In a recent online chat with nutritionist, Uma Narula, Moms asked several questions on their child's nutrition and eating habits. In case you missed this chat, read this excerpt to park your worries.
Q. My son is 6.5 months old. I want to ask whether it is true that all his nutrition needs can be met through mother's milk till the age of 1 year? If not, how often should I give him solids? Your guidance on the kind of food I can include in his diet now would be very helpful.
A. At this age, we need to include solid foods in his diet...milk alone will not be sufficient...you may start with sooji kheer, curd, grated fruits, boiled potatoes but quantity should only be 2 teaspoons to begin with, as he starts accepting the solid foods we may gradually increase the quantity...the focus should be on introducing more variety of food items rather than quantity.
Q. How do I know if I have vitamin B, D, iron and calcium deficiencies? Are there any particular signs which reflect the same in adults?
A. You may get a simple blood test done to know whether or not the deficiency is there. Vitamin D deficiency is very common and one often feels pain in legs specially after doing any form of physical activity. Iron deficiency symptoms include tiredness and drowsiness...same applies for Vitamin B too.
Q (Contd). What supplements can be taken for iron, vitamin D and calcium and for how long?
A. For iron chicken, fish, liver, eggs, green leafy veggies, wheat grass, cooking in iron vessel helps. Vitamin D is produced by the body in presence of sunlight alone but yes most of us in urban areas suffer from deficiency. So supplementation is required & same for vitamin B, but the dosage can be decided only after getting the tests done.
Q. My son is 18 months old lately he has stopped eating food, spits out everything I feed him. Earlier he was not at all a fussy eater. Now he has become crankier, he is quite an active kid otherwise. How to make sure he is getting all the nutrients? He doesn't even have half chapati. I still breastfeed him.
A. Please relax. Toddler often exhibit fussy eating behaviors. Try feeding his favourite home cooked food for few days. Engage him in washing veggies, grocery shopping, let him pick fruits of his choice, ask him what he wants to have in breakfast next day... that does not mean that you always cook as per his instructions but at times this strategy helps. You may continue breast feeding but only after feeding him solids.
Q (Contd). But the problem is that he is not even eating his favourite food and inclination is more towards sweets. Anything which tastes sweet. When I am present in front of him he wants breastmilk only.
A. I think he is just trying to take an advantage of the situation. Don’t talk in front of him that he doesn’t eat, don’t get sweets in the house. Believe me, no kid can remain hungry. Be patient & persistent...try cooking with him. All these simple things go a long way in breaking fussy eating habits.
Q. My son is 8 weeks old and nowadays he hardly nurses for 10 minutes at a time. Wanted to know if duration is fine?
A. Don’t worry at all. Children have a sense of hunger by birth and also know when to stop once full. The baby will definitely suck the amount with which he feels full.
Q. My kid is 2.7 months old and his height and weight is average. What to do to increase his height? He looks shorter as compared to other kids of his age. Actually I am not too tall, so I am worried about his height and weight. What should I add to his diet? He eats very less. Can I give him pedisure or any other supplements?
A. Make sure to include enough of protein in his diet - eggs, whole pulses, soya bean, milk & milk products are good sources. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts should also be included in daily diet. You need not worry if he is in average weight category, also his genes have an important role to play in his height.
Q (Contd). I give almonds and other dry fruit salad. Can eggs be given in summer? If yes, in what quantity?
A. 1 egg should be good for him and once almonds are soaked its ok. The quantity also depends how much the kid’s body can take.
Q. My son is 15 months old and has been eating everything we serve quite well. I feed him chicken, fish, paneer and usual veggies like broccoli, zucchini, potato, green peas, capsicum, carrot, French beans, beetroot, pumpkin. When is a good time to start with spinach and leafy veggies? Also apart from biscuits, what else can we feed as a snack to a 15-months-old? He has around 20 teeth.
A. Shirin, introduce all food items cooked at home. You need not wait to start green veggies. Biscuits are not a good option as a snack, rather give idli, dosa, veg roll, upma, poha, sheera, milkshake, fruits as snacks.
Q. My baby is 1-year-old now. What foods will be best to increase his height?
A. Foods rich in protein such as milk & milk products, eggs, chicken, fish, nuts such as almonds, walnuts help but the genes of kid also have a predominant role!
Q. Any specific diet for me to increase breast milk? I have started including little spice in my food, is that ok?
A. Have enough water, the base of milk, protein rich foods such as eggs, soya bean, whole pulses, dry fruits such as makhanas, cumin seeds or jeera, gond or dink also help in increasing milk production
Q. Elders in the family recommend giving ghutti to 2-months old baby. The Pediatrician has not allowed that. Do you think it is safe and can be given to the baby?
A. Not a good idea.
Q. What can I give him with milk, I give Bournvita right now, but he doesn’t like it anymore, so want to change.
A. Powdered dry fruits is best option. You may try Protinex in milk.
Q. Is heel pain associated with Vitamin deficiency?
A. Yes can be because of Vitamin C or D deficiency; it also could be due to elevated uric acid levels