- Does your baby drool and drool so that his shirt has to be changed four times in a day only because it is dripping wet with drool?
- Does your baby stare intently as you eat, his eyes following your movements from the plate to your lips?
- Do your baby’s eyes glisten when you pass a food counter?
- Does your baby wake up every hour at night because he is not full enough?
That’s when your baby is ready to eat even when he’s not 6 months old.
Neesha is one of those new age moms who insist on nursing their children exclusively for the first six months. When his throat was parched and his lips dry with the heat, I hesitantly asked her if I could wet his lips with a wet cloth. She looked askance and said ” Don’t talk rubbish! He is not supposed to drink water!”
I was equally aghast as I distinctly remember giving her water, gripe water and even a top up with a formula before she was 12 weeks old. In fact I couldn’t wait for twelve weeks to get over before I could get her onto something more wholesome than milk and was really excited to get her into taking solid food. But things have changed today. Nowadays mothers are advised to nurse the child exclusively for 6 months which is a whole 24 weeks or 28+ weeks if you go by the date the baby was born.
As for solids, I remember going to the Pediatrician who notwithstanding his bachelorhood advised me on how I should make delicious and wholesome food for baby, introducing her not only to different food groups but also different tastes.
“Put a dash of cinnamon in the stewed apple, “
“You should add a dash of butter in the mashed potato”
“And a little bit of lime in the daal rice is also good”
So when Neesha asked me when her baby was ready to eat, I was a bit shocked. Actually I have been looking quite shocked whenever she’s asked me anything because so much has changed that I don’t know the right answers anymore.
(“Did you really have us?” she asked me one day when I answered one of her questions of “When did you…? ” with my standard reply of ” I really can’t remember.” )
“I think you’re baby is ready to eat when he begins to drool and starts staring at your food .”
That answer obviously didn’t satisfy her because Keshav has been drooling for the past one month and actively following her every move on the dining table with an intense desire to grab it. But finally today Keshav had his first taste of mashed banana and wonder of wonders, he simply loved it.
Of course these views are purely mine and I’d recommend you consult your own doctor before starting your baby on solids. Each baby is different and there is nothing sacrosanct about weaning a baby after six months.
But take care to introduce only one food per week and start small : one teaspoon at first and then gradually increasing the amount.
The food should ideally be pureed so that it is easy for baby to swallow .
Above all, make sure that the baby’s spoon and bowl are kept separately from your regular dishes so that there is no chance of contamination. Your baby may be touching everything and putting his fingers in his mouth but he still has a delicate stomach and won’t be able to handle a rumbly tummy.