Confused about introducing your baby to solid foods? Know all about weaning

Introducing your baby solid foods can be a bit confusing for parents. So, here's your full guide on baby weaning.

weaning
Here are tips to introduce foods to babies. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Jagdish Kathwate Published on: 1 September 2022, 16:56 pm IST
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Weaning is when the baby moves from breast milk to solid foods. This process will require understanding and patience. It is recommended that the baby should be weaned after 6 months. However, it depends on the mother’s decision. It will be imperative for mothers to establish good eating habits in their babies for their growth and development. Here we will tell you all about weaning, the right time to do it, and foods that can be given to the baby. Try to follow the vital tips given in the article and you will surely be able to help your baby stay healthy.

Congratulations! Your baby is 6-months-old now. Are you aware of weaning? Well, it is a process during which the baby who is entirely dependent on breast milk is introduced to solid foods. But, while weaning, the mother needs to choose the right kind of food so that the baby enjoys eating and doesn’t become a picky eater.

But, certainly, you will have various questions regarding weaning like what if the baby isn’t comfortable? Will the baby suffer from any health problems? Whether he/she will be able to digest food? What is the right time to wean? How to avoid engorgement? Let us help you to understand the process in a better way and clear all your doubts regarding it.

Also, remember that you don’t have to force the baby to eat anything by being harsh on him/her. Try to inculcate healthy eating habits, that’s all. Moreover, mothers should have a positive approach during weaning. Don’t get upset when the baby refuses to eat certain foods. You need to be patient with the little one and get to know about his eating preferences.

weaning
First solid food is important. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What’s the right time to wean a baby

Ideally, it will be a good idea to wean the baby after he or she turns 6 months old. But, breastfeeding can be continued as long as it is convenient or suitable for the mother and the little one. Many women also wean babies after a year of birth. This is the age when a baby would be walking, playful, and tends to show interest in eating solid foods. Furthermore, many babies also lose interest in nursing after they turn 1. Sometimes, mothers also continue breastfeeding the babies at night and give them solid foods during the day for around 2 years. Again, it is an individual’s choice. Before you wean the child, you need to understand some signs that will be helpful for you.

Signs of weaning

Signs of weaning that the baby might show:

  • The baby will not at all be interested in breastfeeding
  • He/she may act fussy or avoid nursing
  • The baby will easily get distracted while breastfeeding, or he/she will just have shorter nursing sessions that will be worrisome for the mother
  • He/she picks up solid food and tries to put it in her mouth or tries to chew. The baby tries to get involved during mealtime.

Once you notice these signs in the baby, it may be a sign that the baby is ready to be weaned. Here, the mothers can also try baby-led weaning wherein the baby is encouraged to self-feed from the beginning. Here, the solid foods are introduced in the form of finger foods, and then the child is given proper solid foods at his/her own pace, whereas, traditional weaning means directly introducing solid foods.

This is how you can make weaning easier for the baby

To bring about that change in the baby, try to keep him/her engaged in fun activities or take outings during nursing time. You need to make sure that the baby doesn’t sit in the nursing spots. Try to distract the baby during nursing time and you can also take the help of your partner in keeping the baby occupied. Give your child some time to adjust to the emotional changes that may occur during the weaning process. For example, give the child enough time to develop taste and textures. Just like mothers, even children will experience a range of emotions. They may embrace the change or will be hesitant at the beginning. But, mothers need to ensure that the child is getting enough nutrition for his/her overall well-being.

weaning
With these tips you can easily switch from breastfeeding to weaning. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the best foods for the baby during weaning

To start with weaning, try to introduce cooked vegetables such as broccoli, tomato, carrot, potato, sweet potato, pureed or mashed or finger foods. Try to cut bananas, mangoes, blueberries, raspberries, avocados, cooked pear or apple, plums, and peaches into small pieces, make a puree, mash them, or serve as finger food. You can also give cooked rice, quinoa, or millet to the baby. Do not give nuts, popcorn, oily snacks, jelly, chocolate, grapes, or big pieces of food that may get stuck in their mouth. You need to seek the help of an expert before introducing eggs into the baby’s diet.

How to feed your baby

Try to feed the baby in smaller portions. It should be a spoonful or just a bite in the beginning so that the baby develops taste. Try to introduce one type of food at a time. It is essential to give lighter foods to the baby. Avoid giving heavy foods which they will not be able to digest. Encourage your child to eat solid foods instead of forcing him/her. Don’t make it a mandatory thing. The child should willingly eat.

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About the Author
Dr Jagdish Kathwate Dr Jagdish Kathwate

Dr Jagdish Kathwate, Consultant Neonatologist and Pediatrician, Motherhood Hospital Kharadi Pune

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