Top Tips on How to Start Weaning, Weaning Foods and Weaning Chart
Weaning can be defined as the gradual introduction of solid food to the baby’s diet. You first start will little semisolid foods which the qualities increase with time and the texture to solid. It is advisable to start from six months but can also start as early as 4 months. It is critical to wean the baby with the right diet requirements. If possible the mother should continue breastfeeding till two years or longer. Growth monitoring is vital to ensure that your baby remains healthy within the health curve.
Reasons for weaning the baby
1. Weaning is done to meet the nutritional needs of the growing baby which cannot be met by the mother’s milk alone
2. It helps in encouraging independence of the baby.
3. It also exposes the baby to different textures and flavor of foods.
4. Weaning helps in developing the digestive system of the baby
5. It is a way of preparing the baby to stop breastfeeding
6. It prepares your baby to adulthood and independence
7. It also teaches the child on how to feed themselves using equipment like spoons
Factors to consider when weaning the baby
1. The first food must be very soft
2. Once your baby has accepted a particular type of food, give them frequently to familiarize themselves with it
3. Maintain hygiene and ensure all feeding items are sterilized
4. You must not withdraw milk but it has to be part of the diet
5. Start feeding your baby with little amounts of food and increase with time
6. You should feed them from cup using a spoon
7. You must allow the baby to handle feeding equipment during feeding
8. Introduce new foods to the baby gradually one food type at a time
9. Seasoning with salt must be done with moderation
10. Do not force your child to eat foods they do not like
11. The food must be freshly prepared
Monitoring growth and promotion
Monitoring growth of your child is done in a health facility. Weight and height is checked when you go for the post natal clinics. This should be done to ensure that your baby is growing at the recommended rate within the health curve. It will help the parents know if their child is gaining or losing weight. In case the baby is not feeding well the mother can be advised on good food preparation methods.
Problems Associated With Weaning
There are several problems the mother and child may face during weaning which include:
1. The risk of diarrhea, cholera and stomach upsets is increased. This will occur id baby is being fed with unhygienic equipment and the food is prepared in a dirty environment
2. Allergies can be experienced with introduction of new foods
3. The mother and baby bond is missed especially if the baby is fed by other people. If weaning is introduced before 3 months children can face stomach upsets because the digestive system is unable to process food
4. The could can suffer from malnutrition in case the baby is weaned very late.it is because the mother’s milk is not able to meet the right requirements
5. It is challenging at first since the baby has to learn to use the equipment
6. There are nutritional disorders that can occur like obesity. Low disease resistance and poor muscle development due to unbalanced diets
Dangers Of Weaning The Baby Very Early
Weaning your baby earlier than the recommended time will have effects on the baby’s health:
1. The introduced foods may cause weight gain that can become overweight
2. The solid foods will reduce the frequency of breastfeeding the breast feeding period may be shortened since milk supply reduces when baby is not suckling frequently
3. There can be stomach discomfort due to inability of the baby’s body to digest food
Effects Of Weaning The Baby Very Late
There are situations when the doctor recommends that you wean your bay later due to health reasons. But if not advised by your pediatrician and you start weaning the baby late these are some dangers associate with it.
1. They baby can become accustomed to milk and refuse to be weaned
2. The baby is likely to suffer from malnutrition
3. They baby may refuse new food flavors
4. Poor development
5. The baby can suffer psychological effects like faking illness so as not to eat during meal time
Points To Consider When Weaning Your Baby
There are certain factors you must consider when you want to wean your little one:
1. Just like an adult to must consider what the child likes and dislikes
2. You must give the baby food in the right consistency. First start with liquid, then semisolid foods and lastly solid foods
3. The weaning food must be well balanced in terms of nutrients and proportions
4. You must use proper cooking methods that can produce foods that will easily be digestible ,boiling, or steaming
Choice of Preparing Weaning Foods
For you to choose the food that your baby will take these are some guiding tips
1. The food must not only be soft and easy to digest but nutritious
2. They food should be easy to prepare and save energy and time
3. The food should be free from germs and other contaminants
4. It should be balanced in order to provide right energy for play and growth
Foods Suitable For Weaning
1. Mashed potatoes
2. Porridge (millet, sorghum, maize meal)
3. Pureed vegetables, meat and fruits
4. Egg dishes like custards
5. Crust of bread and biscuits to chew
6. Boiled, lightly cooked or poached egg
7. Soup (cream of vegetables)
8. Cooked soft foods like fish, meat and liver
This is the simplest weaning food since it has 2 ingredients e.g. cereal with a legume. You must add other foods for it to be a complete meal.
A multi mix
These foods have more than one basic ingredient. They contain a cereal, protein supplement like animal food, a vegetable and a fruit to provide vitamins and minerals and an energy supplement.
They are prepared from sorghum, millet and maize flour. They are finely sieved into porridge and added milk to dilute.
Sugar and margarine may be added to improve the calorific content
They are foods that the baby can handle with their fingers as they learn to chew. They include teeth biscuits, carrot, bread crust etc.