Weaning your Baby
Weaning in infants is when you stop feeding mother’s milk or formula milk to your baby and start feeding your baby the adult food. This also means that you are supposed to skip feeding your baby with other baby food or purees that may be either home-made or store-bought. This helps babies to learn and practice chewing and digesting solid food.
While this process has its own advantages and disadvantages, a large number of health practitioners do suggest baby led weaning at some stage of the baby’s life. When exactly is the right time to start? This depends solely upon your personal choice.
Some parents are really scared to give their baby’s finger food to try, right away. However, other parents find weaning important and start it at early infancy age just to get the baby slowly used to everyday food.
Benefits of Weaning your baby
Weaning in infants is moving the baby front one step of life to another. As mentioned above, weaning has its positives and negatives. Some positives include:
Protection against Allergies
It is suggested by many health practitioners to give your baby almost all healthy adult food to eat before your baby is one year of age since babies below the age of one are less prone to food allergies. Read more on
Many infants become very fussy and choosy about food once they grow up. Therefore, it is suggested to give your baby everything to taste at a very early age so that they can develop taste for it. And then, as they grow up, babies tend to eat almost every food without being picky about some foods over other, in regards with taste. This can in turn make the mother’s busy life, a bit easier, by not having to pick and choose taste particular foods for their babies in the supermarket.
Cost and Energy saving
Another positive of weaning in infants is the fact that the mother doesn’t have to invest the effort in preparing any special food separately for the baby to eat. Instead, your baby can enjoy the same food that you prepare for the rest of your family.
However, having said that, since your infant’s taste buds are in a developing phase and your baby’s stomach is only tiny, make sure to serve smaller quantity of food. Also make sure that the food is not too strong in taste (i.e. not too spicy, extra sweet or extra salty).
Developing healthy eating habits
As the modern generation adults, we sure are aware about the importance of healthy eating habits. However, once your eating habits go towards the unhealthy direction, going healthy in terms of food can be a difficult task for some.
Weaning your infant is your chance to develop healthy eating habits in your little one. Make sure the food you prepare for your family is healthy enough for the baby too and slowly and gradually introduce healthy adult food in your baby’s diet. Try to avoid using processed food or any artificial taste or colours in the food you prepare.
Baby Adventure time
For many parents, this phase of the baby’s life is the most adorable one. It is really fun to see your baby exploring new tastes and textures. Your baby will make funny faces with foods that don’t taste too well for your baby e.g. citrus fruits. On the other hand, your baby will open it’s mouth and move hands trying to ask for more of the food your baby likes. You slowly and gradually learn more and more about the foods you baby likes and the foods your baby doesn’t enjoy eating much.
Baby learning time
During the weaning phase of your baby, you will realize how weaning infants is not just about developing the type of foods your baby likes or dislikes etc., but it is more than just that.
Babies start to learn to eat on their own during this phase. This means that your baby also starts using his analysis and learning skills to learn to eat, which helps your baby’s brain development. Further, the obvious advantage is that the mothers will no longer need to spoon feed her baby.
Minor Negatives of Weaning your baby
With a lot of advantages of weaning in infants, there are a few possible disadvantages as well. These negatives include:
Stopping breastfeeding is not as simple as it sounds. It’s not just a simple procedure of stopping breastfeed and starting adult solid foods to the infant. It’s much more than that. It is an emotional connection and attachment between the breastfeeding mother and her baby.
Both the breastfeeding mother and her baby have to go through some stress when keeping the baby away from breastfeed. It is usually observed that babies become very cranky and irritable during this time. At the same time, mothers feel very guilty and upset when they see their babies in such a condition. Read more on the causes, prevention and treatment of postnatal depression here.
Wouldn’t really call it a disadvantage but one of the minor negatives of the weaning phase of life is “things around now get messy”. Be ready and prepared that your little one will now “eat some and throw some”. This means that the food you now serve your baby with, your baby will eat a portion of the food and mess around the rest of it for you to clean.
Time taking process
Weaning is a time taking process; it doesn’t just happen overnight.
Being patient is the key. If you’re a new mother, or mother-to-be, be sure that the coming few years of your life will require for you to be patient. Babies will take their time to learn eating on their own properly. Therefore, it’s advised to put your “cool and patient hat” on when going through the weaning phase.
It can be scary
Since your baby is learning to eat independently, everything around that your baby can grab is a potential hazard for your baby now. Your baby will now try to grab everything around, be it a toy or a TV remote control, and will attempt to eat it. This can be a bit dangerous in some cases.
There are cases where babies choke themselves when trying to attempt to eat not editable items surrounding it. Sometime babies also get cough or gags due to some food pieces that they are unable to properly swallow. As a mother, you need to be alert and aware of such stuff and need to be very watchful for your baby.
It is highly advised not to keep small items away from the reach of your baby at this phase of life. Beware that such choking hazards can sometimes be fatal.
· Start weaning at the right time i.e. when you realize that you and your baby are actually ready.
· While serving harder, large sized finger food, try breaking it into very little chewable/biteable pieces.
· Gagging is normal, it is not the same as choking so you do not need to worry about it.
· If you have family history of food allergies, try to introduce one new food slowly like after every 3-4 days, to see if your baby has any allergy or intolerance towards that food.
· Check the temperature of the food before serving it to the baby to protect from any burns. Serve food at the right temperature. It should not be either too hot or too cold.
· It’s always better to consult your baby’s nutritionist for discussing about your baby’s weaning process.