Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Weaning

When to begin

The current UK advice is to stick to breastmilk (or formula if your baby isn't breastfed) for the first six months. But babies' needs are individual - some need food a little sooner, and others are fine on milk only for a little longer.

You can offer your baby a range of foods, as long as she can manage them. A lot of parents begin with purees, but this isn't essential. From around six months onwards, your baby can use her fingers and hands to bring food to her mouth, and this 'baby-led' weaning approach is a good way of helping her learn the connection between taste, appearance and texture.

First tastes can include:
a. Mashed vegetables such as parsnip, carrot, courgette, potato or yam
b. Mashed fruit such as pear, cooked apple, banana and mango
c. Rice, cornmeal, millet or baby rice mixed your baby's usual milk

If the food is hot, make sure you stir and test it before giving it to your baby. Don't add any foods to a bottle with milk, as it could cause your baby to choke. Don't force-feed her - if she doesn't seem to want the food, try again another day. Your baby should still be having breastfeeds or 600ml (one pint) of formula milk a day.

Weaning advice
a. Don't rush your baby - give her as much time as she needs to feed
b. Make sure you're both relaxed before you start to feed
c. Feed your baby on your lap or in a high chair
d. When introducing new foods, try to mix them in with familiar ones
e. Go at your baby's pace and don't be upset if she refuses the food - she'll get used to the idea
f. Weaning can be a messy business so make sure you're prepared to get your clothes, flooring and your baby very dirty indeed

The next few months
a. Try to increase the amount of food your give your baby - give her solids for two of her meals each day
b. Don't add any salt to your baby's food - if she's eating food prepared for the whole family, make sure her portion has been set aside before seasoning
c. Small amounts of sugar may be required to take away the sharpness from fruit such as gooseberry and rhubarb, but avoid adding sugar to food and drinks

Preparing your own food for your baby is cheaper than buying ready-made jars, because it can be made in bulk and frozen, and you know exactly what the ingredients are.

Other foods to try
Add other foods to the vegetable, fruit and cereal:
a. Pureed meat (including liver) and poultry
b. Pureed lentils (dhal) or split pulses
c. Milk products (full-fat yoghurt, fromage frais, custard), unless your family has a history of eczema or other allergies

Can babies eat everything?
If your baby is six months or older, there are no foods she can't have, unless you know she's at risk of allergy. Stick to breastmilk or formula milk as a drink until your baby is a year old (cow's milk is fine in cooking, or to mix with other foods).

It's probably wise to avoid honey until your baby is one because of the very small risk of botulism.
Don't add salt or sugar to your baby's food.

Bought baby foods
Pre-prepared jars or packet foods are convenient, especially if you're visiting friends or travelling and need to take something for your baby. If you do give her ready-made food, try to mix it with fresh foods.
a. Choose 'sugar-free' foods or those that don't contain added sugars or sweeteners (check the label)
b. Check the seals on cans and jars haven't been broken and they haven't exceeded their sell-by date
c. Check they're suitable for your baby's age
d. Buy gluten-free and egg-free food for babies under six months
e. Check drink labels carefully, even baby drinks labelled 'low sugar' or 'no added sugar' often contain some sugar and may harm your baby's teeth

Drinks
a. Breast milk
b. Infant formula can be used for babies up to one year and beyond
c. Once your baby's teeth have come through, try to cut out a bedtime bottle to avoid tooth decay
d. Water is the best alternative drink to milk - avoid bottled water as it can have higher mineral and salt contents
e. Citrus fruit juices can be used after six months - they're a good source of vitamin C but are acidic and have a high sugar content, so try to dilute with water
f. Squashes, fizzy drinks, flavoured milk and juice drinks are unsuitable for babies because of their sugar and additives
g. Tea and coffee aren't suitable drinks for babies or young children because they reduce iron absorption and cause tooth decay if they've got sugar in
Note: Article abstracted from BBC Parenting

5 comments:

richrach said...

silas and i will have to learn from both u and soopei later. hehe... at least we've got u guys and reanne as "guinea pigs" muaahahahahha! kidding la.... :D

thanks for the tip.
one aunty told me last weekend that it's good to start giving baby a taste of everything (except spicy stuff) - just a taste that is. so that when baby grows up, she wont be choosy when comes to food. ;o)

cck said...

better check with the 'chef' mummy as she are the one tat plan & prepare. Previously Ivan weaning process was pretty smooth and successful. Mummy prepare quite a lot of choices for him in the form of purees. Do take note some foods are to be introduce in much later stage like eggs, honey as it might trigger allergies.

I try to write it out on blog as sharing when Reanne starts the steps.

richrach said...

thx CK. will look forward to your future posts... :)

Helen R said...

Great tips - and thanks for introducing me to the BBC Parenting site!
I found this site's weaning information really useful.

Best wishes to you & the family!

cck said...

You are welcome Helen. Glad to be of help. Tats the whole idea of blogging. Cheers