Weaning Wisdom

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As excitingly haunting weaning is for young mothers, it is simple old age wisdom passed down by our elders. What we see now is, convenience being given preference over the health of their child; friends discussing about artificial milk, infant formulas and whether or not to breast feed just because their mammary glands hurt. All of this makes you wonder: were our mothers from another planet? Saba Gul Hasan shares her wisdom:

Getting your young one accustomed to new tastes and textures of food is crucial at this tender age, helping with your baby’s chewing and speech development. Weaning is a time for babies to learn to enjoy food. It is also a time to think about the balance of foods for your baby’s health now and in the future. The foods your baby learns to eat now can have a big impact on how healthy a child and adult they become. But why wait until six months? Introducing solids too early, particularly before seventeen weeks, may lead to your baby taking less milk. Breast or formula milk (if absolutely necessary) should be their main source of nutrition until after six months old. Babies weaned too early may gain excess weight, and may develop allergies and intolerances to some foods.

What Mums say: “Some mothers treat weaning like a race – rushing their babies on to solids then boasting about how much they eat at only three months old”.

Remember, it is not about how charmingly fat/cute you want your child to look, but it’s more about the baby’s overall nutrition. Chubby infants do not mean they are necessarily healthy, but some are well on their way towards childhood obesity. On the other hand playing the food police when your child reaches out for more food than you put in his plate is not a good idea either. Until now your baby has only ever tasted milk. Solid food is a new experience and will take time to learn. Let your baby try lots of different tastes over the next few months, even foods that you may not eat yourself. Don’t let your own likes and dislikes affect what you offer your baby. Weaning foods should not contain added salt, sugar, artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives.

Signs of readiness for solid food

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Whether your baby is breast-fed or bottle-fed, there’s no rush to start solids. If you’d like to introduce solids earlier than that, keep in mind that your baby probably won’t show all these signs of readiness – they’re just clues to watch for:

  • Can hold head up
  • Sits well in highchair
  • Makes chewing motions
  • Shows significant weight gain (doubled birth weight) and weighs at least 13 pounds
  • Shows interest in food
  • Can close mouth around a spoon
  • Can move food from front to back of mouth
  • Can move tongue back and forth
  • Is losing tendency to push food out of mouth with tongue

What to feed

2r

  • Breast milk, PLUS
  • Pureed vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash)
  • Pureed fruit (apples, bananas, peaches)
  • Pureed meat (chicken, beef)

Feeding tips

  • If your baby won’t eat what you offer the first time, try again in a few days.
  • Introduce new foods one at a time. Wait two to three days, if possible, before offering another new food. (Three days if your baby or family has a history of allergies.) It’s also a good idea to write down the foods your baby samples. That way, if she has an adverse reaction, a food log will make it easier to pinpoint the cause.
  • The order you introduce new foods doesn’t usually matter, but many parents like to offer meat after cereal, fruits, and vegetables. Your child’s doctor can advise you.

 

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