What is Baby Weaning?
A parent will leave no stone unturned when it comes to nurturing a baby; after all parents love the baby to the moon and back. They get the best of toys, clothes, spend many sleepless nights in caring for their baby and the list goes on and is in fact, endless! However it also involves taking some strong decisions sometimes for the sake of the baby’s well-being and baby weaning is definitely one of them. Speaking by personal experience, it is truly a heart-breaking period for both the mother and the child and comes with a lot of emotional turmoil. But it is vital that the decision be taken for the common good.
So it is important to understand what exactly is baby weaning. In simple terms, it is a process of gradually switching the baby from breastfeeding to solid foods. Globally, specialists in the field have noticed that it can be broadly classified into two types viz., baby-led weaning and mother-led weaning.
If a baby’s actions are observed intently then when it is around six months of age, it will start showing signs of weaning. It will get attracted to eatables and try to put in its mouth, react to taste, imitate your actions of trying to eat etc. This is exactly what is meant by baby-led weaning. Also this is the time when the baby tends to get more active, wouldn’t stay in one place for long and also tends to move away from being nursed for long hours while becoming inquisitive about food which it sees the others at home consuming.
Mother-led weaning mostly happens early on, when it comes to certain women. I have noticed that the some mothers will still be a little headstrong when it comes to making this choice and slowly introduce the baby to various other solid foods outside of feeding. I followed this routine when I had to resume work and it worked well for me. I introduced the baby to level 1 of formula feed to complement with breast feeding to start with. The choices available in the market for formula foods are plenty and don’t forget to seek the advice of your pediatrician before you start anything.
Now like everything else you will need to have a setup to start with weaning. Yes you read it right! I am speaking of the equipments required! Babies are always attracted by colours so get some colourful spoons, plates etc for the baby. Steamers, sauce-pans and to make your life easier, a hand-blender helps! Remember to keep everything clean and dry, always. Invest in a high-chair, a portable one will be a plus and you can keep it around, wherever you go!
Start with simple purees of vegetables like broccoli or perhaps steamed potato or apple. It pays to introduce vegetables and fruits early on. Also try to introduce a little bit of salt to the mashed vegetables. Bananas, carrots, or even stock derived from steamed vegetables and pulses etc continue to be the initial favourite picks for baby weaning. Keeping in mind the best of interests, stick to only homemade food during the initial period. Remember to be sensitive to any allergies, itching, red eyes etc triggered due to any newly introduced food. Any such signs if observed, don’t delay calling in your doctor.
During the initial phase, carefully observe,how your baby reacts to the new taste. Patience is the key here! The baby will eat teeny weenie portions just like a small bird and cannot be expect to gobble it all up. The intake will gradually increase as the baby grows older.
However it is important to also know if the baby is not ready for weaning. If the baby is sick or is getting irritated or resists your efforts towards weaning then slow down. Just hang in there and keep trying once in a while and you will get there. And don’t forget to enjoy this experience and not let the stress of the phase, take the better of you. As always, happy parenting to you!