A diet for newborns may vary from infant to infant, depending on the traditions and customs of the family he or she is born into, as well as on their particular tastes and allergies, if any. The different stages that go into infant nutrition, though, follow the same pattern across the world. Our qualified nutritionists at Apollo Cradle & Children’s Hospital, keeping this in mind, help you understand the different stages of feeding your newborn:
Birth to 4 months
At this tender age, your baby’s digestive track is still developing and is not yet prepared to handle solid foods. Till the age of 4 months feed your newborn only breast milk or formula.
You can slowly start introducing solids to your baby at this age. In addition to breast milk or formula, you can start feeding your baby pureed vegetables such as carrot, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, or even fruit purees such as apples, bananas, pears. Pureed meat can also be given. You can also start off with semi-liquid, iron-fortified cereal such as rice or wheat. Whatever be the solids, remember that they should be in thin pureed form with no lumps at all. Introduce new foods one at a time and in small quantities initially, like a spoon or two and gradually increase the quantity.
In addition to breast milk or formula, pureed fruits, vegetables and meat and cereals, you can now start your baby off on pureed legumes or dals such as peas, black beans, lentils. Ensure that the legumes are boiled very well and are extremely soft and can be easily mashed. Introduce pureed legumes in very small quantities initially as they can be quite heavy on a baby’s stomach. You can also introduce your baby to unsweetened yoghurt. Blend fruit purees with yoghurt to facilitate an easy introduction.
In addition to breast milk or formula, you can now give your baby fruits and vegetables in mashed form rather than pureed form. Small quantities of pasteurised cheese and cottage cheese can be introduced at this stage. You can also give your baby some snacks such as cereal puffs, small pieces of soft biscuits or crackers, small pieces of bread. You can also give your iron-fortified cereals such as oats, ragi, barley.
In addition to breast milk or formula and pasteurised cheese, yoghurt and cottage cheese; you can now give your baby bite sized soft cooked vegetables and fruit. You can introduce your baby to combo foods such as soft rice and dal, idli or porridge. You can also give your baby well-cooked soft legumes and small pieces of meat. Finger foods, as well as iron-fortified cereals, can continue to be given.