Weaning / Introduction to solid
Weaning describes the process by which the infant gradually
becomes used to the full adult diet.
Problems during weaning:
1. If breast-feeding is stopped, suddenly, it can have
psychological and nutritional effect on the young children.
Solid foods can cause diarrhoea, if
prepared unhygienically or not digested properly.
If weaning foods are too poor to
provide adequate nutrients, the children can develop malnutrition.
For some babies the breast-feeding
may be sufficient for four months while others may feel hungry even after the
breast feeding and may not gain weight.
Introduction to solid foods:
To start weaning foods, the
consistency of food should be gradually increased from liquid to semi-solid and
then, from semi-solid to solid foods. It is advisable to start one or two
spoons of the new food at first.
It should be given when a child is hungry, just before the
regular feeding during the daytime. It may be continued for a few days until
the child gets used to the same. Then the new food item may be started, one at
a time. Always, the fresh food should be given. The amount should be increased
gradually. The child should never be forced to eat.
Children may spit out initially. As
children like to participate in feeding, their hands should be washed. Those
who feed the child must wash their hands. Clean utensils must be used to
prepare the food.
The food should be, always, covered. The solids should he
fed gradually, regularly, according to children's likes. Children should be
observed for an indigestion, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, or rash, because some
children may be allergic to certain food. Such problems related to feeding,
should be reported to the doctor.
Choosing of weaning foods:
A food chosen for the weaning should be suitable to the
family. It should be easily available, low in cost, and used frequently in most
households. The local methods of food preparation may be advised. Cooking
methods that use minimum fuel and less time should be recommended.
Rules of food hygiene should be followed to prevent
infection. By the age of one year, the infant can eat solid foods. The toddler
can eat with the family. For the infants and toddlers, the volume of the, meal
should not be large. The toddler can eat 200 ml. of foods at a time. If
children are eating only three small meals a day, one of those must have high concentrated
calories and proteins to meet their needs for 24 hours.
Following are the examples of
weaning foods that may be started according to child's ability to feed.
Soup of vegetables, tomato, pulses (dhals) and fruit juices.
Potato, pulses, and root vegetables can be well cooked and
mashed before feeding. A banana can be mashed and fed Soft cooked rice and soft
cooked fish can be mashed before feeding.
To increase the nutritive value,
preparations can be used, such as, ragi + jaggary. bengal gram( Chana) powder +
jaggary + ghee + sugar will supply proteins, calories, and iron.
Cooked rice, chapati, idali, bread,
biscuits, groundnuts, roasted chana, banana. Solid food should can be started
when the children learn to chew properly.