Weaning is shifting your baby to solid foods and introducing him to various kinds of diets. It starts just after breastfeeding and weaning is a slow process by which the baby starts taking taste of other food like juices, pureed foods and the intake of breast milk starts reducing gradually.
This is very important time in the baby as well as mother’s life as the baby will start getting off the breast milk and the mother has to make the right choice and convince the baby to start taking solids. Generally babies do not react positively towards weaning and might become cranky. They might throw up the food or start crying but this is the time when you can introduce them to their solids and give them proper nutrients which their body requires for proper development.
When To Start Weaning
That is another big question, that what the right time to start weaning a baby is. Researchers have suggested that after SIX months is the ideal time for baby to start shifting towards other foods. However if there are some problems like mother’s have to return back to work or not enough milk production is there then you can start weaning from four months also. So four to six months is the ideal time to start weaning. The World Health Organization also recommends that the baby should be exclusively on mothers’ milk till six months. However if you start weaning after six months:
The digestive systems lining will be fully developed by then to digest the solids nicely. The kidneys will also be fully developed to excrete the toxins and the waste generated in the body due to solid foods. If you start weaning earlier the baby will absorb less nutrients from mother’s milk. The risk of developing allergies and infections is increased if weaned earlier. Digestive problems and obesity might develop in later stages in the baby. After six months various nutrients like iron, zinc etc. are not enough in breast milk for growing baby so you need to start weaning so that the baby gets right supply of nutrients for growth.
Signs To Start Weaning
Look for signs which indicate that baby is 5ready to start weaning. Like when he starts sitting up. If he starts putting toys in his mouth and starts chewing them, this means he is ready for weaning. If he reaches for things and grabs them correctly, then too it is a sign that your baby is ready to start solid diets. Waking up in the night is not a sign for weaning to be started. There might be some other reason which is disturbing his sleep.
Important Points During Weaning
Since the baby is used to the bland taste of your milk till now so go for bland tasting foods. He will accept them easily. Only one new food should be introduced at a time so that he develops a taste for that food. Moreover you will also get to know that whether the baby is reacting positively to that food or not by judging his intake and stool.
Give solid food only once in a day when you are introducing him to solid diet. The portions of food should be kept very small initially may be one to four teaspoons is enough, however you can increase the portion size gradually. Switch over to another food once the baby starts liking the first one. This will develop his taste for different foods and while growing he will learn to eat healthy food.
The consistency of the food should be very thin initially and it should be increased gradually. Thinner foods or liquids get digested quickly than solid or thick foods. Variety is spice for the baby, so keep on introducing new and colourful food to the bay. If the baby shows dislike for a particular food after trying two three times , stop giving that food for a week or two and after that reintroduce that food again , the baby might start liking it.
Even then if he does not like that food you can mix it with another food of his liking, then he might start eating it. If the child objects to eating solids do not force him to eat them. Try diverting his attention and then make him eat like play music or dance with him so that while dancing he will start eating the food. Forceful introduction of food will drive him away from food and he will come back to breast milk again.
As it is the easiest way to satisfy his hunger. Do not add extra salt or sugar in baby’s food. If some amount of sweetening is required then does it with fruit puree. Extra salt in the baby food might prove harmful if given before the age of one. So avoid giving salt to the baby before the age of one. There is no need to add salt and spices to the baby’s food. It might harm his digestive lining and he might develop some infections in the digestive tract.
When the baby develops taste for one solid food in good amount then introduce the second food, this will make him realise the difference between the two tastes. Breastfeeding should be co0ntinued while introducing solids. A combination of 5-6 feeds with breast milk is correct way to start weaning. Do not puree the foods with the blender; mashing the food with spoon is all right.
Keep on feeding the baby till he is one year old. This will help in developing strong immunity system in the baby. Try to wean baby with home cooked foods and avoid weaning packages or foods available in the market. Start with liquids first like you can give moong dal water that is moong dal boiled in water. Next you can give mashed boiled potatoes, boiled moong dal and fruit juices. Before starting weaning gather all the required items necessary for weaning like bibs, special spoons and bowls for the baby etc. Not to forget keep the camera ready to click your baby’s first snaps while holding a spoon and eating.