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An inclusive weaning guide for your baby

An inclusive weaning guide for your baby
September 09
09:36 2014

The process of withdrawing mother’s milk and accustoming your baby to solid foods is termed as weaning. For every mom, especially first time moms deciding when to introduce solid foods in your baby’s diet can be daunting. If you are also considering introducing solid food in your baby’s diet then reading this article can help.

Breast milk or formula milk is nutritionally sufficient for a baby up until six months of age. Once your baby is six months old, it is essential to introduce weaning foods in order to meet the increasing nutritional needs of the growing baby, especially of iron. However, the best way to find out when your baby is ready, is to watch for some signs of developmental readiness.

Here are the few signs that you should pay attention to in order to establish the developmental readiness, when considering weaning.

  1. Can sit properly in an upright position that can make spoon feeding possible
  2. Able to hold head up
  3. Makes motion as chewing something and is able to take food from front to backside in order to swallow the bite
  4. No reverse swallow or tongue thrust
  5. Takes interest in your food, keeps looking at it or tries to reach it
  6. Salivate and habit of keeping stuff into mouth
  7. Shows signs of hunger, more than usual

Babies whose growth is slow or have deficiency of iron, anaemia may be accustomed to solid foods earlier, as suggested by dietitians and doctors. But, you should not introduce weaning foods before your baby is 4 months of age. The gastrointestinal and renal functions normally mature to metabolize nutrients from food by age of 4 months. Conversely, weaning should not be postponed more than 6 months of age. The delay can enhance the probability of feeding problems and only milk won’t be sufficient to provide required nutrition to the baby.

Appropriate weaning foods: The first weaning foods recommended for babies include iron fortified plain rice cereal. You can mix it with formula milk or breast milk in a needed consistency. There is no specific pattern for food weaning. Depending on the nutritional needs of the baby, foods should be introduced. Nevertheless, you can pay attention to the consistency and texture of the foods you are offering. It is also vital to bring in one food at a time. In addition, you can wait for 4-5 days before you introduce another new food item to find out if there are any negative reactions.

Advancement of weaning:

Get started at 6 months of age:

The primary food that you introduce your baby to when he/she is 6 months of age should be a soft puree with a plain taste. The consistency, should be little more than milk. You can check the apt consistency by keeping the food on the spoon; if the food retains its shape then it should be considered too solid for the infant. One feed in a day is good to go, increasing the quantity should be done gradually. It is also vital to keep track of baby’s speed. Breast milk or formula milk should be given first preference in order to satisfy baby’s hunger. The main aim here is to make your baby familiar to spoon-feeding.

Taking weaning ahead at 7-9 months of age:

As the baby is 7-9 months old, you can start giving foods with thicker consistency and soft lumps. The infant may be having two or three meals. After around 8 months of age, you can start giving foods with texture that is, foods with soft lumps that need some chewing, as this is a significant period for the infant to develop muscles and oral skills. Start giving finger foods to help chewing and self-eating skills in addition.

Starting family foods from 9 months onwards:

No need to make puree of foods given to the baby, now you can give minced or finely chopped foods. You can also offer family foods without seasoning, sugar and salt, this will also help give your baby, a nice range of foods. Once your baby is one year old, he or she can be encouraged to join the family meals. Moreover, you don’t have to cook something different for your kid.

Tips that can make weaning easier:

Trying to wean your baby to solid foods can be daunting and nerve-racking. Some parents pass this stage very easily, while some face difficulties in making their infants accustom to solid foods. This is a significant stage of behavioral and emotional development for the baby and great patience is required.

Here are a few tips that you can consider to make weaning easy:

Don’t try to forcefully feed your baby. It is important for your baby to build up the pace. When you offer food to your baby, wait for him/her to open the mouth. If he/she refuses, try one more time after sometime or next day when baby is little tired or hungry. In starting, it is important to give him/her ample of time for completing the meal.

Begin with small serving and gradually increase

Be ready that the baby may not eat new taste easily. He/she may take a few bites and stop. But, don’t take this rejection as lasting aversion. So, offer the food again. In general, it is known that minimum 15 exposures may be required for a baby to agree to an unfamiliar taste.

Do not be too choosy about cleanliness at the time of the meal and avoid wiping him/her over and over again. Untidiness at the time of meal should be expected.

How to ensure safety at the time of meal:

To avoid choking:

  • Supervising your baby during meal is vital
  • The posture of the baby when eating food should be correct (sitting on a lap with upright position or if possible, in a high chair)
  • Keep the consistency and texture suitable, as per the infant’s readiness.
  • Avoid foods that are hard or need more chewing. Avoid foods like raw carrots, whole raisins, nuts, grapes, and hard sweets.
  • During feeding times, maintain a quiet atmosphere
For nice hygiene while preparing food for your baby:
  • Before touching your baby’s food, wash your hands.
  • Keep cooked and uncooked food separately
  • Cook meat carefully
  • At the time of reheating food, always heat it until it boils. When using microwave, blend the food thoroughly and before offering it to your baby, test the hotness
  • Leftovers should be covered and refrigerated quickly
  • Dispose of food left in the plate.
  • We hope you will find these weaning tips and strategies helpful in accustoming your baby to solid foods. You can also consult your doctor before you start weaning foods.

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