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Can you suggest a diet plan for a nine-month-old baby?

Q: My 9 months old daughter is on breast feeds. She doesn't take bottle or any other formula milk even with a spoon. She just takes Ceralac once in the morning and daal once in the evening. She doesn't like any sweet things cooked in milk. I tried suji and rice, biscuits in milk, but she didn't like any of these. Please suggest what other food item I can add to her diet.

A:It is good that your child is receiving breast feeds. Please continue to breast feed her for as long as feasible, even up to 2 years.

At the same time, it is vital that she also receives semi-solid foods since beyond 6 months breast feeds cannot meet the nutritional requirements of your baby.

Some principles for complementary feeding are:

  1. Give home based foods to the extent possible
  2. Prepare fresh and store & feed in a hygienic manner
  3. Start with one thing at a time, give once every day, gradually increasing the amount. This could be sooji kheer, mashed daal, khichdi etc, which is mashed properly. Give the baby time to adjust to the new taste and consistency. A good time to introduce is when baby is moderately hungry when she would be willing to try new foods, but not excessively hungry when the baby may have little patience
  4. Introduce another food at a different time of the day while continuing with the first one. increase gradually in a similar manner
  5. As the baby starts teething, you do not need to mash the food completely, but chop it into small pieces
  6. By the time the child is 1 year of age, she should be able to accept every thing cooked at home, may be with some modification. At this stage you should be feeding her semisolid food at least 3 times a day, roughly about 1 katori serving
  7. Remember, every child is different. While some are happy to try new foods, others want to stick to tried and trusted ones. Eventually, they all learn. Make meal times fun times for you and the baby while inculcating good dietary habits in her. Do not force feed! Let the child develop her own sense of satiety!

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