Weaning is the gradual replacement of breast milk with food, some parents however tend to wean their children as early as three months. It is recommended by doctors to breastfeed exclusively for six months .This is essential as the breast milk has enough nutrients and aids in boosting the immunity of a child. However when the child gets to six months, their appetite increases and its time to introduce solid food, cereals or fruits. The dilemma most mothers have is deciding which is the best food to start weaning a child with, I know this as I had it with my first born. One can ask for advice from friends and family but remember every child is unique, whichever food you decide to wean the child with always ensure you check out for allergies.
You can start with:
- Instant formula, two or three table spoons a day
- Infant porridge that is found in supermarkets but look out for brands and follow instructions, give the child once a day 3-5 days in a week.
- Introduce a blended fruit like pawpaw, avocado or mango, keep it diluted and easy to consume.
Remember the child is learning new foods and might take time to adjust to the new meal. Be patient and consistent but look out for anything that might suggest the child has an allergy. An allergy reaction is common to children, so do not be alarmed but ensure the child is checked by a doctor who can prescribe a remedy.
Ensure to supplement the solid food with breast milk, this gives the child comfort in knowing that the bonding time is still available .It also allows them a chance to try the new meal and even like it.
For a 6 month old child the three options provided are the best but as time goes by you can introduce other foods such as mashed potatoes with spinach, pumpkin and cereals such as weetabix.
Things to note
- Always use a small spoon when feeding the baby with solid food, this is important so that they can learn to differentiate between food and milk.
- Make feeding fun so that the child can look forward to it
- Keep the highest hygiene, ensure the utensils used are clean to avoid contamination which might lead to diarrhea.
Things to avoid
- Avoid giving cow milk or milk products like cheese until the child is much older
- Avoid overfeeding the child, measure each amount and be consistent
- Do not introduce all of the foods at once try one for two weeks and see the progress, if the child likes it continue with it and then introduce the other.
I remember the first time I made porridge for baby, looked like Ugali. I just did not understand why he was crying after, I guess his stomach got a shocker.I wish you the very best in your journey of weaning, may you discover the joy in preparing food that is healthy and nutritious to your child.
Share some of your thoughts with us on weaning baby..