Diet for children 6 - 12 months old should contain all the essential nutrients, like protein, fibers, minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, iron, etc.
A child between age 6 to 12 months age needs 108 cal, 1.65 g protein, and 500 mg calcium each day. The child should get these nutrients from a variety of foods.
In India, 70% of children in the age group of 6 to 9 months are suffering from anaemia because of inadequate intake and absorption of iron from cereal based diet and inadequate consumption of green leafy vegetables (High Foods high in Iron list). The recommendation is that children 6 months to 5 years should be given 100 mcg folic acid and 20 mg iron supplement in liquid form. Children in the age group of 6-10 years should be provided with 250 mcg of folic acid and 30 mg iron.
- A child's diet should include a wide variety of foods, both solids and liquids.
- Give different baby cereals, fruit juices, and strained fruits (apples, apricots, bananas, melon, pears, and peaches) and vegetables (carrots, beans, beets, green peas, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash). Give only unsweetened fresh juices without added sugar. Check if your baby shows any signs for allergic reaction to any fruit or vegetable.
- Citrus Foods: Do not give citrus fruits like limes, lemon, grapefruits and oranges until baby is 12 months old due mostly to the sensitivity of the child to the acidity of these fruits which may cause diaper rash, skin rashes and tummy pains. You should also avoid pineapple although it is not a citrus food, but it can be acidic.
- You may give your baby 2-3 teaspoons of dalia or khichari (khichadi) or patolia (without rice).
The consistency and amount of foods may be gradually increased as your child tolerates.
- Teething foods, such as toasts, rusks, unsalted crackers, bagels, pieces of cooked vegetables (carrot, broccoli, squash), soft fruits (melon, peach, pear), and biscuits may be given when the child is 7 -8 months old.
- If you are a meat eater, offer strained and finely ground meats, meat sticks, or frankfurters when the child is 7 -8 months old.
- You can give egg yolk 2-3 times a week. When the child is 1 year old, you can give him egg white and watch for any allergic reactions.
- Avoid hard chunks of uncooked vegetables, fruits, and other food items that may cause choking.
- You may give diluted fruit juices. To avoid tooth decay, do not give juices in a bottle at bedtime.
The consumption of breast milk or formula will go down as the child takes more and more solid foods for his source of nutrition. Your 9 months old baby may take 2 -3 solid meals (1/2 to 1 cup or 125 to 250 g) in addition to 4-5 breast or bottle feeds each day. When the baby is 9 months old, ensure that each meal includes a variety of foods including cereals of oat, wheat, rye, or barley, bread, roti, fruits, vegetables, legumes, lentils,cheese, etc. and meat, fish (if you are a meat eater). You should watch for any allergy for these food items.
Most first time mothers feed their child every half or one hour thinking that he is hungry all the times. Over-feeding will make the child uncomfortable, he may even vomit, he may have stomach pain or too much gas problem; and you may not be knowing.
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