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Now that your baby has completed 6 months, you can introduce him to the wonderful world of food. And, you must! As he is now growing rapidly, the nutritional needs of your little one cannot be met with breast milk alone. It is time to add on solid food as you keep on breastfeeding for as long as both baby and you desire. ​
 
This process, of switching an infant from a milk-only diet to a mixed one that includes other solid food, is called complementary feeding. If this is your first child, you will have many questions regarding the introduction of solid food. Read on to pick up some practical tips to get you started.
 

What to feed?

 
Your baby's first food must suit his ability to eat. Keep the texture smooth and runny to help your infant enjoy the process of learning to eat. As he develops the ability to chew and bite, vary the texture to allow him to experience a wider variety of food.
 
Rice is a good first food to start feeding your baby, as it is least likely to cause any adverse reaction. After that, add on grains such as fine oat, barley, and wheat porridges to provide additional energy. Start with an iron-fortified rice cereal as it meets the baby's urgent need for iron at this stage. Any lack of iron in the first two years of life may cause anaemia - a blood condition that delays your child's ability to learn, play, and stay healthy.
 
Introduce soft mashed fruit and cooked strained vegetables. There is no recommended order but your baby will naturally enjoy sweeter and milder choices much better than bitter and tart varieties.
 
Soft protein-rich foods that are easy to feed initially are soybean curd, cooked and mashed lentils, and finely flaked fish. As your baby's ability to chew and bite improves, add finely minced meat and finely shredded poultry to his diet.
 
To encourage your little one to appreciate and accept natural flavours, do not add salt, sugar, and spice in preparing his food.


​How much to feed?


In the earliest phase, the process of introducing solids aims to help your child learn to swallow food. Start with a teaspoon of solid food and as your baby grows and develops, increase the portion gradually to build up to a small meal that will replace a feed. Use the feeding guide to plan a menu that includes a variety of food in the right portion, to meet nutrient needs. During the process of introducing solids to your child, milk should still remain a staple part of his diet. One of the simplest ways to know your baby is eating enough is to monitor his weight and length and compare it with infant growth charts.


Feeding Guide for Infants 6 months (181days) to 12 months 
Food Groups Number of Servings / Day Examples of 1 Serving
Brown Rice and Wholemeal Bread

1 - 2

  • 2 bowls porridge (500g)
  • 1 large potato, mashed (180g)

Fruit

(Fruit should not be used to replace vegetables in the diet or vice versa because they contain different kinds of nutrients)

1 - 2

  • 1 small apple, orange, pear or
    mango (130g) - pureed
  • 1 wedge pineapple, papaya or
    watermelon (130g) - pureed
  • 1 medium banana scrapped
Vegetables

1 - 2

  • mug** cooked leafy or non-leafy vegetables (100g) - pureed
  • round plate cooked vegetables+
Meat and Others

1 - 2

  • 1 palm-sized piece fish, lean meat or skinless poultry (90g)
  • 2 small blocks soft beancurd
    (170g)
  • cup*** cooked pulses (e.g. lentils, peas, beans) (120g)

Breast milk / follow on infant formula
(Do include the recommended milk serving in addition to the Meat and Others serving needs)

750ml

-

* rice bowl ** 250ml mug *** 250ml cup +10 inch plate


When to feed?

Pick the best time of the day when he is alert and not too hungry. Usually a mid-morning feed is a good time for most babies. Later, add on solid food to baby s menu to mimic meal and snack times and, train him to settle into a regular meal pattern.

Make eating an enjoyable experience. Seat baby in a safe high chair and minimise distractions. Allow sufficient time to complete the meal and do not force your baby if he is not hungry or interested in eating.


How to feed?

Learning to eat is a big achievement for little ones. Place a small portion of smooth and runny rice cereal about half a teaspoon in a rounded baby spoon. Bring the spoon towards babyss mouth and if he opens his mouth, place the food gently at the back of the tongue. Withdraw the spoon and allow baby to learn to swallow.

As baby becomes confident, increase the portion gradually. Use the feeding guide to estimate a suitable portion for your baby's meal or snack.

Encourage your child to learn to feed himself. Allow him to pick up food with his fingers or a spoon and learn to put it in his mouth. Teach him to drink from a sipper cup and then, transit to a regular cup.


Feeding alert

Always serve your baby clean and safe food and supervise your baby during feeding. Make sure that the texture of the solid food you are serving is suitable for your baby's eating ability. Avoid food that may cause choking.

Introduce one new food at a time. Continue to feed your baby the same food for three days in a row and observe your baby for any adverse effects such as eruption of rash or diarrhoea. 

If your baby tolerates the food well, then add on another new item to the menu. If there is a history of food allergy in the family, take particular care to avoid introduction of the known allergens. Over the course of time, your baby will be exposed to many flavours and tastes, and this will allow him to accept more new food.

So Remember...


  • Breastfeed your baby exclusively for the first six months of his life. Thereafter, introduce solid food that are nutritionally appropriate and safe to complement breastfeeding.
  • Start with smooth, runny food and then, vary the texture, introducing minced, shredded and finger food to suit baby's eating ability. Encourage your baby to learn to eat by himself.
  • Use the feeding guide to transit your little one towards eating regular meals and snacks in age-appropriate portions.

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