At 6 months old, your baby is ready to transition to semi-solids. Your sleepless nights will be fewer, and you can give a trusted other the responsibility of feeding your baby, since her food is no longer attached to your body. If you were breastfeeding, that is.

Weaning is important because it is a time when a baby can become malnourished from an inadequate supply of nutrients. Also, when you do not prepare weaning foods and serve them hygienically, your baby can get ill. Some babies may develop food aversions from improper weaning practices like force-feeding. So, it is important that weaning is done right.

How do I tell my baby is ready to be weaned?

Doctors recommend that you wait till baby is 6 months old before this transition, but weaning your baby anytime from age 4 months may not be harmful if there is a good reason to do so. Take thgis decision together with your baby’s doctor. Remember, weaning does not mean stopping breastfeeding or replacement feeding altogether. You are just adding semi-solids to your baby’s diet.

Your baby is ready to be weaned if she has good head control, which usually happens by age 4 months, and can hold objects and bring to her mouth. In addition, if your baby is ready to be weaned, he will show interest in what you are eating.

What foods can I wean my baby on?

Any nutritious semi-solid is alright for your baby. The more colorful the food, and the more nutritious it is, the better.

Enriched pap made of carbohydrates like maize and rice, and legumes like soy and groundnut, sweetened with a little sugar, make excellent weaning foods. Boiled tubers enriched with fish and oil are great choices. Porridge enriched with groundnut paste, oil or egg is another fantastic choice. Vegetable blends are good too. Enrich soft family foods and give to your child. Whatever is culturally appropriate is good as long as it is nutritious.

Offer food that is nutritious and appealing. Babies have very small tummies and so are unable to take large quantities of food at a go. If the food is nutritious, then even if just a spoon or two is taken, baby will still be nourished. Babies love bright colours. Therefore, give foods of different colours to your baby. And because babies have very small tummies, a weaning food should not be too watery, else you are only feeding your baby with a lot of water.

Variety is the spice of life, but not so in the early days of weaning. Some foods may cause problems for some babies, especially if the baby is prone to allergies. so for starters, give only one new food at a time. This way, if there is a problem, you can guess the culprit. If you think a food may cause a problem for your baby, delay introducing it to your baby. A dietician can help to plan your baby’s meals with you.

What equipment do I need to wean my baby?

To wean your little one, you need a plate, a cup and a spoon. Try to get these in bright colours.  A high- backed chair is also advisable so baby can sit up while being fed. Get bibs too. You also need a lot of patience, because your baby may be slow to accept weaning foods at first. In this case, just continue to offer it. Offer a new food up to ten times before deciding that your baby won’t take it, and then, just when you are about to give up, offer it again. Food that is refused today may be accepted tomorrow; it may even become a favourite.

Can I force-feed my baby?

Absolutely not. Do not force-feed your baby. Pushing food down your baby’s throat and forcing her to swallow it will frustrate you, and can choke your baby, leading to hospitalization and even death. It can also lead to food aversions.

Making meal times as fun as possible can ease the process for your baby, and reduce stress for the care-giver. Slow but steady wins the weaning race.

Can my baby eat already-made, ready-to-serve weaning foods?

Though very convenient, foods that are ready-to-serve usually have some chemicals to prolong their shelf-life. They also may have loads of sugar. It is best to read and understand the ingredients in any ready-to-serve food and be sure you want your baby to consume those, as these may not be the healthiest choices. Also, if your baby is prone to allergies, you need to be sure that the foods you offer in the initial weaning days do not contain potential allergens.

How many times do I offer a weaning food to my baby in a day?

Offer weaning foods as often as you can, initially. Your baby will accept them slowly at first, and in only small amounts. As long as you continue to breastfeed, do not worry. Once baby accepts weaning foods, feed three times a day a variety of foods, and give a snack in-between main meals. Give fruits everyday, mashed or squeezed. And breastfeed as often as your baby wants.

Good luck as you wean your baby.

Comments

  • Mawuedui December 22, 2020

    Very essential baby care information.
    Easy to read and understand.

    Reply
    • Dr. Seyram Wordui December 22, 2020

      Thanks for the endorsement, Mawuedui

      Reply

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