There comes a time when your breastfeeding journey begins to see the end. Weaning starts when you first introduce your little one to solids and ends when your little one no longer breastfeeds. This may take days, weeks, months or even years – it all depends on you and your baby. It’s not always easy. And it’s not always straightforward. So here is our guide to surviving the weaning process,
What is weaning?
Your baby is considered weaned when he/she stops nursing and gets all her nutrition from sources other than the breastmilk. Basically your little one’s intake transmits from pure liquid diet(milk) to semi-solid (custard like consistency) to semi –solid (khichdi) to solids (chapati).
When should I wean my baby?
There is no defined date and time to start weaning. But most pediatricians recommend to start weaning at 5 months. After five months, breastmilk alone doesn’t provide your baby with enough nutrients, particularly iron. For this reason your baby needs other healthy foods.
What foods can I give during weaning
- Khichdi,Porridge,Suji Kheer, Suji Halwa, Upma,
- purées of vegetables such as carrots , pumpkin , potato, sweet potato (shakarkandi), sponge gourd (tori), ash gourd (petha kaddu)
- purées of fruits, such as ripe cooked apple, pear, or mashed banana
- Curd, Custard, Rice Kheer, Cerelac Wheat, Cerelac Rice
- Try to limit the number of sweet or cereal purées to one a day, and always include a vegetable purée.
* But remember your baby shouldn’t have cow’s milk (or goat’s or sheep’s) as her main drink until she’s a year old. Also,Juices have little nutritional value and should be avoided
Methods of weaning
- Start with 4 meals per day.
- All food items should be in semi liquid form and properly mashed
- Don’t add salt or sugar, honey or other sweeteners to your baby’s food.
- Babies usually initiate with 2- 3 spoons per meal. Babies usually take about 1 katori in 1 month and gradually progress to 1 bowl by 2- 3 months
- Milk to be used only as an after every semi-solid meal. As the quantity of semi solids diet increases, the quantity of milk intake has to be reduced.
- Ghee or Oil can be added to any food as per requirement
- Packed foods like cerelac should also be used like any other home made food. But avoid using it daily
Essential Weaning Equipment
- A few colourful baby feeding spoons and plastic bowls
- Bibs and clean cloths
- Saucepans and/or a steamer
- A hand blender or food processor
- Ice-cube trays or small containers
- Free-flow beakers
What foods should I not give my baby if she is under a year?
- Salt. Your baby’s kidneys can’t cope with salt yet. It’s best not to encourage a liking for it, anyway. Don’t blend adult ready-meals for your baby. Ready meals contain high levels of salt.
- Honey. Even if she has a cough, your baby shouldn’t have honey until she’s one.
- Sugar. Try sweetening desserts with mashed banana or a purée of stewed dried fruit. Or you could use expressed breastmilk or formula milk.
- Artificial sweeteners. Diet drinks or squashes containing artificial sweeteners are not suitable for your baby. They are not nutritious and can encourage a sweet tooth.
- Whole nuts. These are a choking hazard.
- Certain fish. Some types of fish may contain traces of mercury.
- Tea or coffee. Don’t be tempted to add a little tea to your baby’s bottle to warm her milk. The tannin in tea may prevent her from absorbing the iron in her food properly. Any caffeinated drink is unsuitable for your baby.
- Low-fat foods. Single or double toned milk, yoghurts and reduced-fat cheeses aren’t right for your baby. Always offer your baby the full-fat versions. She needs the calories.
- Foods which may carry a risk of food poisoning; such as soft mould-ripened cheeses (brie, camembert), and soft-boiled or raw eggs.
- Cow’s (or goat’s or sheep’s) milk as a main drink under one year.
Ending your breastfeeding journey can be a bit sad. But you also have so many more new food adventures to look forward to! Experiment with different flavours and textures to give your child a taste of what foods are out there and tell us in the comments below.
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