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Infant Feeding - 4 - 6 months




When and how to start?

Qualities of weaning foods

Guidelines during Weaning

Major weaning foods

Care during preparation Cereals
Juice of fresh fruits
Soup from Green leafy Vegetables
Fish Liver Oil
Oils and Fats
Sugar and Jaggery
Foods of animal Origin
Milk and Milk Products
Bottle feeding
Calorie dense foods
Various food preparations



Should any special care be taken during preparation?

The nutritive value of many weaning foods can be improved by taking due care during preparation. The porridge or for that matter any other weaning food should not be excessively watered down or thinned in the belief that it will be easier to ingest and digest. A classic example of this is the thin ‘dal’ water. Even small babies can easily tolerate semi-solid foods and over dilution results in loss of valuable calories.

Unnecessary loss of nutrients should be avoided. For instance, it is better to wash vegetables whole before cutting them into small pieces. The smaller the piece, the greater is the loss of nutrients. Use the minimum amount of water for cooking and mash the food with the water used for cooking. Adding excess water and draining it off later results in loss of water-soluble nutrients and should be avoided.

Husks, bean skin and vegetable fibers can cause indigestion, so everything must be thoroughly mashed in the beginning.


Frequent breast-feeding should continue but simultaneously start with additional semi-solid foods in the form of mashed fruit like banana, or cereals like suji. If suji is not available, porridge can be made with wheat flour (atta), ground rice, ragi, millet, etc. Mix a little oil or ghee in the porridge. 1/2 to 1 teaspoonful is enough to begin with. The number of feeds should gradually increase over 3-4 weeks, so that when it reaches 50 to 60 gm of porridge (half a cup) or one whole banana, it could replace one milk feed. Other fruits in season like papaya, chikoo and mango can be given in a similar manner. On the hills, apple, apricot and pear can be given after cooking them for a few minutes.

Cow’s milk should be given in the form of curd, custard.

Cooked ground and strained fish and meat may be given at the same time as egg yolk at five to six months of age. The fish or meat serving may be alternated with egg yolk and dal.

Semi-solid feed should preferably be given after breast-feeding so that there is minimal interference with the suckling and breast milk production. However, some babies do not accept semi-solids once their hunger is partly satisfied by breast milk. In them, semi-solids can be offered prior to breast-feeding.

Foot notes

  • Keep breast feeding the child till 1 years of age at least, and even during illness.
  • Drinks during weaning –boiled and cooled water according to thirst.
  • During illness feed the child as normal, even if the child resists.
  • During diarrhea – give lot of fluids to the child, in fact replace each bout of stools with a glass (250 ml) of clean boiled water



To meet the increased demands of calorie and protein, well cooked mashed cereals mixed with milk and sugar can be given. Calorie dense cereals can be prepared by malting; also, sprouted pulses and beans can be used. Cereals like wheat, bajra, ragi, jowar, and pulses like moong (whole) can be malted.

How is the food malted?

  • Soak overnight.
  • Remove the water and tie in the moist cloth and keep in warm place (Sprouting).
  • After 48 hours when sprouts come out dry in sun or roast it.
  • Make into flour.


  • During the process of malting, starch is converted to maltose due to increased production of enzyme amylase. Thus, this is also called Amylase Rich Food. Due to the conversion of starch into amylose, thinner gruels are made. With this either the infant can consume more gruel or more flour can be added to make thick gruel. This way calorie consumption can be increased.
  • Also, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of malted cereal, added to porridge, khichri and other weaning foods, will reduce its viscosity and child will be able to eat a larger quantity of it. This is a very good way of increasing energy density of weaning foods.
  • The malting process increases the riboflavin, niacin content. Sprouting various pulses and beans increase the content of vitamin B group and vitamin C.
  • A major advantage of preparation of these energy dense foods is that they are pre-cooked. Thus, these cereals in powdered form can be stored in airtight bottles. They can be mixed with boiled water, cooked for a few minutes and fed to the baby.

However, these foods should not form the major feeds throughout the day, but given 1-2 times in the whole day. This is because the child should become familiar with various common foods and develop a taste for all foods and not reject them later.

As the shelf life is short, malting has to be done every three or four weeks.

Various food preparations from these malted foods

  • Foods:

Cereals like wheat, bajra, jowar, can be malted. Ragi malt is a common weaning food in the southern parts of India where ragi is commonly eaten.

Other cereals like rice, rice flakes, corn flakes, can also be roasted and powdered and given in the form of porridge.

Pulses like moong (whole) can be malted, as it is easy to digest. Roasted and powdered moong dal can be used in porridge.

Vegetables: boiled and mashed soft vegetables can be added to the porridges. For e.g. tomato, gourds, spinach and other green leafy vegetables.

Egg: Hard cooked egg yolk can be added to the various porridges.

Little sugar and oil / butter (1tsp.) can be added to the porridge to increase the calorie content.

Suggested recipes from energy dense foods:

Add all ingredients and cook for a few minutes by adding water or milk to a thin / semisolid consistency

  1. Plain porridge
    Bajra 1 tbsp.
    Chana dal 1 tbsp.
  2. Riceflakes porridge
  3. Rice flakes 1 tbsp.

  4. Fruit porridge
  5. Rawa 1 tbsp.
    Add a banana/fruit after boiling

  6. Apple porridge
  7. Rice 1 tbsp.
    Apple boiled � no.

  8. Veg porridge
  9. Bajra 1 tbsp.
    Moong 1 tsp.
    Carrot/Veg.1 tbsp.

  10. Tomato porridge
    Bajra 1 tbsp.
    Rice powder 1 tsp.
    Moong 1tsp
    Tomato (boiled, seedless) 1 tbsp

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