Weaning is the process of transitioning your little one's diet from only milk, to solids.
Weaning should be started when the baby is ready, at around 6 months of age (for premature babies, weaning should be started at around 6 months adjusted, not actual). But how do we know the baby is ready? What should we start with?
Today, I attended a weaning class and this is what I learned:
- weaning should be fun! (colorful foods, funny shapes, mixed textures)
- it will be messy (not to worry, mess is good this time); let him/her hold the food, stick their hands in while eating;
- try, try and try again; sometimes so it happens that food will be rejected one day, but very much loved the other day (and the other way around) so we should try more than a couple of times to give baby same type of food;- chunky mashed not puree; we asked why and we've been told it is because the baby can easily learn to swallow puree food where as with chunky food, he/she'll have to learn how to chew; - gagging noises are perfectly fine; this is how the baby will learn how to chew and move the food around in his/her mouth;
- steam and boiled vegetables and fruits to start with, then meat;
- why not baby lead weaning? because this way he/she will learn to eat a balanced meal (veggies, meat, carbs, fruits) rather than choosing and picking (sometimes only a certain food-category), also because they might like sweet veggies and fruits and could avoid having anything else
- cook meat, fish and eggs well done to avoid food poisoning
- NO added salt or sugar (or stock cubes, ketchup, soy sauce, other types of sauces)! (not yet)
- make sure any canned vegetables don't contain brine and try to get those with no added salt/sugar or the lowest levels
- cooked-from-frozen is perfectly fine to give your baby to eat;
- have meals together; eat same food together (adults can have sugar and salt added afterwards);
- it is good to introduce full cow milk (not skimmed) with mashed vegetables but wait until age 1 to give cow's milk for drinking;
- milk (breastmilk or formula) it is still main part of their diet (start with solids and finish the meal with milk);
- avoid as much as possible commercial food (because of sugars and preservatives); also, would you eat that?
- start introducing cups (by age 1 baby should be off bottle and dummy)
- milk and water are only acceptable drinks for now;
Start with a couple of teaspoons of food first and slowly increase the amount of solid food; formula feed babies will need about 600ml/day at 7-9 months and 400ml/day at 10-12 months.
The signs the baby is ready to start weaning (from NHS):
1. They can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady.
2. They can co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth, all by themselves.
3. They can swallow food. Babies who are not ready will push their food back out with their tongue, so they get more round their face than they do in their mouths.
About now is also the right time to stat oral hiegine and register the baby with a dentist.
I'm looking forward to start weaning!