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New mom’s guide to baby weaning

Baby weaning is essential from a nutritional perspective as breast milk and formula does not contain enough nutrition for the growing needs of your baby.

pixabay_baby-solid-food-1200Read on to know more about baby weaning here. (Source: Representative image/Pixabay)

By Rajiya Galeel Bhasha,

Breastfeeding for at least two years of age helps a child to grow strong and healthy. Besides children who starts complementary feeding at six months grow well.

Weaning is when a baby moves from breast milk to other sources of nourishment. Baby weaning is essential from a nutritional perspective as breast milk and formula does not contain enough nutrition for the growing needs of your baby. There are two basic methods to weaning are the traditional method and the baby-led method.

How do we know it’s time to wean a baby?

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A few moms breastfeed longer than a year and it’s called extended breastfeeding. Extended breastfeeding is a healthy and reasonable option for mothers and children who aren’t ready to wean. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that moms breastfeed for the first 2 years of a child’s life. Some women choose to wean during the day and breastfeed at night, depending on their work pattern and their lifestyle.

What are the signs to start baby weaning?

Pay attention to your child and notice if they begin to veer towards solid food. (Source: Representative image/Getty)

Parents have to consult with a paediatrician to know about when to start the weaning. You may be watching more for these signs of readiness closer to their corrected age of 6 months, rather than their chronological age of 6 months. The following are signs tells that it’s time for weaning a baby:

*The baby drinks top feed often and wants to breastfeed. They gradually breastfeed less frequently and for shorter periods.

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*They are begins to skip feedings and show less interest in breastfeeding.

*The baby’s birth weight has been doubled.

*The baby seems interested in solid food when he sees someone is eating.

*The baby often mouths his hands and toys.

*The baby opens his mouth when he sees others eating.

*The baby is able to sit without any support.

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*The baby is able to hold his head upright and steady, this shows swallowing muscles are strong.

*Baby can co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth, so they can look at food, pick it up and put it in their mouth.

*Baby can swallow food. If they aren’t ready, the food will be pushed back out with their tongue.

The below behaviours can be mistaken for signs of being ready for wean:

*chewing fists

*wanting extra milk feeds

*waking up in the night and its more than usual

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These are normal baby behaviours and not necessarily a sign of hunger, or being ready to start solid food. Starting solid foods will not make them any more likely to sleep through the night. Sometimes a little extra milk will help until they are ready for food.

What is the advantage of baby weaning?

Baby weaning gives numerous advantages for families and babies the same:

*Weaning save time and money

*Babies experience valuable social interactions.

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*They are exposed to different foods and explore the taste, texture, aroma, and colour of a variety of foods.

*It develops healthy eating habits.

*Weaning supports the development of hand-eye coordination, chewing skills, dexterity.

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*It helps sharpen important developmental skills like fine motor and oral motor skills.

*It also offers babies an opportunity to explore the taste, texture, aroma, and colour of a variety of foods.

The paediatrics association recommends feeding infants only breast milk for the first 6 months after birth. After 6 months, they recommend a combination of solid foods and breast milk until the infant is at least 1 year old. The academy advises against giving cow’s milk to children younger than 1 year old. Based on baby signs of interest, parents can start weaning their baby.

(The author is Lactation Consultant, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru, Bellandur)

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First published on: 18-03-2022 at 12:43:42 pm
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