Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Commencement of solids at 6.5 months

Hi, I am back with some experiences to share, regarding feeding solids to our son. There were initial hiccups, then rejects, insecurities, throw-ups and many more emotions to be handled, when we started giving solids to our son. 

We were, again, poured in with innumerable advice as to when to start solids. Despite lot of pressure from relatives and friends to start early, we started solids for our son not before he was 6.5 months, as he fell ill. Sometimes, they are no longer advice but more of repeated instructions in every conversation, like the FOR LOOP with infinite bounds! Heart in hearts, we know that no one means any harm, just want to give their best input. All we need to do is filter the important information rather than rejecting everything.

Anyway, coming to the main topic, we observed a few signs before we decided on solids.

  • he started attacking the food in our plates, which was not seen until he completed 6 months.
  • he made chewing motion. Initially we thought he has put some object in his mouth, but on inspection found that his mouth was empty. Thus, a sign that he was ready for solids.
  • frequency of desire for breastfeeding increased, guess he was feeling more hungry.
  • he was able to sit upright with back support without losing balance for more than 1 minute. We were not exactly waiting but he somehow was sitting at the same time he was doing the above mentioned things too. Guess, am unsure whether this is a sure sign.
  • he started using his thumb and index finger to pick up things. This started much at the same time that he started sitting. Again not sure if this is to be taken as sure sign.
Few pointers:

After reading about the nutritional requirements of infants when starting solids, following were our conclusions:

  • Iron intake needs to be taken care of as iron supplies start depleting in an infant who is exclusively breastfed for 6 months.
  • Iron absorption increases when iron-rich food is supplemented with vit-C rich food items.
  • Common sources of constipation: (based on our observation of our son)
    • rice
    • banana
    • excessive milk products
    • apples
    • potatoes
  • Consumption of fluids needs to be monitored to avoid constipation.
  • Space every new food introduction by 3-4 days to observe reactions.
  • Always try the food before giving it to the baby.
  • Choose the right time to feed. If the baby is cranky or sleepy or busy playing, then s/he will rarely eat in such moods. 
  • Lastly, be confident and experiment with various foods without fear of reactions. If at all there are reactions, then stop the allergen food item.

First foods (6.5 to 7.2 months)


We started with fruit juices and purees like:
  • squeeze the juice out of grated apple. Dilute the juice in the ratio of 1:8.
  • sweetened mosambi (sweet-lime) juice. Dilute the juice in the ratio of 1:10.
  • diluted tomato puree with little salt and ghee.
The first week we fed him once a day. Generally fruit juice or puree. As he got used to this, we started with semi-solid food. 


Semi-solid food comprised of:
  • mashed boiled apple and raisin. (Raisin for iron)
  • mashed banana. We observed that he had loose motions the next day, 3-4 times, so we discontinued banana. 
  • mashed boiled carrot. 
  • mashed boiled red pumpkin.
  • cerelac Stage 1
First two weeks, I used to mix breastmilk(BM) to the mashed fruits or veggies and feed. Later on, once he got used to them, stopped the BM addition. After one month, he stopped cerelac completely. He just did not relish the taste, which means urgent modification in his foods.

Transition to complex foods

By the time our son completed 7 months, he was eating mashed fruits and veggies. So, then we started rice.

Rice khichri
  • Boil rice with one vegetable. 
  • Grind it in a mixer to make it pasty like cerelac. This is for easy swallowing considering that he did not have any teeth. 
  • After two days, I started adding ghee and little salt. He did not show any reactions to any of the above mixture.
We started dals for him when he was 7.1 month. He readily accepted moong (split green gram) and masoor dal (split red lentils). His body got all rashes when he consumed tur/arhar dal (split red gram). 
Presently, he is having moong dal and masoor dal.

Khichri with dals 
  • Add little ghee in the pressure cooker.
  • Saute little freshly ground jeera powder
  • Add rice and dal (either moong or masoor)
  • Add 3 times the water and little salt.
  • Make the khichri as soft as possible for easy swallowing and digestion.
Khichri with vegetables and dal
  • Add little ghee in the pressure cooker.
  • Saute little freshly ground jeera powder
  • Add chopped vegetables (e.g. potato, tomato, carrot, sweet potato)
  • Add rice and dal (either moong or masoor)
  • Add 3 times the water and little salt.
  • Make the khichri as soft as possible for easy swallowing and digestion.
Ghee adds a very good flavor to the khichri and our son loves khichri with ghee. I guess, putting them on bland food is little tortuous. Guess, upgradation from bland to salty to spicy food should be maintained but to feed them bland food for months together and then complain that they do not eat well, is a little unfair!! Our son hates anything that is bland, he prefers a little tangy flavor. 

By the time he completed 7.5 months, he was eating three times a day. Its the same time he started teething. Now, we feed him more lumpy food and use the grinder sparingly. Also, we do not boil the fruits anymore.

We generally keep the following sequence while preparing his daily menu. 

Morning (anytime between 9-11 am)
Any one or two of the items below:

1. Fruit punch -
  • 1/2 apple
  • 1/2 pear
  • 1 small sapota
  • 2 soaked raisins
  • 1 soaked almond
  • little sweet-lime juice
     Grind them all (or some) together to a fine paste.
2. Mashed fruits
3. Idly with curd

Noon (12:30 pm)
Vegetable soup or home-made chichen soup.

Afternoon (anytime between 2 - 4 pm)
Any one or two of the items below:
  • Khichri
  • boiled veggies with little ghee
  • boiled rice with veggies or purees
  • oats with veggies
And curd or curd with little rice. Curd is his favorite and it has helped him in regulating the texture of his stools.

Evening (5:30 pm - 7 pm)
  • fruit punch 
  • raagi boiled in jaggery water with little cardamom powder added for flavor. He loves this preparation. 
Night (8:30 pm - 9:30 pm)
Generally, the same as lunch. Once in a while, menu may vary from lunch.

Feeding issues
After choosing the right time and menu, next problem to be tackled is the various tantrums-drama of the baby. Also, besides the tantrums, we also learnt the various signs of his being full.
Initially, they take everything served as they are always exploring new things. But after a spoon or two starts the woes!

Food not liked
In case he did not like the food, he would either purse his lips or move his face away or lately started spitting.
Generally, at such times, we stop for sometime and try distracting him and then feed him. He eats most times.

Separation anxiety
As his tummy was getting full with solids and need for breastfeeding reduced, he started getting cranky during meal times. His breastfeeding frequency increased. As soon as he would see the spoon, he just turned his face away and start crying and try put his arms around my neck. That was the reason why we started with solids once a day, and then gradually increased the solid feeds to help him adjust to the solids.

Anyway, whenever he would start crying, I used to take him in my arms and comfort him and then play some of his favorite music and then he used to take the solids. Distraction works pretty well. Also, I tried feeding him with my finger instead of the spoon. That worked too.

This behaviour lasted for some 20 odd days. Gradually, as his solid feeds increased he got adjusted. And now he readily opens his mouth whenever he sees the spoon.

Family eating together
Around the time he completed 8 months, he started getting more involved in his games that he did not like spending time on eating.

Earlier we would feed him first and then have our meals at a later time, but now we make it sure to eat alongwith him. This worked really well as he copies our actions of eating and moreover he knows all are here at the table so no one is free to play!! :) Whatever be the reason it surely works. In a way, this has disciplined us also!!

Copying actions
During those testing times when he would just not open his mouth to anything, then we tried another technique.

I would feed or pretend to feed my husband and then looking him eat, our son would copy him too. So every 3-4 spoons, we would repeat the action. It worked wonders!! :) To inspire him, my husband would exclaim as to how yummy the food is and that he is enjoying. Its fun watching our son eating without any fuss with eyes fixated on his dear daddy!

Alternating foods
Now in his 9th month, he is having two courses per meal. In case he does not like one item, we would generally alternate the sequence. 2 spoons of the item that he liked, then wait and then followed by 2-3 spoons of the less liked item.

If he is not taking both items, then he is either full or not in a mood or wants something else to eat. So got to try the other methods mentioned above.

These were few of our experiences, and lessons learnt. Surely, there will be many more such stories or helpful tips. It will be great if readers shared the same for the benefit of all.

A kid of our own literally fires our creative engines to their maximum! My God! have to devise ways to just get them through a meal with minimum fuss!!

All the best!



  1. I feel hungry now!

  2. when my kids were in these stages i used to give them a small spoon to make them feel they are eating by themselves . all the while feeding them surreptitiuosly . even now at 6.5 yrs ..vittal acts up !! so what i realised is , kids will test u at every step ...only the method changes with maturity .


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