Saturday, 29 September 2018

Weaning - A Child's Transition from Mother's Milk to Other Food Items

Weaning means transition of your little one from mother's milk to solid food diet. It is the stage where the baby acquires its nutrition from sources other than mother's milk. Doctors usually recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and then gradually introducing solid meals afterwards. However, breastfeeding can still be continued post introducing solid diet as long as both mother and toddler are comfortable.

Weaning - A Child's Transition from Mother's Milk to Other Food Items

What is the Right Time to Start Weaning

When to start the weaning process is a personal decision. Sometimes a baby is ready after 6 months while some babies may take a bit longer. Do not rush the weaning process as it all depends on a child’s nutritional and developmental needs. There are certain signs which parents must notice to introduce solids in a baby’s diet.
  • Baby is hungry even after a milk feed
  • Baby is able to sit independently and hold head upright
  • Baby tries to put things in their mouth

A baby’s refusal to breastfeed should not always be taken as a sign to introduce solids. The baby may be facing with some issues such as teething or an infection, which is prompting this action

Quick Tips on Weaning

  • Start with semi-solids which are easy to chew even if the baby has no teeth. Few items that I started with my daughter were mashed banana, suji kheer, pulses water, rice water and boiled veggies. After 2-3 weeks I introduced fruit purees and juices in her diet
  • Start with small portions so that the baby gets used to the taste. Also, repeat the same food for 3-4 days to see if the baby is able to digest it comfortably and is not allergic to any of these items
  • In the initial stages, try giving the food items in the morning hours when the baby is active and playing
  • If the baby takes out food consistently, stop giving solids for a few days and start again thereafter. Be patient and allow your child enough time to adapt to the food items
  • Breastfeeding should be continued along with weaning, and should be phased out gradually rather than immediately
  • Expect some physical changes in the child once you start weaning. A prominent physical change may be in the form of frequency of a child’s bowel movement

To conclude, I would advise parents to consult a paediatrician before starting solids in your child’s diet. There might be a possibility you may see changes in your child’s behavior, such as irritation and crankiness, once you stop breastfeeding immediately. Hence, parents must be flexible, show calmness, high tolerance and follow their child’s cues to introduce weaning in a gradual manner.