When To Start WeaningPosted on 2013-06-02 22:00:54
Dear Doctor, My child is about 5 months now and I am on a breastfeeding diet for her. I usually pump some milk for her as I go to work. However, this is not enough and I feel that it is time she started taking solid foods. However, I am scared that this might upset her. When is the right time to start weaning? What foods should I start with? Thank you New Mother. Dear New Mom, It is only natural that a mom will feel worried about anything that goes into her child’s mouth for the first time. This is most common especially if the child is the first born when you have little or no knowledge about the weaning process. Weaning is a gradual process of introducing solid foods to an infant in addition to breast milk or infant formula. Initially the breast milk or infant formula supplies all the needed nutrients but these diminish with time. Solid foods are thus required to provide these nutrients especially for breast-fed babies where breast milk becomes insufficient of iron by six months. It should be clear to the mothers that even after introducing solid foods to the infant, the basis for their diet for the first one year is still breast milk or milk formula. Breast feeding should be made exclusive for the first six months and continued until one year together with solids and thereafter till the time the mother /baby wishes to. World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that infants be weaned at the age of six months because at this time their digestive system is well developed and ready to cope fully with solids. This also decreases the risk of the infant developing allergies and intolerances. Though each child is different from another in development process, there are some clear signs which together suggest that your baby is set for weaning alongside infant formula or breast milk. However these signs may not show together till the baby is six months old.
- The baby can hold their head high and stay in a sitting position
- The baby can easily swallow food- a baby who is not ready to eat solids will push the food back out
- A baby who can co-ordinate (eyes, hands and mouth) will look at the food, pick it up and eventually put it in the mouth by itself.
- Avoid whole nuts, cow’s milk, chocolate, soy sauce, and egg white as these have a high tendency to cause allergy/ intolerance.
- Avoid honey- it contains clostridium botulinum bacteria which causes botulism. This can be fatal to children under one year.
- Avoid excessive amount of juices such as pear and apple. They contain large amounts of sorbitol and fructose which can lead to diarrhoea since they are digested slowly.
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