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All You Need to Know About Weaning - Part 2

You have already read about how to start the weaning process for your baby, let's discuss how to continue the process in a healthy and safe way.

From seven to nine months

From now your baby’s ability to join in with family meals increases enormously. You should offer him a wide range of foods to fulfill his nutrient requirements, and to get him used to eating different flavours. There are also fewer foods to avoid.

If you are buying commercially produced food, the ranges normally go from four to seven months and seven months upwards. In fact, there’s no nutritional reason why a baby of six months can’t eat jars of food labelled seven months plus (although the consistency may need adjusting).

Now’s the time to introduce:

• Mashed or minced food, not purées. Be sure to include some lumps.

• A wider range of starchy foods — khichri, suji upma, suji kheer, sabutdaana kheer, dalia, bread, baby breadsticks, breakfast cereals, oats, in addition to cornmeal, potatoes, rice and millet. Give two to three servings a day of starchy foods.

• Cooled boiled water from a sipper with a soft spout, when she is thirsty, in addition to her daily breastmilk or 500-600 mls of formula. If you do choose to give fruit juice, keep it to mealtimes only and dilute it 1 part juice to 10 of cooled boiled water, and use a beaker or feeding cup, not a bottle. Keeping juice to meal times helps with iron absorption and reduces the risk of damage to emerging teeth.

• Citrus fruits, such as oranges and sweetlime (mausambi.

• Eggs which are well cooked, fish and shellfish can be added to the other protein-rich foods in her diet — lean red meat, poultry and lentils. Aim for one serving of protein-rich food a day.

• Nut butters are fine for babies who don’t have a family history of allergic diseases. Use unsalted smooth versions, or make your own.

• Dairy products, such as fromage frais, yogurt and cheese. Although you should wait until one year to introduce cow’s milk as a drink, it can be used in cooking or in your baby’s breakfast cereal, so make a cheese sauce to add to vegetables or pasta.

• Follow-on formula can be used if you wish.

• Finger foods are great once your baby can hold things, and allow her a degree of control. Try cooked green beans or carrots, cubes of cheese, slices of banana or soft pear.

Stay tuned for the last installation of this series where we talk about the crucial 10 month stage