When is it appropriate to replace a milk feed with congee?
My baby just started eating congee and can't finish one bowl. What can I do?
In the early period of introducing solid foods, babies are still drinking milk as their main diet. They just start to learn how to chew and swallow food. When they eat congee, it is easy for them to be tired and to stop eating. Since the amount of solids eaten is small and not enough to satisfy their needs, parents need to supplement babies with milk after eating solids, according to their babies' needs.
Under what situations can a milk feed be replaced with congee?
For babies older than 6 months, their requirement on iron is higher. They must eat iron-rich foods everyday. Since plain rice congee contains only trace amount of iron, green leafy vegetables, meat, fish, eggs or beans need to be added. You can add small amount of plant oils. When the amount of solid foods taken in each meal is enough and when there is no need to supplement milk after eating congee with vegetables and meat for several days consistently, the congee can then replace a milk feed.
At the age of around eight months old, most babies can eat about half to more than half bowl of congee with vegetables and meat, hence the congee can replace one milk feed.
Apart from meat, what other foods are rich in iron?
Iron in fish, meat and seafood is easy to be absorbed. Egg yolk also contains a rich source of iron. Liver contains a very high level of iron, however, only once every 1 to 2 weeks are advised for babies.
Leaves from green-leafy vegetables like Choy Sum and little Bok Choy, dried beans like red kidney beans and tofu are also rich sources of iron. Babies who eat smaller amount of meat can eat more iron-enriched baby rice or wheat cereals to replace congee. Eating more vitamin C rich fruits like kiwi fruits and oranges during mealtimes can enhances the body to absorb more iron.