Appropriate foods for complimentary feeding

  • Fitterfly - Team Nutrition

  • Posted On January 22, 2018

Complimentary feeding or weaning is defined by UNICEF as “the systemic process of introduction of suitable food at the right time in addition to mother’s milk in order to provide needed nutrients to the baby."

Why should I initiate complimentary feeding at the right time?

  • It is the second step of self-existence of the baby.
  • Its negligence poses a high risk of malnutrition and micronutrients deficiency as the nutrient requirement changes after 6 months of birth.
  • Baby must thrive well only on breast milk for first six months and later on may need additional nutritional support for optimum growth.
    • Energy demands changes from 92 kcals/kg/day to 80 kcals /kg/day (need to take into consideration that body weight also doubles by 5 months of age).
    • Protein requirement increases from 1.16 gms./kg/day to 1.69 gms./kg/day

The baby’s body undergoes anatomical and physiological changes to face weaning in the following way ….

  • Baby achieves head control and hand and mouth coordination.
  • Intestinal amylase matures and the gut becomes ready to accept cereals and pulses gradually.
  • Prior to tooth eruption the gum starts hardening.

Following are the foods which can be introduced to the baby as complimentary foods:

We need to focus mainly on homemade foods so that baby accepts food easily later

  • Need to start with mono cereals – Rice being the best choice as its gluten free and easily digestible (Made into gruels or soft cooked and mashed).
  • Can proceed to
    • Multi cereals
    • g. : Wheat porridge or Ragi malt
    • Cereal pulse combination as we proceed as they make up for the amino acids
    • g.: Rice mung dal khichadi, soft cooked mashed rice with dal.
  • As the baby tolerates above mentioned food, can proceed to soft cooked roots and tubers
    • g.: potato, mashed sweet potato.
  • Fruits and vegetables choices to start with can be
    • Apple stew, Mashed banana, Chickoo and gradually all foods can be introduced as per tolerance.
    • Pumpkin, Carrot, beetroot, palak, should be blanched, cooked  for better tolerance.
    • Veggie strips can be great finger food options.
  • Non vegetarian foods can be introduced by 8 - 10 months
    • Starting with an egg yolk first then the white as the white may be allergenic in some.
    • Gradually Chicken soup / soft cooked lean meat by 10 -12 months of age
    • Fish can be introduced after a year

To Summarise :

Around six months of age

Cereal (Malted) – Rice , Ragi malt , Sooji porridge .

Initiating with 1-2 spoonfulls then over ½ -1 cup
6-9 months

Cereal pulse / cereal vegetable combination – Rice with dal, mashed vegetables and tubers .

Fruits – Juice or pureed

Egg yolk
9-12 months 

Soft cooked food minus the strong spices – Ghee, salt, cumin, asafetida, jaggery can be added.

Poultry can be introduced.



The few points to be considered while weaning are:

  • Preparation of the feed should be done hygienically else it may lead to contamination and infection.
  • Dilution of the prepared feed may lead caloric restriction.

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Disclaimer: All information here, including text, images, tables, videos and any other content is for your knowledge only and we do not guarantee any specific result by following these recommendations as it may vary from person to person. The information is not a substitute for qualified medical advice from a doctor or other medical health expert.