When to start weaning ?

After six months of age, breast milk alone is not able to provide enough nutrients to the infant, especially calories, iron, vitamin A, B12 and protein. Therefore, your pediatrician will advise you to start weaning your child from the age of six month. But, weaning is a tumultuous time in the life of a young one, WHO reports suggest that this is the time when malnutrition sets in!

What is the right weaning food to start with ?

1. Start with mashed food stuff such as mashed potato, banana or weaning formula 2-3 spoonful at a time, and add food stuff every 2-3 days

2. An infant’s stomach capacity is roughly 30 times her weight, for example, an infant weighing eight kilos will have a stomach capacity of 240 ml, so she should not be expected to eat more than that in one time

3. Density of food stuff can be increased by adding oil or sugar to it without adding bulk to the diet

4. A variety of food stuff should be added:

  • Milk, curd, cheese would add calcium, proteins and  vitamins of B complex including vitamin B12
  • Pulses provide protein, iron and folic acid and adding tomato or lemon juice to them will provide vitamin C, which would help in absorption of iron
  • Orange vegetables such as carrot, pumpkin and green leafy vegetables such as spinach will give vitamin A and vitamin C
  • Animal food such as eggs, liver, meat add iron, zinc, protein, vitamin A and vitamin B12; vegetarians should consider adding a supplement or giving fortified formula to provide for these nutrients

Weaning right: how much does your child need to eat as she grows ?

Age Calories needed from weaning food/day* Type of food Number of meals Amount of food infant should be given at each meal
6-8 months 200 Thick mashed food such as mashed banana, boiled potato with oil and salt, khichdi, dalia etc. 2-3 meals

If child accepts 1-2 snacks may be given

Start with 2-3 spoonful

Increase to half cup/katori (240 ml cup/katori)

9-11 months 300 Add lumpy food and finger food along with mashed food

Eggs and meats can be introduced in well-cooked and mashed forms

3-4 meals

If child accepts 1-2 snacks may be given

½ to ¾ katori
12-23 months 550 Family food, can be mashed if needed, but encourage solid/lumpy food 3-4 meals

If child accepts 1-2 snacks may be given

3/4 katori at each meal
*These are in excess of calories the infant gets from breast milk
If the child is not breast-fed: 1-2 cups (240 ml cups) of milk and 1-2 meals should be given additionally
** The amount at each meal should be guided by child’s appetite, mother should recognize signs of child being hungry and full