Weaning is a natural process that lays down the basis for a lifetime of healthy eating in babies, although it can be a challenge to figure out when to gradually wean your baby and introduce solid foods or formula milk.
Although there is no right or wrong time to begin the process, it is best to try weaning anytime from six months to two years of your baby’s life, or anytime when you feel your baby naturally starts declining breastmilk feedings.
Know when to wean
Before your baby is ready, it is important to take into account all behavioural signs of readiness your baby displays in what is known as baby-led weaning. You know it’s time to plan weaning:
- When your baby sits up and has a good head control
- When your baby has a need to grab things and bring it to their mouth
- When your baby shows interest in your food, or reaches for your plate of food
- When your baby tries to mimic eating, chews and swallows food when offered to them
Even when your baby is weaning to a cup, a feeding bottle, or transitioning to solid foods, breast milk should still remain their main source of nutrition. It is important to breastfeed your baby on demand like you did in your pre-weaning routine, and see them drop few feedings gradually to start on solids and weaning foods.
Make weaning easier for your baby by:
- Offering only one breast at the time of feedings
- Bringing about a change in your feeding routine
- Slowly dropping scheduled feeding sessions and replacing the dropped feeds with formula, cow’s milk or plain water.
- Having a caretaker or family member offer a cup or bottle to your baby.
Learn more about baby feeding products you can use to initiate the weaning process in the right manner.
Know How to Wean
Your baby’s foray into solid foods should include a good selection of fresh fruits, mash of cooked vegetables, simple carbohydrates, and iron-fortified whole grain cereals. It’s always good to start your baby’s weaning diet with soft and textured food items to prevent choking. Always encourage your baby to try a variety of weaning food with different flavours, but make sure to stay away from adding sugar and salt to the food.
Here are some suggestions and feeding tips on how to introduce baby weaning food to your baby using a range of baby feeding supplies and equipment:
- Plastic bowls & Feeding Spoons – Start spoon-feeding single-ingredient food (avoid adding salt or sugar) in a pureed form to stay in control of where the food goes. Begin with sweet potatoes, avocado, squash, bananas, peaches, pears, applesauce etc., in a plastic or unbreakable silicone feeding spoon.
- Sippy Cups - Sometimes babies that have bypassed bottles, dislike being spoonfed solid foods at the time of weaning. A sippy cup, a specially designed cup for babies to consume liquids without spilling, is what you can introduce to your baby during this window of transition period. Slowly teach your baby (aged 6 months and above) to drink from a sippy cup with some water or breast milk in it, or even replace a feeding session with a sippy cup.
- Food Processor : In order for you to prepare healthy, homemade baby food, you’ll need help soft-cooking or mashing or even pureeing different types of vegetables and fruits. A convenient way to do this is to invest in a good food grinder.
- Baby High Chair - Feeding a baby can get difficult, especially if they are nine months and older. Make your baby’s feeding time a lot easier and secure an easy spot to feed them with a baby high chair that is adjustable based on your baby’s convenience and your height, easy to clean and store.
- Baby Bibs – Since meal times can be messy and nightmarish to clean up after, it is best to keep the food off your baby’s clothes and experience a mess-free feeding time with your baby with these baby bibs and tuckers
Take a look at other essential feeding accessories and weaning essentials that can make your baby’s feeding time more enjoyable and the journey to discovering new food easier.