Debina Bonnerjee has been keeping her social media followers engaged with updates about her four-month-old daughter, along with her parenthood journey. Most recently, the actor shared that she is gradually introducing Lianna to solid foods.
Sharing an adorable picture of Lianna, Debina, who is pregnant with her second child with husband Gurmeet Choudhary, wrote on her Instagram Stories, “Today’s menu: Boiled and mashed apples”.
But looks like the latest update did not go down too well with a lot of users as Debina soon issued a clarification stating that Lianna was “not eating to fill her stomach” but just to “taste foods”.
“For all things that is being said and asked. The answer is Lianna is not actually eating to fill her stomach. These are her first solid tasting. It is a practice: tasting a thing every day before she properly starts on her solids. So, while we sit down to eat our lunch, we make her sit with us in her highchair. She observes us eat. We give her, her kind of something to experience what is called eating,” she wrote.
What is solid tasting and when should such foods be introduced?
Newborns should ideally be given solids after six months, as until then breastmilk is enough to meet all their nutritional requirement. But, according to experts, babies do “show an interest in solid feeds when they see their parents eating”. “By the time they are six months old, they can be propped up and are also able to swallow and digest solid foods easily. However, a diet plan needs to be followed. Start with one feed and after a week, start two rounds of feeding,” Dr Mahesh Balsekar, senior consultant (Paediatric Medicine), SRCC Children’s Hospital, managed by Narayana Health, told indianexpress.com.
But, if the baby is unwilling to try new foods, give them some milk first, and then offer a very small amount of food, Dr Balsekar suggested. “The baby may cry or even refuse the food at first, so be patient. Respect a baby’s appetite and food preferences. Forcing and coaxing can lead to feeding problems; start slowly and increase gradually. Try offering different categories of foods and encourage freshly prepared home-cooked foods. As the baby grows, give a small piece of toast or bread stick or a biscuit or a banana to nibble. Also, despite the mess, encouraging self-feeding pays off in the long run,” Dr Balsekar elucidated.
Start with smooth and soft finger foods to acquaint the baby to swallowing, Dr Mamatha R, neonatology and pediatrics, Apollo Cradle and Children’s Hospital, Koramangala Bengaluru indianexpress.com. “The baby can acquire additional nutrients if they are introduced to the solid food. This shift has to be gradual alongside the breastfeeding, when the baby shows interest in the solid foods, and is able to sit with support, swallows the food and is active,” she added.
What can babies have?
Dr Balsekar mentioned a few foods that can be given, including a thin soup made of a combination of carrots, pumpkin, doodhi, sweet potatoes, avocado, beetroot, and tomatoes. “Gradually, thicken consistency and bring it to mashed vegetables. Mashed fruit, such as banana (with a little milk added) and stewed apple (peel, cut into bits, steam, and mash with a spoon) papaya, chikkoo, mango, and pears can be given too. Khichdi made with rice and moong daal or phirni made from rice powder is nutritious too. It is advised to restrict salt till nine months of age,” he said.
What should new parents keep in mind?
It is necessary to keep in mind that the baby is still in the developmental phase, so ensure to maintain a gap in-between introducing new foods, Dr Mamatha asserted. “Parents need to first understand if the food suits the baby, and only then continue with it. Also, gradually test foods for possible allergens, to identify the food allergies if any, at the earliest stage,” she said.
What else to note?
Before feeding the baby with solid food, make sure the baby is “relaxed and seated comfortably”, Dr Mamatha mentioned. “Feed smaller portions and check for how the baby reacts, and avoid force feeding. Teach the baby to pause between morsels, and interact with the baby while feeding. It is also important to remember that each baby is different and they progress at their own pace. Look for the signs to select the perfect time to start with solid food tasting,” said Dr Mamatha.