Talking About “Complementary Feeding”

Dr. Arun Wadhwa
MBBS , MD – Pediatrician
Apollo Hospital, New Delhi – 13 years experience

Dr. Arun Wadhwa is a well known pediatrician in Delhi. He practices at his own clinic in GK II but has patients flocking to him from Noida, Faridabad and sometimes Gurgaon as well. The reason behind his popularity is his expertise and sound knowledge in child care. Konsult team went on to interview Dr Wadhwa, where he talked about ‘complementary feeding’.

Complementary feeding is for infants who are shifting gradually to table food from mother’s milk by time they are one year old. He mentions 3 principles which are to be adhered so that the transition is easy for the baby.

1. Easy things first: this means that easily digestible food is to be administered first and then we can move on to complex food substances.

2. Start something new, one at a time: when introducing the baby to a new food item, the same food should be given at stretch for around ten days at about the same time.

3. New things in the morning: i.e. before 1 o’clock. In case the child has a pain in the abdomen, vomits or has an allergic reaction to any food, this will leave you with enough time to handle the situation.
Supplementary food has to be served in a bowl or a glass or given orally with a spoon, never through a feeding bottle. You are allowed to create a distraction in order to feed the baby but force feeding is not allowed.
Start with soup first: Dal (split green gram: Moong) water and soup made out of any 3 vegetables. Begin with clear soup and then gradually shift on to puree of the vegetables.

After 10 days, you could start giving fruit in the morning. Best fruit to start with is banana. In the beginning, banana can be given with warm milk. You can give mango in the summers. And give an apple by boiling it after peeling off the skin. This is called stewed apple.

Rice is very easy to digest, so you can start feeding rice also after the about 30 days. Hence precooked rice, mashed khichdi, pulaw, kheer can be given to bring about variety. Other cereals like wheat, barley, ragi, oats and corn can also be the choice there on. From 30 days to 9 months the child can be given 3 meals a day comprising of (1 cereal, 1 fruit and 1 misc).

Keep in mind not to add sugar and salt in the food. Also no nuts, no non vegetarian food, no citrus fruit should be given. This can cause allergy. Wheat is also known to cause allergy, hence it should be given only after 6 months. The amount of food served, should be decided by the child based on his hunger and habit.

Happy Eating, Happy Weaning!

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