How to wean your baby

Feeding your baby

Feeding your baby

From milk feeding to solid foods, weaning your baby is a completely exciting milestone. It symbolizes a complete transition in the growth of your baby. Milk is the only source of nutrition for the new-born baby up to 4-5 months after birth. Many parents think that milk will not be sufficient nutrition for their baby and introduce solid foods even at the age of 3-4 months. However, avoid rushing! The introduction of solid foods too early can prove to be harmful than do any benefit. This is because your baby’s kidneys and liver might not be mature enough to cope with the intake of solid foods. The important sign of continued hunger despite milk feeding or more frequent feedings demarcates that your infant can be introduced to solid foods. However, this sign will occur mostly after 4 months only. Breast feeding might be a difficult time for most women initially. However, it becomes much easier once you get to know your child’s needs and hunger timings. It might be a little bit difficult for you to break the bond with your infant if you have been breast-feeding for quite some time. However, it will gradually decrease. Bottle feeding is a much easier aspect in this regards. But helping your baby to learn how to eat solid foods with a spoon and bowl is not only great fun, but a lot of mess too!

Bottle feeding seems much easier however; it involves a lot of hygiene to be maintained. You have to sterilize the bottles, the bottle lids and nipples every day without fail. Weaning your baby with solids doesn’t involve sterilization of the spoon and bowl. However, keeping things clean and dirt free is of prime importance when dealing with children. You can start off by giving a very small taste of baby food such as baby rice mixed with some milk. This can be done with a small plastic spoon or a rubber tipped spoon. The rubber tipped spoons are best as they won’t cause any damage to your infant’s tender gums.  Your baby might resist and push the spoon with his or her tongue initially, which is a universal problem encountered by maximum parents when weaning! You can try by putting some food on the tip of your finger and then into the baby’s mouth. This can turn out to be a roller coaster ride for most parents. Your baby has to get used to the new flavors and tastes plus the new mode of weaning as well. It might be a lot of discomfort and dissatisfaction initially; however that difficult phase will pass soon. The small amounts of food must be given clubbed with milk feeding as well. Over some weeks you should gradually increase the amount of solid food intake, with varying textures and decrease the milk intake to your child. Patience is the key here! You have to allow your child to learn chewing and swallowing very patiently. Once your child has learnt side-to-side grinding motion well, you can add less liquid to the food. This will thicken the texture of the food and enhance your child’s swallowing. However, don’t quit milk feeding completely. Milk is important for bone formation as well as the overall development of your baby.

It is noteworthy that your baby will prefer mashed food more than the chopped foods because they don’t know how to chew. Slowly and steadily your baby will learn the technique of chewing and enjoy eating chopped food as well. You should try adding new foods one at a time every few days to judge your child’s interest. Fruits and vegetables like banana, apple, carrots, peaches, pears, potato, cauliflower, spinach etc. are easy to digest by infants. Extremely small amounts of fish, poultry, hard-boiled egg etc. can also be given. When giving solid foods, too much salty food or too much of sugar and nuts must be avoided. Nuts are difficult to swallow, can easily choke children under the age of five. Besides, when you are feeding your child mashed rice or any other food that is given when warm; you should always check the temperature of the food before weaning. Now-a-days you are getting temperature sensitive spoons available in most baby stores. These rubber tipped spoons will change the color immediately when the food is too hot for a child’s intake. By the time your baby is 7-8 months old, they should be able to eat semi-solid foods conveniently thrice daily.  

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