Weaning Your Child
Weaning is nothing but introduction of food supplements along with breast milk and also continued after the breast milk is completely stopped. This is done in all mammals as they are the breastfeeding living beings. Here, we are learning about human baby weaning.
Weaning begins from the moment supplementary food is started and continued till the child is taken off the breast completely. Solid food added to an infant’s diet is called beikost. During this process, activities of enzymes is increased.
Need For Weaning
Infants depend upon the breast milk alone upto 6 months of life and their growth rate in this period is satisfactory because mothers breast milk contains all essential nutrients. Breast milk is rich in protein, sugar, vitamins and minerals and also contain numerous bioactive components such as hormones, growth factors, enzymes.
But after 6 months, breast alone is not sufficient as it is not able to provide sufficient amounts of all nutrients after six months. As baby keep on growing, their nutritional requirements get increased. As breast milk is poor source of vitamin C, supplementation of fruit juices is essential. Iron stores in liver of infants would last upto 4-6 months only. Hence, iron-rich foods should be given at least from 6th month onwards.
Milk is also deficient in vitamin D. If the baby is to maintain the expected rate of growth and remain healthy and well nourished, supplementary feeding has to be restored to round about the sixth month of life.
Infants should be given dense calorie foods to meet their nutritional requirements. Hence calorie foods like malted food should be given to infants. Weaning food should provide at least 10% of the energy as protein.
Points To be Considered While Introducing Weaning Foods
- Introduce only one food at one time. Allow the infant to get habituated for that one particular food before trying another.
- Give very less amounts of new foods at the beginning. (1 teaspoon full or less).
- Use very thin consistency when started solid foods. You can slowly increase the consistency as the infant propel food back with the tongue.
- At first strained fruits, vegetables and cereals are given. When your baby is able o chew food, then you can give finely chopped fruits and veggies. It usually happens at 8 to 9 months period.
- Give freshly prepared food all the time.
- Fruit juice should be fed only by cup or by bottle or by sipper.
- To increase calories add some oil, ghee, butter to infant’s diet.
If your baby dislike any food item by vomit, then you should not feed that item for 1–2 weeks. After that you can try again the same food. Your baby is more likely to eat combination foods by themselves. For example, you can combine egg with any cereal, vegetable, milk etc. Sometimes vegetables soups are made by adding little milk until the baby becomes accustomed to the new flavour.