Weaning is the time when solid baby food is introduced to the little ones, allowing them to explore a whole new world of taste and texture. It is a process which is also very exciting for mothers, as she will now be going ahead giving her loved one a whole range of well researched food.
It is recommended by the World Health Organisation, that the babies be fed on mother’s milk for at least 6 months of age. They can continue to being fed on mother’s milk even after that, but as babies reach the age of 6 months, their body requirement increases for proteins, vitamins and minerals which cannot be solely provided by the milk. So, it becomes necessary that the babies be feed on solid food and slowly give up on milk or reduce its intake. Else chances of developing deficiencies may occur.
Types of weaning:
The weaning process can be categorized into –
- spoon fed weaning
- baby led weaning
As the name suggests, in the spoon fed weaning the babies are introduced pureed food through spoons. Babies play a passive role here as mostly food is fed by the mothers or the care takers.
While in the baby led weaning, the babies play an active role and are introduced finger foods, which they can easily pick with their hands and put in their mouth.
What weaning diet should we give to babies:
Weaning diet given to the little ones should be soft and palatable to their developing taste. It is recommended that the weaning diet should be such that it should have not added salt or sugar, preservatives etc. However, if there is any requirement to add these, the source should be natural and organic. Homemade food is the best for the weaning food. For the babies who are of the weaning age, it is very important to have the food to be given to them to be of normal temperature. Extreme hot or cold food should not be given.
Our babies have so far been fed on breast milk or formula. Introducing weaning food becomes a must at the weaning age as it gives the babies the extra advantage of having the essential proteins, vitamins and minerals through the natural sources. Cereals, fruits and vegetables are natural source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Here is a list of some of the weaning food which can be given to the babies:
- Sweet potatoes
- Moong dal
- Arhar dal
When babies are of 10 months finally chopped dry fruits can be introduced to them.
The kind of food we give to babies during the weaning age can be any of the food items listed above, however care should be taken that the it is prepared in a hygienic environment and well steamed and churned. Here are some weaning recipe which can be given to babies.
- Finger food
Babies have been used to having thin liquid diet of milk so far. Ensure that when we make the weaning food for the stage 1 baby food, it is well mashed and thin in consistency, so that the baby finds it easy to swallow.
As the little one gets use to the new food we can gradually make the texture a little thick.
Points to remember while weaning:
- Babies tummies are very sensitive. As we introduce the weaning food, the tummies are getting to work hard by learning to digest the new food. Therefore, it is essential that the weaning food should be such that besides meeting the nutritional requirements it should also be light on tummies.
- Check for the family history of any type of allergy before giving any new food to babies.
- Make it a point not to repeat the same food over and over again. Try to bring in as much variety for the babies to explore.
- Never leave the babies alone while they are having food.
- Don’t get perturbed if the child refuses to eat the food in the beginning. Go ahead giving small quantities at a time and the baby will finally accept the new weaning food.
Weaning is a tough journey for mothers in a way, as she has to be very careful now on account of what food she is giving. It is also very tiring for her as she goes ahead taking all the care to make the perfect food for her little one to bring a proper balance of health, nutrition and taste. Nevertheless, it is a journey of putting your baby in the right direction of developing healthy food habits. This habit leads the baby to grow and develop into a healthy and strong child, preparing them to meet the future with confidence and accept all the challenges.