Weaning Onto Solid Food
Weaning your baby onto solid food is one of the biggest milestones during her/his first year. For a baby, weaning is the gradual change from an all milk diet to a completely diversified adult diet.
WHEN TO START?
There is no set time to begin weaning your baby, as all children are different. You will know that your baby is ready for solid food when she/he still hungry after a good milk feed, wants to feed more often or starts waking up at night-time, having previously started to sleep through.
The exact age to start introducing your little one to solid food depends on several important factors:
- your little one’s growth pattern
- your little one’s appetite and
- readiness to try new food.
For the majority of babies, it is recommended that solids be after 6 months. In their second 6 months babies
need solids to:
-provide extra energy.
If you think your baby is ready for food before 6 months, it is best to seek advice from medical experts
- Too early may introduce your little one to allergic manifestations, such as skin rashes and asthma.
- Too late may reduce your little one’s acceptance of weaning food which in turn may affect growth and development.
Generally, good semi – solids for babies include:
– Baby cereals (which have added iron). It is best to mix them with fruit or fruit juice.
– Fresh fruits and vegetables.
– Protein rich foods: meat, fish
– Other cereal foods such as bread, rice, pasta.
* DO NOT give cow’s milk as the main milk feed before 12 months, or before the baby is eating a good range of solids. It is OK to use a little cow’s milk in the form of solids (cheese, yogurt, custard etc.) in cooking baby’s food.
Food To Avoid
Weaning your baby off milk and onto solids is a big step for most parents, and you will worry about what kind of food to give your little one. Certain food are not suitable for your baby, these include:
– because of her undeveloped kidneys
– Don’t deep fry your baby’s food. Use butter , olive oil or vegetable oil if you have to.
Sugar, Honey or other sweeteners
– lead to tooth decay and problems later
Wheat and wheat Cereals, Citrus Fruits
– sometimes can cause allergic reactions
Nuts and Nut Products
– increase the risk of choking or suffer from allergies
– eggs can be introduced after 12 months old . If you give your toddler eggs,
be sure that they are thoroughly cooked (hard boiled or scrambled)
Fruits squashes or diet drinks
– if you want an alternative to milk or water, give your child diluted,
unsweetened fruit juice with meals
- should not be given until child is more than 2 years old
Some babies can become “picky” about
what they eat, despite having enjoyed
a wide range of food when they were
a bit younger. A good way to ensure
your “picky” baby is still getting the
right nutrients is to discuss your
concerns with your pediatrician.
This article is present in Jenlia Maternal Services Post Natal Booklet as a general guideline to weaning.