WEANING YOUR BABY
Dear parents, It’s time to introduce your little one to solid foods! This will be an important milestone as it can be difficult to know how to start, especially when you are new to it.
What is weaning?
Weaning is the stage in an infant’s diet when the mother gradually introduces foods other than breast milk or formula.
When is the right time to start Weaning?
It is recommended that you begin introducing solid foods to your baby when he or she is 6 months old. Some kids may be ready as young as four months.
Signs that it’s time to start weaning
- Your child can hold their head up.
- With the assistance of their high chair, your baby can sit up comfortably.
- nursing in shorter sessions than before
- being easily distracted while nursing “playing” at the breast, such as constantly pulling on and off or biting
- nursing for solace (sucking at the breast but not drawing out the milk)
How to start baby weaning
When you first start preparing food for your baby, make sure that it is soft and smooth in texture, as they won’t be able to chew anything truly solid for the first few weeks. Some good first foods are:
- over cooked rice mixed with breast milk or formula
- over boiled lentils that have been puréed to resemble a thick paste
- mashed or puréed fruits like bananas, pears, apples.
- Vegetable purees such as carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, avocado, or pumpkin. Boil the vegetable and then mash or purée it.
Because these foods have a soft texture, you can spoon-feed them to your baby as they learn how to swallow solid food. Experiment with different options to see if your baby has a favourite. This is a fun time for experimenting, so don’t be discouraged if your baby spits out whatever you prepare for them. They’re constantly learning, and if you give it to them again on a different day, they might realise they like it.
What to feed your little champ!
When your baby has mastered purees, you can begin to introduce texture and lumps to their diet.
Add new foods one at a time, wait a few days between each new food, and watch for food allergies every time you start something new. Your baby will be able to eat the following foods by the age of 6 months:
- eggs (eggs should not be eaten raw or lightly cooked)
- foods like rice and split dals
- fruits like ripe banana, puréed apple and pear, mango
- Vegetables like carrots, potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, bottle gourd
nuts(serve them ground)
- seeds (serve them ground)
Once you and your baby gain confidence in the weaning process, you can gradually introduce new foods. Just make sure you never give your baby anything that could pose a choking hazard, such as cherry tomatoes, unless you’ve cut it into very small pieces.
You should also avoid giving honey to your baby until they are at least two years old because it increases the risk of infant botulism, which can be fatal.
Kanupriya Khanna, a Senior Consultant Nutritionist & Dietitian with over 18 years of experience in child nutrition, can provide expert advice. Kanupriya Khanna is regarded as one of the best dietitians in Delhi because of her unwavering commitment to making a difference in people’s lives by instilling good eating habits and lifestyles.