Happily weaning your baby
Four to six months after your baby is born is when some babies may start semisolid foods. Babies show readiness when they are able to sit unassisted and can do a pincer grasp. Here is some guidance to start the weaning process. Be patient and see your baby's cues.
Weaning is the infant transition from a diet of only breast milk or formula (or both) to a more varied one. It is a process that unfolds gradually from a liquid diet to a semisolid one once a day.
You want to start with happy little introductions to eating semisolid foods such as runny to thick purees. It is recommended to start with baby rice cereal mixed with infant milk because it is hypoallergenic. As you see your baby's ability to accept a spoon in his mouth and swallow a tiny bit of this new runny puree, increase the number of spoons you feed once a day. Most mothers try to introduce semi-solid foods afer the mid morning nap.
Start with breast milk or formula. Breast milk or formula should remain the primary source of nutrition during the early stages of weaning. Introduce new foods gradually:
Begin with small amounts of single-ingredient purees, such as mashed bananas or cooked mashed potatoes with baby's milk (sweet potatoes make poo runnier - use small amounts and change/mix to butternut squash). Be mindful of the properties of food! Some foods are more constipating such as rice and bananas. You need to keep a balance to see how is your baby's digestion reacting with each new food. A new food should be introduced after 3 days. This practice gives you enough time to check if there is an allergy or intolerance to the new food. Some babies could be very sensitive. An intolerance could show as constipation. Decrease the amount or frecuency of that new food.
The investment on a food processor such as the Thermomix, will make your food preparation time a bliss! I highly recommend it for this feeding stage and all future food preparations for your family.
Include a wide range of nutrients: Incorporate fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins into your baby's weaning journey. Your baby's new diet should have a balanced and varied nutrition.
Avoid added sugars and salt: Babies' taste buds are still developing, so it is important to limit their exposure to unnecessary sugars and salt. Here is your chance to make them love their vegetables!
Offer a variety of textures: As your baby becomes more comfortable with purees, gradually introduce mashed or finely chopped foods to encourage chewing (6-8 months).
Be mindful of allergenic foods: Introduce most allergenic foods, such as peanuts and eggs, one at a time after the first year, and watch for any adverse reactions.
Encourage self-feeding: As your baby grows, move from strained foods to chunky soft foods, and then introduce finger foods and utensils to foster their independence and motor skills.
Be patient with the mess! When else will you have so much fun eating in life without worrying about the cleaning?!
Stay attuned to your baby's cues: Observe your baby's reactions to new foods and adjust accordingly. Remember, each baby is unique and may have different preferences and tolerances.By following these guidelines and incorporating the principles of new practices in nutrition and food safety, parents can ensure a smooth and successful weaning journey for their little ones. Happy weaning!