Weaning your baby from the breast or bottle is an exciting time for you and your baby. You’re about to introduce new tastes, textures and foods that will help provide the nutrients your baby needs to develop and grow into a healthy child.
Waiting until your baby is ready to process solid food lessens the chance of developing food allergies. Health experts recommend full term babies begin weaning at six months to give baby’s digestive system time to mature. At six months babies start to need a higher level of nutrients, especially iron, which they can’t get from breastmilk or infant formula alone.
Nutritionally, babies still need breastmilk or infant formula until they’re one year old and emotionally your baby receives a great source of comfort and security from nursing.
In the beginning weaning is all about taste and exploration. For the first couple of weeks offer a teaspoon or two of solids once a day when baby is slightly peckish. Pureed pear, apple, sweet potato, parsnip and carrot are sweet tasting and gentle on baby’s tummy. Ripe banana and avocado can be mashed to achieve a smooth consistency. Baby rice and baby cereals are a good introduction to grains and can be mixed with your baby’s usual milk.
It’s beneficial to introduce foods one at a time over a few days to check for any allergic reactions. Foods that most commonly cause allergies are wheat, eggs, shellfish, milk, nuts and seeds. You should seek urgent medical help if you think your baby is having an allergic reaction.
Foods to avoid when weaning are salt, sugar and low fat foods which are nutritionally unsuitable. Honey is a source of sugar and should not be given to babies under one year as it can contain bacteria. Cow’s milk should only be used in cooking until baby is at least one year. Nuts should not be given to children under the age of five due to the risk of choking.
Let your baby lead the way. At six months I started to wean my baby with pureed fruit and vegetables and by seven months she was showing an interest in using her fingers to eat so we moved to more of a baby-led weaning approach.
Take things slowly to give you and your baby time to adjust to weaning and allow baby to enjoy a variety of foods. Weaning is an incredible developmental stage for your baby. Eat together as a family, have fun and accept things will get messy!
Lydia Oliver – Nutritional Advisor Only Best For Baby
I offer one to one nutrition coaching for breastfeeding, post pregnancy weight loss, weaning, weight management and health. Contact me.
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