How to en­sure baby’s well-fed

New Straits Times - - Heal -

Com­mon ev­ery day lo­cal foods such as these are a won­der­ful source of key nu­tri­ents for baby.

IRON

Red meat (beef, lamb, mut­ton)

Eggs

Chicken

Ikan bilis (an­chovies)

Dark leafy green veg­eta­bles such as spinach, kangkung, bit­ter­gourd, fern shoots Whole grains

Iron-for­ti­fied ce­re­als

Chick­peas

CAL­CIUM

Ikan bilis

Tofu

Legumes

Tem­peh

Spinach

Broc­coli

Kai Lan

Dairy prod­ucts (milk, cheese, yo­gurt)

VI­TA­MIN A Eggs Dairy prod­ucts

Deep or­ange and yel­low fruit and veg­eta­bles such as car­rots, pump­kin, man­goes, pa­paya, etc

Sweet potato

VI­TA­MIN D Eggs

Dairy prod­ucts Sar­dines

Tuna

Cod fish Salmon

PRO­TEIN

Red meat, poul­try and fish Beans

Lentils

Nuts

LIMIT ONE FOOD AT A TIME IN THE BE­GIN­NING

When you’re start­ing to wean baby, start with a new food one at a time. This will help ease baby to get used to tast­ing some­thing new, but more im­por­tantly, it al­lows you to de­tect po­ten­tial foods that your baby may be al­ler­gic to. For ex­am­ple, start off with

START WITH SMALL SERV­INGS

In the be­gin­ning, just start with a small serv­ing. Start with two to three tea­spoons.

As baby gets used to be­ing fed, grad­u­ally in­crease the serv­ing to three to four ta­ble­spoons per meal. Don’t get too fix­ated on forc­ing baby to fin­ish a stan­dard por­tion as that’s not a truly re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tion.

Reg­u­lar vis­its to your doc­tor to check on your baby’s growth pro­gres­sion is a good in­di­ca­tor on whether baby is get­ting suf­fi­cient nour­ish­ment.

AP­PRO­PRI­ATE TEX­TURES

The tex­ture of the foods you pre­pare should be ap­pro­pri­ate for the baby at the stage of their phys­i­cal abil­ity to eat. Start off with smoother purees and strained juices. By about eight months on­wards, baby can man­age finely chopped foods, ul­ti­mately mov­ing to coarser tex­tures. Al­ways note the in­di­vid­ual abil­ity and likes of your child. It’s not un­usual for some ba­bies to take to tex­ture eas­ier than oth­ers.

KEEP IT NAT­U­RAL

When cook­ing baby’s food, there’s no need to add ad­di­tional salt or soya sauce as it can po­ten­tially lead to ex­cess sodium. It’s per­fectly fine for baby food to taste bland. Keep it nat­u­ral. But don’t hold back on us­ing a touch of nat­u­ral aro­mat­ics such as onion, gar­lic, herbs and spices to add in­ter­est­ing flavour­ful taste to baby’s meals. The more you ex­pose baby to var­i­ous flavours, the more they will learn how to ex­pand their taste­buds.

AVOID DIS­TRAC­TIONS

In­ter­act and give your un­di­vided at­ten­tion to

COOK AND STORE

It makes per­fect sense for busy par­ents to cook more and freeze foods for baby’s wean­ing. Stor­ing food won’t make it lose its nu­tri­ents or cause baby to have indigestion. That’s just an un­founded be­lief. Store purees of food in ice cube trays so that you can thaw out the por­tion you need. This is par­tic­u­larly help­ful, es­pe­cially in the early days of wean­ing when baby will not be eat­ing much. Once you cook the food, al­low it to cool and then store it straight away in the freezer.

AL­LOW BABY TO SELF FEED WHEN THE TIME COMES

As baby grows into the ap­pro­pri­ate age where they have the abil­ity to self feed, by all means go ahead and let them. This is good to en­hance their mo­tor skills. Plus, it helps them make the con­nec­tion with the eat­ing process. Don’t worry about baby mak­ing a bit of a mess. It’s nat­u­ral as they learn to self-feed. I used to spread out news­pa­pers on the floor be­neath my daugh­ter’s high chair.

FOOD SAFETY AWARE­NESS

When han­dling food, also prac­tise good hy­giene to avoid con­tam­i­na­tion, which can be a po­ten­tial food poi­son­ing haz­ard for baby. Avoid con­tact of cooked food with raw meat or eggs, which har­bour bac­te­ria be­fore they are cooked thor­oughly.

Another thing to re­mem­ber is not to keep any left­over of food baby was eat­ing. Keep in mind that saliva on the spoon al­ready has bac­te­ria on it that can rapidly cause food to go bad in due time.

Also, never leave cooked baby food at room tem­per­a­ture for more than two hours as bac­te­ria will start to mul­ti­ply by then. Al­ways be dili­gent and store ex­cess food in the re­frig­er­a­tor.

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