MAJOR WEANING FOODS
What are the main categories of
Indian Foods that can be used for weaning?
Cereals contain 7 to 12 % proteins and about 75% carbohydrate.
They form an important source of energy, iron and protein in the Indian diet and also
supply a certain amount of fat, which is referred to as
A thick creamy porridge made from cereals
in water/ milk/ milk-water mixture is a good weaning food for babies. Cereals are cheaper
than most other foods and are usually consumed by the family. When given alone, especially
after being cooked in water, most cereals are too low in energy. The porridge should be
thick (too thick to be given in a bottle) and concentrated but soft. Some oil or fat (or
sugar) should be added to the porridge to make it richer in calories and easier to swallow
and digest. Care should be taken to ensure that the porridge is not watered down or made
unduly thin which will further compromise the energy content.
The Indian diet consists of several kinds
of legumes - lentils, Bengal gram, red gram, black gram, horse gram, rajma etc. Red gram
is mostly eaten in the southern, western and central parts of India. A wider variety of
pulses are eaten in the northern parts. Their protein content is 20-25%. Dry legumes that
are a much richer source than the immature legumes, are also a good source of vitamins and
The legumes need to be cooked thoroughly
and mashed to make them easily digestible for babies. It should be thick (too thick to be
given in a bottle) and concentrated but soft. Some oil or fat (or little sugar) should be
added to make it richer in calories and easier to swallow and digest.
When given with cereal staples, they are
just as nutritious as animal foods (meat, fish, and milk).
Commonly consumed fruits are banana, guava,
melon, mango and citrus fruits. Pear, apple, plum, peach are abundantly available in the
hilly regions. Banana is rich in carbohydrates and supplies about 80 calories per 100
gram. It is easily digestible and is very good as the first semi-solid food for the baby.
Guava and citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C while mango and papaya are good sources of
vitamin A. Before giving any fruit to your baby, be sure that it is washed in clean water,
peeled carefully, deseeded and then mashed.
of fresh fruits:
Oranges, tomatoes, sweet lime, grapes serve
to supplement the protective nutrients not present in sufficient amounts in breast milk as
well as in animal milk. It is advantageous to start feeding small quantities of fresh
fruit juice by the 4th month of life.
In the early stages, the fruit juice is
strained and diluted with an equal amount of boiled water and only a couple of
teaspoonfuls are fed. The amount of fruit juice fed is gradually increased and at the same
time the dilution with water is cut down.
from Green leafy vegetables:
In case fresh fruits are not available,
green leafy vegetables may be used as an alternative. Strained soups should be given.
Fish liver oils are good sources of vitamin
A and D. Infants can be given a few drops to � tsp. per day mixed in small quantity of
Oils and fats should preferably be added to
the weaning foods since they increase energy value, make the food softer and easier to
swallow and help in absorption of vitamin A. Many kinds of oils are used in different
parts of India mustard oil in Bengal, Assam and Kashmir, and groundnut, sunflower,
palm and til (sesame) oil in other parts.
This can be used as an alternative to oils
to increase the energy value of the weaning foods. However, care should be taken that
excess of sugar is not added as it may result in dental decay and osmotic diarrhea.
of animal Origin
Nearly all foods of animal origin are
nutritious since they provide high quality protein, vitamin B12 and iron and
are easily digestible.
Cooked, ground and strained fish and meat
may be given at five to six months of age. Egg yolk can be given to the infant between the
age of four to six months of age. The yolk contains protein, iron and vitamins, which are
valuable additions to the babys diet. Hard cooked egg yolk seems to agree well with
Soft custard is also a suitable way in
which to introduce egg yolk. Egg white, because of the frequency of allergic
manifestations, is not given until the infant is 8 to 10 months old and then it is given
and Milk Products
All types of milk provide high quality
protein, mostly in the form of casein, in contrast to human milk, which has mainly
lactalbumin. The fat content of buffalos milk is almost double than that of human or
cows milk. Milk is a rich source of B6 and calcium, and has some amounts
of vitamins A and C, however it is a poor source of iron. Goats milk does not have
vitamin B12. Instead of just being used alone, milk can be used to cook
porridge or added to other weaning foods to enhance their energy content and soften them.
Several milk products like curd, cottage cheese (Paneer), khoya, etc. are available and
can be used. All of them have good nutritive value.
At around the fourth- fifth month of life,
frequency of breastfeeding is reduced to 3-4 times per day and animal milk is substituted.
Since the proportion of nutrients in animal milk differs from that of human milk, the
cows milk should be diluted with boiled and cooled water in the proportion of 2:1
for the first few deeds. The amount of water is gradually reduced so that in course of a
few weeks the baby receives undiluted animal milk. Two feeds, with 225 ml per feed is an
ideal replacement. Sugar can be added for taste and to increase calories.
The steps of sterilization are,
- Pour measured amount of milk into thoroughly washed bottle.
- Put nipple on the bottle and test the flow of the milk
- Cover loosely with nipple cover.
- Place bottle in a container and add water to halfway level of bottle
- Cover it, bring water to boiling, and maintain boiling for 15 - 20 minutes.
- Remove bottle as soon as they can be handled, and cool slightly.
- Store in refrigerator.
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