How to Wean Your Child?
Now your baby is 6 months old – congratulations! She/he is ready to start semi solid /solid foods. Many parents eagerly wait for that moment when their little kid will start eating semi solid /solid foods. There is so much fun to watch the expressions on those little faces change as they taste new food and flavors.
After Month exclusive breast feeding (or in some cases formula feeding), now it’s a biggest milestone point in any baby’s life as it is time to start semi solid or solid foods. Also, water is introduced to your babies only after the completion of 6 months.
Breast feeding should not be stopped even after starting complete solid foods. Breast milk or formula based milk must be the major part of a 6month baby’s diet and that should be continued till baby is 12 months old.
Weaning food means first solid food to your baby after 6 months of exclusive breast feeding. After 6 months of age your baby will start showing the sign that he or she is ready for solid foods. During weaning first food must be home made, soft, cooked, pureed or mashed and easy to digest.
HOW SHOULD YOU KNOW YOUR BABY IS READY FOR WEANING?
- Baby’s head and neck should be stable.
- Baby will able to sit on a chair with back support.
- Baby can open and close the mouth around spoon.
- Baby will be ready to chew.
- Even after breastfeeding or formula feeding baby is still hungry and shows interest in food.
- When you are introducing first solid food to your baby some point should be keep in mind. i.e.
- Food should be thoroughly mashed and pureed well and it is easy to digest.
- 3 days wait rule must be follow, i.e. you must keep a gap of three days in between two new foods, to check any food allergies in babies. In case of any food allergy that particular food should be stopped.
- Always feed solid food to your baby in sitting posture on chair or in your lap.
- Breast milk or formula milk should not be added during cooking. Breast milk or formula milk should be added once the food is ready to eat for your baby.
- Weaning food must be soft, properly cooked and easy to chew.
- Start with a very small quantity and slowly increase the portion.
- Weaning food must be single grain food.
- Freshly cooked food must be feed to your baby.
- Don’t add salt, sugar or honey to your baby’s food.
- During weaning few babies can face the problem of constipation.
- Force feeding should not be done. Solid food intakes will increase gradually.
- Proper sanitation and hygiene should be maintained as your baby’s immunity system is still weak and is vulnerable to all kind of germs attacks. Please make it ensure that all feeding utensils are properly clean and sterilized.
Some weaning food which will be easily digestible:
For 6 -8month babies:
- Breast milk or formula based milk.
- Clear dal soup.
- Tender coconut water
- Clear vegetable soup
- Diluted fruit juice (fruit juice and water 1:1)
- Well cooked, mashed and pureed rice with dal soup,
- Stewed and mashed apple, pear
- Mashed banana
- Home made suji, barley, oats porridge with breast milk or formula milk.
For 9 months:
- Sliced banana/ small pieces of soft food
- Variety of small and diced cooked vegetables.
- Well cooked, minced fish, poultry, meat.
For 12 months:
- Small pieces of fruits/ cooked vegetable
- Soft, well cooked fish, poultry, meat (shredded)
- Initially it is difficult to know exactly how much your baby should eat.
- In beginning about 90ml per feeding twice a day should be enough.
- In the first week you need to follow three days rule strictly as you are introducing new foods along with breast milk or formula milk, so start with a very small quantity. Please ensure that your baby should be feed enough amount of breast milk or formula milk as initially, weaning food is complimentary food.
TIPS FOR THE MOM:
Try to fix baby’s schedule for activity, sleep and meal time. Once your baby adopted the schedule, your job will be easy to do.
In the first week, you can introduce two types of food not more than that. Example, you can give stewed apple puree and clear vegetable soup.
In the second week, you can introduce two new foods to your infant.
By the end of 3rd week, your baby has been introduced 6 new foods. It is possible that your baby doesn’t like certain puree or soup. Be patience and don’t force feed your baby.
Continue giving mashed/pureed foods to your baby in the 4th week also.
By the end of 4th week, your baby has been introduced to at least 8 new foods. You can feed food at any time of the day, based on your baby’s schedule.
If your baby likes to have solid in dinner time, then you can feed solid food in the dinner as well.
IMPORTNCE OF WEANING:
A baby’s birth weight doubles by six months and triples by one year. To support this growth babies, need a nutritious diet.
From 6 months of age neither human breast milk nor infant formula milk intake alone are sufficient to meet your baby’s growing needs and the introduction of solid foods to the diet is essential.
Babies need something to eat about every two hours. By about 9month babies have a few teeth and can start eating larger pieces of food. Chewing is good for them.
Infants aged between 6 and 8 months need to have their food mashed and strained. For infants aged 9-11months, food should be chopped or pureed.
From about one year, children can start eating pieces of food.
Feeding from the family pot:
Sometimes families prefer to cook foods specially for the baby in a small pot that is kept very clean. This is a good idea but it is not always practical. Parents should try to feed their kids which is prepared for entire family. It will help to build good food habit. Try to avoid giving any negative commands or expression during feeding any food which may lead to build any dislike or refusal in case of particular food.
Dietitian and nutrition