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455 Weaning

Weaning

Weaning

Weaning is a process by which a baby shifts from having breast milk to consuming semi-solid or solid foods . Over time, this food is steadily increased; the baby's dependence on breast milk is reduced till the baby is off breast milk completely. Weaning is very important for the baby's health and development.

The baby should be exclusively breast fed till 6 months. After 6 months, breast milk does not provide all the nutrients that the growing baby needs. Semi-solid and solid foods should be gradually introduced along with breast milk.

Tips for Weaning -

• Introduce one food at a time. It will be easier to identify if your baby is allergic to a particular food.
• Prepare a fresh meal every time you want to feed your baby.
• Use colourful bowls, spoons or plastic cups.
• Do not force-feed your baby.
• Give foods in small quantities in the beginning.
• If your baby refuses a food today, offer the same again after a few days.
• Offer your baby a wide range of foods so that he or she gets used to different flavours
• All foods should be stored, handled and prepared hygienically, to prevent infection.
• Make sure that the food is at the right temperature. Do not make it too hot.
• Always sit near your baby while he or she is feeding so that your baby does not choke.

Foods which can be gradually introduced to your baby are -
• Boiled and mashed vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, beans, etc.
• Mashed bananas, sapota, papaya; boiled and mashed apples, pears.
• Diluted fruit juice.
• Starchy foods which are rich in carbohydrates like rice, oats and other cereals.