Let the Mess Begin: Weaning Your Baby
Let the mess begins! Get your camera ready and snap away as baby takes her first few spoons of cereal. Among the things to remember include:
Time it right
Many parents find that the best time to introduce solids is late morning after baby’s first morning nap as baby is well-rested and alert. Give a small amount of milk feed to take the edge off her immediate hunger, and then offer her some solid food. Finish with the balance of milk feed once she’s done.
It will take some time
Avoid timing or rushing baby during a feed. Baby feeding is time-consuming, so be sure to leave plenty of time for it.
Put some blankets or towels around the high chair if baby slides around or slumps. If he feels more comfortable on your lap, stow the highchair away.
Focus on the experience
At the beginning, the experience is more important than the input. Don’t fret about how much baby is taking and the mess he’s making. Instead, focus on making mealtimes a fun activity. Give lots of praise and encouragement.
Enough is enough
Never continue a meal when your baby becomes disinterested. Signs to look out for include fussiness, turned-away head, a mouth clamped shut, food spit up or food thrown around.
As Easy As 1-2-3 Stages!
Stage 1 ( 6 – 8 months )
The initial stage is about offering your baby his first tastes, as well as training his mouth to chew. Plain starches like baby cereal or potato and well-cooked thinly puréed fruits and vegetables should be baby’s first solid food. They should be introduced one at a time, using the four-day wait rule before giving another new food. Start with about a tablespoon of solid food a day and gradually increase as your baby’s appetite improves. If baby is not accepting the spoon, try using clean fingers to feed. You may also opt to skip the cereal and begin with fruits such as avocado or veggies like sweet potato.
Stage 2 ( 8 – 10 months )
After the first tastes are accepted and once your baby masters the skills of swallowing and chewing, you may bring on a wider variety of foods, including more protein, and gradually making the texture lumpier. Fruits, vegetables, meats, pasta and dairy such as yogurt and cheeses can be chopped, cooked, puréed and served in tiny, soft bits. Finger foods such as steamed sticks of carrot, slices of apple, pieces of banana or cucumber, fingers of toast or sticks of cheese, can be offered now.
Rule of thumb is, foods should be easily mashed between the gums. You may use a deeper spoon for this stage. Some of baby’s food can be served mashed while the other half for him to hold and gum. Continue to breastfeed but reduce the number of feeds per day.
Stage 3 ( >10 months )
By this stage, your baby should have a few teeth. Her food can be served chunkier and you may offer three meals a day as well as snacks in between. She may already love self-feeding and may enjoy a variety of spices in her cuisine. Encourage a healthy exploration of foods, tastes and textures as well as the use of eating utensils. Make it a point to put her on the high chair and eat together as a family. It’s likely that your baby may skip her mid-morning milk feed by now. However, make sure he still gets 500-600ml of breastmilk or formula daily.
The Four-Day Wait Rule
It is important to follow the four-day wait rule when introducing your baby to new solid foods, especially at the beginning. This is even more critical if you and/or your family members have a history of food allergies. All you need to do is introduce new foods, one at a time and at a space of every four days. Then check for possible reactions to new foods such as food sensitivities or allergies and possible digestive troubles.
Signs of possible food intolerance include diarrhoea, vomiting, skin rashes, runny nose, irritability and/or gassiness, breathing or other respiratory troubles, swelling of the face, lips and/or tongue and closure or tightening of throat after trying a new food. This will help you to pinpoint the culprit and begin an elimination diet. Once you have introduced several new foods without a reaction, you can then begin to mix them together as you wish.