Stage 1: Baby Foods for Early Weaning
After the fourth month, stage 1 can be practiced. In order to supplement nutrition and cultivate interest for other food, you should start feeding your child baby food. Start with the rice milk which you cooked and don't use fruit juice. It's only giving the child a taste of the food. If you were to feed your child with whatever food you like, this will lead to allergies or a weakened digestive system. Below are some early baby food guides to help you.
When should Baby Food Start? How much Food should be given?
Four months after birth
Baby Food should start for a 4 to 6 months old baby. Feeding baby food too early isn't necessarily beneficial and will cause diarrhea and vomiting for the child as its digestive system isn't fully developed yet. As its immune system is still rather weak, feeding baby food too early may cause the child to develop allergies. Babies on a formula milk diet can start baby food after fourth months. If the child is drinking breast milk and its growth has been normal, you may start baby food by the sixth month.
Babies with allergies should only start baby food after six months
If a child with allergies is weaned too early, its allergic condition may worsen. So it's best to only start baby food after six months. Children with a family history of allergies should also wean after the sixth month. Be patient and carefully observe your child's condition before starting to wean gradually.
If the baby starts to take interest in the adult’s food
Four months after birth, if the child is curious about the food which the adults are eating and tries to touch the cutleries on the table, start to drool or mimic the adult’s chewing actions, this means you should prepare to wean your child.
When the child's neck can support a body weight of 6 or 7 kilograms
The mouth, neck, tongue and other relevant muscles should be fully developed before the child can learn to swallow properly. Therefore, its weight should be six or seven kilograms. The digestive ability in children varies greatly – some are weak while others are good. So you should plan baby food according to your child's condition. For a young child who isn't mature yet or its development is slower than other children of the same age, consult the pediatrician first and delay baby food.
One baby food meal daily in Stage 1
For a 4 or 5 months old baby, baby food should be eaten only once daily in the first month of feeding. That meal is best eaten in the morning. You can let your child drink a little breast milk or formula milk before feeding it with a quarter spoon of baby food food, and then let it suckle or drink formula milk again. When you feed your child with unfamiliar baby food when it's hungry, the child can reject the food immediately and therefore reject baby food completely. The child should be introduced to baby food slowly. After familiarization, you can straightaway feed it with baby food before letting it suckle. After its sixth month, baby food should be fed twice a day – once in the morning, once in the afternoon.
Start with a quarter spoon of baby food before slowly increasing it
In stage 1, be patient as the child's intestines may not be able to adapt to external food. Feeding the baby according to the amount it's able to eat will be quite problematic. In the stage 1, only feed it a quarter spoon of baby food once daily. If the baby takes baby food very well after three or four days, slowly increase the amount to half a spoonful. Observe for another three or four days before gradually increasing the amount of baby food. After the child's sixth month, increase its baby food to three or four spoonfuls daily.
What to Eat during Stage 1?
Start with rice milk
Rice is very unlikely to give rise to allergic reactions, so you may use rice milk as baby food in the beginning. In the first and second weeks of baby food feeding, feed the baby with rice milk made of white rice. After that, you may add a new ingredient to the rice milk every one or two weeks. This way, you'll know clearly whether your child has allergic reaction to certain food.
Don't let the child drink fruit juice yet
Fruit juices will cause allergies. Letting the child drink fruit juices too early may lead to diarrhea or digestive problems. Especially if you start with sweet fruit juices, the child will reject the bland-tasting rice milk.
Only add vegetables after the child is familiar with porridge
After the child is familiar with porridge, let it eat vegetables first instead of fruits. If sweeter fruits are eaten before vegetables, the child will completely reject vegetables. In the beginning, it's best to include potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, small cucumbers, spinach, and Chinese cabbages.
Start with apple juice
It's wrong to feed the child fruit juices in stage 1. Fruits should only be given to children after six months. The most suitable fruit juice during stage 1 is apple juice. Apples, pears, peaches and apricots are also suitable fruits during this period. Common juices like tangerine juice and orange juice should only be given to the child after nine or 12 months. Strawberries and tomatoes should only be eaten after the child turns one year old. As grapes may block the windpipe, the child can only drink grape juice with chopped grapes in it after two years old. Use only ripe fruits to extract their juices and water and juice should be 1:1. Try not to let the child drink more than 50c.c. of fruit juice daily.
Tip: Important Things to Remember while giving the Child Fruit Juices
After six weeks, you may feed the baby with fruit juices without additives. However, while the mother is paring fruits on the chopping board, bacteria on her hands may get into the fruit juice. This will easily infect children without strong immunity. After removing the fruit skin, cook the flesh thoroughly with hot water before extracting its juice.
In the beginning of feeding the child with fruit juices, the proportion of juice and water should be 1:1 before letting the child drink undiluted juice slowly. If the child can drink 5c.c. of juice diluted with 5c.c. of water without any issues on the first day, dilute 10c.c. of juice with 10c.c. of water on the second day. Do these until 60c.c. Maintain this capacity of juice, slowly reduce water content until the child can drink 60c.c. of pure fruit juice. By this time, you may mash up the fruit and feed it to your child directly. During stage 1, don't let the child drink more than 50c.c. of fruit juice daily. Only after one year old can the child drink 120c.c. daily.
How to Feed the Child?
Watery soups like five-part porridge are more suitable
During stage 1, the child is most suited to eat five-part porridge. Five-part porridge has a consistency similar to thin soup and it's cooked with five parts water and one part rice. In the beginning, you may use breast milk or formula milk to replace the water used in cooking porridge. After six months, you may also add fruit juices. Fresh milk is however not recommended.
Use a spoon to feed the child
During stage 1, it's most important to let the child be familiar with eating food and their various flavors. Supplementing nutrients is secondary. The reason for feeding the child with a spoon lies here. As the child will spend more time eating with a spoon than sucking from a milk bottle, you should allow for sufficient time to let the child learn how to slowly feed itself until it's full. Cultivating the right eating habits in the child is very important.
Steam the food, don't microwave it
Though it's more convenient to use the microwave oven, it'll destroy the nutrients in the food. So it's better to steam the food for the child if you're about worried about the destruction of nutrients.
Knowledge in a Box: Highly Nutritious Soups
Ingredients: 300g beef shank
1. Cut beef into suitable sizes and wash thoroughly. Boil 1400c.c. of water in a pot, add beef and bring to a boil.
2. After removing impurities and bubbles, turn to small heat and braise for one hour. Cook until nutrients and flavor of beef are out.
3. Off fire, let soup sit until it cools and refrigerate for about an hour. Skim off white oily stuff on top of soup and it's ready to be served.
Ingredients: three drumsticks
1. Remove skin and wash drumsticks thoroughly. Boil 1600c.c. of water in a pot, add chicken meat and bring to a boil.
2. After removing impurities and bubbles, turn to small heat and braise for one hour. Cook until nutrients and flavor of chicken meat are out.
3. Off fire, let soup sit until it cools and refrigerate for about an hour. Skim off yellow oil on top of soup and it's ready to be served.
Ingredients: 70g onions, Chinese cabbage, spinach, carrot, scallion and pumpkin each
1. Wash and cut everything into small cubes.
2. Boil 1000c.c. of water in pot, add all vegetables and cook until they're very soft. Turn off the fire.
3. Scoop up all vegetables. The soup is ready to be served.
Dried Fish Soup
Ingredients: 50g of little dried fish
1. Boil 600c.c. of water in a pot, add dried fish and cook for another five minutes.
Only cook until you can smell the flavor of the dried fish. Cooking for too long will cause the taste of the soup to become too strong which will spoil the child's appetite. If the child has allergies, only let it drink dried fish soup after one year old.
Ingredients: one piece of kelp
1. Cut kelp into four squares of 3cm. Wash thoroughly and put into pot.
2. Add 1200c.c. of water into pot, boil under high heat for 30 minutes. Drain bubbles and cook on medium heat for another 10 minutes.
3. Drain away kelp pieces and impurities before serving up clear soup.
Eight Dishes Best for Stage 1
The main purpose of stage 1 isn't to supplement nutrients for the child. It's to build up its curiosity for food. So try to prepare soup-like food which the child can easily eat. Avoid dry food totally.
Ingredients: 100g uncooked rice and 100c.c. water
1. Wash rice and soak in water for an hour.
2. Put soaked rice in blender to process into powder or use mortar and pestle to pulverize.
3. Add powdered rice into water which has been prepared and cook on high heat.
4. After the water boils, switch to low heat and cook for another five minutes.
5. Remove bigger grains in porridge and it's ready to be served.
Rice and Potato Porridge
Ingredients: 10g uncooked rice, 10g potato and 100c.c. water
1. Wash rice and soak in water for an hour, then drain.
2. Wash potato thoroughly – no need to remove skin. Just remove its 'eyes'. Steam and remove skin.
3. Add soaked rice to water, cook until porridge boils before switching to low heat. When water dries up, cook until the porridge boils again and switch off heat.
4. Add two spoonfuls of mash potatoes into porridge and boil for another minute.
Peas and Potatoes Soup
Ingredients: Two spoonfuls peas, one-third potato and 200c.c. water
1. Cook peas and potato thoroughly and mash.
2. Put mashed peas and potato into pot, add water and bring to a boil.
3. Bring to a boil before switching to low heat.
4. Cook with low heat until soup thickens.
5. Sieve soup to remove all vegetables.
6. Mash up vegetables again, put them back in soup and boil again.
Small Cucumber Soup
Ingredients: 10g uncooked rice, 5g small cucumber and 100c.c. water
1. Wash rice and soak in water for an hour. Then drain.
2. Wash cucumber and dice.
3. Add water to diced cucumber and cook quickly.
4. Add soaked rice to cucumbers and bring to a boil on high heat.
5. Switch to low heat as soon as porridge boils, stirring occasionally. Bring porridge to a boil again before serving.
Ingredients: 50g pumpkin, 100c.c. water and 1 big spoon breast milk or formula milk
1. Remove pumpkin skin and fiber and finely dice.
2. Put pumpkin into pot, add water and bring to a boil on high heat.
3. Switch to low heat as soon as it boils and boil again.
4. Remove pumpkin and crush into pulp.
5. Put pumpkin pulp back into pot, cook on low heat for another minute. Add breast milk or formula milk and cook for another minute.
Ingredients: 10g rice, 100c.c. water, carrot, potato and small cucumber of 20g each, one big spoonful breast milk or formula milk
1. Wash carrot, potato and small cucumber under running water.
2. Cook vegetables and finely mash.
3. Put soaked rice into blender and grind.
4. Add water and cook those in step 3 until it turns translucent.
5. Add breast milk or formula milk into the ones on step 4 and continue to cook for a little while. Add mash vegetables and cook for another minute before serving.
Sweet Potato Porridge
Ingredients: 10g rice, 5g sweet potato and 100c.c. water
1. Wash rice and soak in water for an hour. Then drain.
2. Finely dice sweet potato, and soak in cold water for 10 minutes to remove stickiness.
3. Steam sweet potato in boiling water and mash.
4. Add water to rice and cook on high heat. As soon as porridge boils, switch to low heat and continue to boil.
5. After the porridge is cooked, add mash sweet potato and cook for another minute till porridge boils.
Ingredients: 10g rice, 70c.c. water and 50c.c. breast milk or formula milk
1. Wash rice and soak in cold water for an hour until it expands.
2. Add adequate water to soaked rice and use high heat to bring to a boil.
3. As soon as the porridge boils, switch to low heat and bring to another boil. If the porridge is too thick, add a little breast milk or formula milk to dilute it.
4. When the porridge is cooked, add the rest of breast milk or formula milk then boil for another minute.
And those are the information and some recipes that you can use for stage 1 baby food.