What types of food should you introduce to your baby first when weaning?
WORDS JOANNA ONG
Why isn’t Milk Enough Anymore?
Dr Rajeev Ramachandran, consultant, Division of General Ambulatory Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, National University Hospital says that breast milk is usually sufficient for growth until four to six months of age. After this period, infants require complementary foods to meet their nutritional needs.
Dr Low Kah Tzay, paediatrician, Mount Elizabeth Hospital states that babies need other nutrition such as iron, more protein and fat. These nutrients are vital for optimal growth and development, highlights Dr Tan. Furthermore, weaning helps infants to develop their chewing skills and new social skills. Parents can also take this opportunity to introduce a variety of tastes, textures and flavours apart from milk to your child.
What are Some Foods that I Should Start With?
There are a variety of opinions regarding introductory foods from the experts. According to Meave Graham, paediatric registered dietitian, Child Nutrition Singapore, there is no particular order in which foods must be introduced.
Foods should be introduced singly, allowing two to three days before presenting new foods.
Usual first foods include pureed vegetables and fruits, and ground rice cereal mixed with water or baby's usual milk. Dr Ramachandran advises that the first weaning foods should be non-wheat cereals, pureed fruits and vegetables. Juices may be introduced after six months.
“Start with something easy to prepare and easy to digest for babies. There is a wide variety and you could start with foods that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction like cereals (including rice, porridge, oats, barley), vegetables (including carrots, potatoes, yam, broccoli, pumpkin), fruits (like banana, pear, apple, papaya, avocado) and protein foods (like minced pork, chicken). Ensure that the foods are pureed and easy to swallow before serving it to your little one,” says Dr Christelle Tan, specialist in Paediatric Medicine, Raffles Specialist @ Raffles Holland Village.