Weaning 101; When & How
It’s been a month since we commemorated Breastfeeding Week. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breast-feeding for the first six months after birth — and breast-feeding in combination with solid foods thereafter.
If your baby is 6+ months old, it’s time to get them started with supplementary foods, though it’s optimal to continue to breastfeed as well.
Here are some tips to make it easier:
Start with very runny, bland foods
It will take your baby some time to become accustomed to the different tastes and textures of solid food. Remember, they’re used to drinking milk, so puréed fruit or vegetables are a good start. Baby rice is also good, as it’s very bland.
Introduce the spoon
Eating from the spoon is a totally new concept for your baby, and it won’t come naturally, like breastfeeding. So, pick a time when you’re both relaxed to try it out. Don’t rush them; they will probably find it difficult at first.
If the food goes everywhere, don’t stress, it’s all part of the process. Allow them to hold one spoon while you feed them with another; this will make them feel involved.
If you’re giving your tot a warm meal, heat it thoroughly, let it cool, stir it well (especially if heating in a microwave which tends to heat food very unevenly), and then test it yourself before giving it to them.
Make sure you always clean all your feeding utensils thoroughly.
Let them take their time
Your baby needs to figure out how to chew the food, move it around their mouth and swallow it. If they spit it out at first, it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like it; it takes them some time to learn how to swallow. It’s a whole new world for them, so let them take their time.
Mix it up
Once your baby is comfortable with bland foods, you can introduce some new tastes and lumpier textures. This will keep them happy and prevent them from becoming fussy later in life. But introduce foods one at a time, rather than bombarding them so you can track what they like/don’t like and what agrees or disagrees with them.
Your baby will let you know when they’ve had enough. If they are turning their head away and fussing, finish the meal. If you spend too much time persuading them to eat, they may start to refuse food as a way of getting attention. Yes, they’re crafty like that!
Here’s a weaning meal you can try out
|Breakfast:||Porridge or infant cereal|
|10:00 am:||Fruit, porridge or infant cereal|
|Lunch:||Cooked meal: Veggies, soup, baby rice, mashed potatoes|
|4:00 pm:||Fruit, porridge, infant cereal or yoghurt.|
|Supper:||Cooked meal: Veggies, soup, baby rice, mashed potatoes|
Foods to avoid
- You can add a small amount of cow’s milk to soften foods but wait until your baby is at least a year. It contains too much salt and protein, and not enough iron and other nutrients for your baby.
- Babies under a year old should never be given honey because of the risk of botulism poisoning.
- Raw or partially cooked eggs could give your baby food poisoning.
- Your tot doesn’t need any sugar in their diet, and it could harm their developing teeth. Avoid sugary foods and drinks including fruit juices.
- Salty foods or added salt should never be given to a baby as it’s bad for their kidneys.
- Gluten isn’t suitable for babies weaned under six months.
Check out this detailed publication on Chidrens’ nutrition by Kenya Nutritionists and Dieticians Institute (KNDI)