if you want. Feed in sitting position.
Best time for feed: 2pm and 7pm
Fruits: Literally all fruits can be given. Grapes must be cut to two halves. Mangoes, apple( I have never baked apple ), watermelon, papaya, chikoo, pomegranate, muskmelon - All of them cut into small pieces.
Best time for feed: In between meals 11am, 3pm, 6pm
Vegetables: I wanted to try all of them, but my baby was fussy about vegetables, so I was rotating between, carrot, cucumber, chayote, aloo, radish and green leafs. All these would be baked and used in the usual sambar, but no tadka. While serving, I either used to mash or he used to eat just the vegetable from the sambar.
Best time for feed: lunch and dinner
Biscuits/Ice cream/Bakery: I am not too particular about eating, so I was giving him whatever we ate. Smaller bites initially and then the whole portion. Yes, it sometimes gave him a hard/abnormal poop, and then 1ml of collicaid, and he was back to his self.
10 months and above:
You can feed them anything that you eat. As long as they like it. Keep trying new stuffs.
My summary on the first foods is, after 6 months, try everything carefully. Once you know your baby is ok, continue with it. Do not refrain from any food assuming what harm can it cause. By introducing foods early, you might avoid a fussy eater. By giving them more options, you are letting them explore the whole new world of different food, flavour and texture. When I am talking about food, let me also share a few good experiences I had which has become a habit unaware.
1. Introduce tumblers early in age.
I started offering very little water in the usual tumbler as early as 6 months. It turned out more a fun game for both of us. Since I had never started the bottle, I was just trying the tumbler because it made my job easy. Now he is almost two and he can drink by himself from the tumbler.
2. Make them sleep on bed/mattress.
After 6months, my in-laws used to take care of him when I was at work. They made this habit of putting him to sleep on bed by telling stories. It made my life so much easier since I did not had to carry him on the shoulder to pat him to sleep or put him on the swing or cradle. This would have never worked if I had tried. Another person's involvement helped.
3. Read books.
Introducing your kid to books as early as 3 months will be a great benefit for both of you. They start relating love and books. With the wide choice of board books in store, you can go on reading and making dramatic expressions. Gradually they get interested in details and you can find a difference yourself. Better late than never, so start reading books to your kids right away. This is still our best time we spend together!
Ultimately, you are not the only factor deciding who they become, but you can always contribute.