Weaning is the period when a baby transitions from taking breast milk to solids. Most times the mother determines the best time to start weaning which could be attributed to certain factors ,there is no ideal time for weaning but , most pediatricians advise that solid foods be introduced from six months .
To buttress this fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends feeding babies only breast milk for the first six months of life . After that a combination of solid foods and breast milk be given until a baby is 1 year old . While some mothers may follow the six month plan, some wait until the child is a year old .
It’s best to take it one day at a time , do not force your child to start eating solids if your baby is not ready . How you ,may ask ? you baby will begin to show signs that he or she is ready for solids like, once baby begins to show interest in what you eat by grabbing food from your hands and putting in the mouth , smacking lips while you eat , trying to lick food off your spoon .
You may notice baby getting distracted or fussy while breast feeding or might look seemingly uninterested during feeding.
Start by reducing the number of times you breast feed so your child is not wholly dependent on breast milk, you can decide to only breast feed at night and feed solids during the day .
Gradually introduce solids to your baby, try it once a day until they get used to the idea of the new texture .do not expect your baby to like it immediately , remember your baby has been taking only milk for the first 6 months of their life so warming up to solids may not be immediate .Introduce feedings with the use of a cup or bottle .
Texture of the food should be appealing and runny start with a puree which can include fruits & vegetables such as apple, banana , carrots , peas, sweet potato, mashed potato . Some mums introduce foods such as amala, semovita custard or pap which can be easily swallowed. Avoid foods that are likely to choke your little one.
Food administered should be warm, taste before giving to the baby .
Get ready for a lot of cleaning up, as your baby will find it interesting and fun while exploring the texture with the hands, remember mess is fun for your baby so indulge him or her and make it a fun time . Use washable bibs during feedings.
Do not transition to solids if your child is teething, as it can be a very uncomfortable time for your baby .
Remember that not all children are the same , their development takes time and varies for each child . Exercise patience as always.