Weaning

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Weaning Process (Maternal Challenge)

Weaning your baby is an essential step in their development. However, going from breastfeeding them exclusively to a diet based on solid foods is not easy. Still, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

If you understand this process, you will not struggle with it. Instead, both you and your baby will enjoy discovering new foods together!

When to start weaning your baby?

Despite the recommendations that tell you to start introducing solid foods when your baby is six months old, the best thing you can do is start the weaning process when both you and your baby are ready for it.

  • There is no need to panic if you don’t feel that your baby is ready to eat solids at six months. You can continue to nurse them exclusively way after they turn one year old.
  • If you decide that you want to start introducing solids, you will have to do that gradually. Weaning is not a sudden process as it can be stressful for both you and your baby if you try to speed it up.
  • Instead, follow the needs and the curiosities your baby has and satisfy them according to the circumstances you find appropriate. Weaning your baby is teamwork between the mother and the child.
  • Both of you need to feel comfortable switching to solid foods and reducing nursing sessions until you eliminate them.

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Tips for a successful weaning phase

Even if weaning can happen differently for every child, some aspects will still help all mothers go through this transition easier.

  • Follow the timing that suits your baby rather than the statistics: If your baby refuses solid food at six months, wait a bit longer. They might be curious about trying new things when they are 12 or 15 months. Some babies are exclusively breastfed up to 18 or even 24 months. When it is appropriate to start eating solid food, the range for starting eating solid food differs widely, and that is no reason for concern.
  • Start the weaning phase by introducing one food at a time: Stay away from complex recipes for a while and give your baby one fruit at a time to get them used to the new textures and tastes. Doing so will also make it easier to identify potential allergies. Once you know that your baby can eat several foods with no side effects, you can start combining them. For instance, if they can eat banana and avocado separately with no side effects, you can combine them in a delicious puree.
  • Don’t stop nursing your baby abruptly: You want to keep some breastfeeding meals throughout the day, even after adding solid foods to your diet. For example, you can keep the waking up nursing session and the night nursing sessions and introduce a solid meal at lunch. Then, if your baby seems to receive the solid food well, you can replace more nursing sessions with them. However, be ready to nurse as a way of comfort during the night for a few more days and even weeks even after you got your baby used to solid food.
  • Pay attention to choking hazards: Besides potential allergies, choking hazards are another significant concern for parents. Your baby will not be able to chew the food safely, especially if you start introducing solid foods before they have teeth. This is why it is crucial to make sure the food they eat is soft enough to require little to no chewing for the first stages of weaning.
  • If you notice any side effects after introducing new food to your baby’s diet, it is essential to talk to their pediatrician. Avoid feeding them that particular food until you know if they have an allergy to it or the side effect you noticed was relatively minor. Keep in mind that your child’s safety is the most critical aspect to consider.
  • The weaning phase should happen naturally for both the mother and the child. The more you try to force this phase, the harder it will be to implement it healthily.

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Weaning your baby is an essential phase in their development, and new foods should be introduced carefully. Can babies have Greek yogurt? Explore all answers here.

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If you have any additional questions, it is essential to talk to your doctor to make the best decision for your child.

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Key References
  • “Weaning | Start4Life”. Accessed July 17, 2021. Link.

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