Weaning a Baby off Breast Milk and Starting Solid Foods
Weaning is the gradual process of introducing semi-solid food while continuing with breast milk or infant formula milk.
Weaning means introducing a range of foods gradually until your baby is eating the same foods as the rest of your family.
When to start weaning:
The ideal time to start weaning is after 6 months of age.
How to know a baby is ready for weaning:
Baby shows interest in foods and can sit up.
Baby opens his mouth when food is offered.
Baby can turn head away when he is full.
Baby can pick up foods for self feeding.
Important points should be kept in mind while preparing and feeding a baby :-
Allow the infant to become familiar with the food before trying to give another.
Introduce one food at a time.
Give very small amounts of any new food at the beginning.
Use a very thin consistency when starting solid foods.
Variety in choice of foods is important.
Give freshly prepared food. Allow the baby to feed self, using their fingers, as soon as they show an interest.
Encourage the baby to chew, even if they don’t have teeth, by giving finger foods.
Finger foods provide chewing practice and encourage babies to feed self. It is a gradual process of introducing first Liquid foods followed by Semi solids and Solid foods.
Process of weaning:
First start with Liquid Foods(Milk, Fruit juice, Soups, Dal water)
Then start with Semi-Solid Foods (Mashed banana, Rice flour, Khichdi, Kheer)
Lastly include Solid Foods(Rice, Roti, Dal with vegetables, Bread)
Important dos and don’ts:
Use only clean utensils
Cooked food should be covered to protect it from the flies and dust
Use prepared feed within half an hour
Discard unused feed
Never leave baby alone when eating.
Figure out the foods the baby is allergic like nuts,soy,gluten,cow milk etc.
Introducing Solids For Babies
According to the World Health Organization the right age to wean our baby is around six months .Till six months babies get enough nutrition from breast milk. Some babies though are hungrier and start losing or not gaining weight beyond 4 months, and they would have even started crawling by then, if this happens we would recommend weaning at or after 4 months of age. However, introducing solid foods before 4 months is not recommended, as your baby can not digest food properly.
The Golden Weaning Rules
Get the order – Always start with carbohydrates first and then protein. For vegetarians it is pulses and legumes unlike non vegetarians who can introduce chicken, fish and meat, and fats are the last food to be introduced to babies. Never introduce egg white or cow’s milk in to their diet until the age of 1 year.
Start weaning with either fruits or vegetables pureed, or rice or raagi cooked using plain boiled water. After a week or so, move to vegetables such as carrot or sweet potato, or vice versa if you have started with the cereals first.
Don’t mix flavours- Start your baby on single rather than mixed food’s. Mixing flavours at this stage can blur a child’s sense of taste. You can use a part of the vegetables you cook for yourself, just puree them individually for the first couple of months of weaning.
Encourage for self-feeding. The aim is to get your baby to feed himself as soon as he can pick up and hold food.
Increase their water intake. When baby’s starts on solids they need more water. Avoid any other drinks apart from milk, fruit juices is another good source of water.
Know when they have had enough. If you are using a spoon, and after eating well your baby turns his face away or looks down, then stop feeding. It is a sign that you are over feeding him.
Eat with them. Put your baby in a high chair as soon as he can sit up unaided and have him eat with you. Eating with the family will encourage your child to try a wider range of food items.
Salt: Never add any salt to the foods you give to your baby because their kidneys cannot cope with it.
Sugar: Sugary foods and drinks are not recommended for babies under a year, as they can encourage a sweet tooth and lead to decay when teeth come through.
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All of us love to cuddle and hold a baby .But most of us are sceptical of how to hold a small baby. Below are some of the steps that can make newborn handling much easier and safer viz:
Step 1: Wash your hands-Always make sure your hands are clean before you pick up your baby. Baby’s immune system is still developing, so any germs you carry may make them sick. While lathering with soap and warm water works well, consider keeping hand sanitizer around for guests who also want to cuddle your little one. Clean your hands each time before holding your baby.
Step 2: Get comfortable-Comfort is one of the most important things about holding your baby. Not only do you want to feel physically comfortable, but you also want to feel confident in your hold.
Step 3: Provide support-When holding a newborn, it’s very important to always have a hand to support the head and neck. After all, your baby’s head is the heaviest part of their body at birth. Pay special attention to baby’s fontanelles, which are the soft spots on the top of their head.
Newborns lack the critical neck muscle control to keep their heads supported on their own. This milestone isn’t usually reached until closer to FOUR months.
Step 4: Choose your position-Holding starts with picking baby up. When you go to lift your baby, place one hand under their head and another under their bottom. From there, raise their body to your chest level. As long as you’re supporting baby’s head and neck, the position is up to you. There are a variety of holds you and your baby might enjoy. Some of these positions are also great for breast-feeding or burping. Various positions are as follows viz
The cradle hold is one of the easiest and best ways to hold your newborn for the first several weeks of life:
With your baby horizontal at your chest level, slide your hand from their bottom up to support their neck.
Gently nudge baby’s head into the crook of your elbow.
While still cradling their head, move your hand from the supporting arm to their bottom.
Your free arm will be able to do other things or provide extra support.
With baby’s body parallel with your own, lift their head to shoulder height.
Rest their head on your chest and shoulder so they can look out behind you.
Keep one hand on their head and neck, and your other supporting baby’s bottom. This position may also allow baby to hear your heartbeat.
Lay your baby, stomach down, across your forearm with the head up toward your elbow.
Their feet should land on either side of your hand, angled closer to the ground so the baby is at a slight angle.
This position is helpful if baby is gassy and needs to be burped. Gently stroke baby’s back to work out the gas.
Sit in a chair with your feet firmly on the ground and place your baby in your lap. Their head should be at your knees, face up.
Lift their head up with both of your hands for support and your forearms under their body. Baby’s feet should be tucked in at your waist
Try skin-to-skin contact while holding baby. It’s a great way to bond and keep them warm. You can strip baby down to their diaper, place them against your bare chest, and cover with a blanket.
Choose a seated position if you feel nervous about holding baby. Sitting down is also a good idea for anyone who might not have the strength to support baby’s weight, like children and older individuals.
Use a baby carrier for hands-free holding. Follow all instructions on the carrier’s packaging. It suggests age-appropriate holds and positions.
Use an infant support pillow, when holding baby for extended periods of time or to help with breast-feeding.
Hold your baby with both hands while you’re going up and down the stairs for added safety.
Do not cook or carry hot drinks while holding baby. Knives, flames, and excess heat are dangerous and could lead to injury by accident. Stay away from others who are working with those things near you.
Do not ever shake your baby, whether to play or to express frustration. Doing so can cause bleeding in the brain and even death.
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