Complementary feeding- Diet Plan for a Baby

Feeding a new born throughout the infancy involves a complex mix of dietary, physiological and behavioural process involved in the way the child ingests the food. 

At the end of 6 months, there is a general tendency to wean the infant from breast milk. But, ideally, we should be giving complementary food rather than take the baby completely off breast milk.

The WHO has defined complementary feeding as a process that starts when breast milk alone is inadequate to meet the nutritional needs of the infant and therefore other liquids and foods needs to be added, supplementing the breast milk.
Nutritional Guidelines for Infant Nutrition

Infants between 6 and 8 months need about 650 kcal and of this 200 kcals should be from complimentary food, with the rest coming from breast milk. The calorie requirement goes up to 800 kcal from the 9th month and at that point of time breast milk and complimentary diet is given in equal parts or 400 kcals each.

Food Requirement for Infants:
Protein: Protein requirement for infants is about 1.6 gm/kg of body weight/day when they reach 6 months of age and this will average to about 12 gms of protein every day. However, breast milk will continue to be the main source of protein till the infant completes the first birthday.

Fats: Fat is an important component of infant diet and since it provides essential fatty acids and helps in absorbing fat soluble vitamins. Fat also makes the food palatable and energy dense. Infant nutrition should include around 30-45% of fats. However attention should be paid on good quality fats and excess of saturated fats like margarine and butter should be avoided particularly during early childhood.

Guidelines for Complementary Feeding:

1. Start one food at a time. New type of food should never be started on the same day.
2. Feed the baby with same food till at least one week. If the baby still shows dislike towards it then stop giving it and restart after a few days
3. Breast feed as much as the baby wants throughout the day.
4. Feed the baby when he/she is hungry and not when it’s time to feed.
5. Do not force feed the baby. Don't force the food.
6. Boiled water should be given after food every time you give the baby any solid food. Sipper should be used initially but once the infant sits without help, and develops control over sips, then help her/him drink with a glass.
7. Wash your hand and feed the baby with your fingers rather than using spoons. Try to use minimum utensil and all should be washed and cleaned properly. Putting all utensils including pet bottles used for the child in boiling water and sterilize them before using again.This will prevent infections.
8. Mash food with a spoon. Avoid grinding food in mixer grinder.
9. Rotate food items so that the infant does not get bored with one type of food.
10. All food should be freshly prepared and consumed within an hour of preparation. Keep the food covered when not in use.
11. Lastly, Serve the child, the staple food that you eat, instead of giving packaged powdered meals/cereals. This will help the child to form a habit of eating the family food.

Your child should be eating normal meals that are eaten by the full family, by the age of two.
Baby Diet plan for a Nine month old child:

This diet contains 423 kcal,10g Proteins, 52g carbohydrates and 16g fats which is suitable for a child who is being breastfed on demand.

Breakfast: Banana and curdsmoothie.
½ Banana,50gcurd

Energy- 100 kcal , Protein- 2g, Carbohydrates- 7 g , Fats- 3g 
Starting complementary feed with a fruit is the best option. They are easy to digest and nutrient dense. Combining it with homemade curd provides the child with good probiotics that aids digestion.

Mid morning: Mixed Veggies Carrot, Peas and Potatoes

Energy- 50kcal , Protein- 1g, Carbohydrates- 10g , Fats- 1g 
Adding protective foods to diet like carrot and peas prevent micronutrient deficiencies. Potatoes are rich in energy and help the child to cope with her daily activities.

Lunch: Ragi Porridge.
½ tsp Ragi,100 ml Milk,,1 tsp.Pure ghee,1/2tsp.Sugar

Energy- 153 kcal , Protein-4 g, Carbohydrates- 10 g , Fats- 8 g 
Ragi is a rich source of calcium and iron. Calcium is required for the bone development and Iron aids blood cell formation. Adding pure ghee to it provides fat soluble vitamins and good fats.

Evening Snacks: Bottle Gourd Oats Soup
1 slice Bottle gourd, 1 tsp Oats, ½ tsp Vegetable oil

Energy- 50kcal , Protein-1 g, Carbohydrates- 5 g , Fats-3g 
Infants are fond of liquids. Serving a healthy soup during snacks provides required energy needs, fibre and immunity building vitamins. 

Dinner:  Spinach Khichdi (Rice + Lentils) 
1 tbsp Rice, 1tsp Lentils, 50g spinach

Energy- 70 kcal , Protein- 2 g, Carbohydrates- 20g , Fats- 1 g 
Breast milk is low in iron and therefore, the child gets iron deficiency if iron is not provided through food after the child reaches 6 months of age. This recipe is full of iron and also provides recommended protein and vitamin A. It is an excellent food for infants and their growth!