Weaning in the literal sense means to become accustomed to something different. It does not mean cessation of food but rather addition of new foods.
Weaning is defined as the systematic process of introduction of semisolid food at the right time, in addition to mother’s milk, in order to provide needed nutrients to the baby (UNICEF, 1984). Weaning is the being cutting of the umbilical cord.
When and why to start weaning
There are two schools of thought. The first is to start weaning at six months of age, but now the latest recommendation is to start at four months. By four months of age the baby has achieved head control, developed hand to mouth control and enjoys mouthing. Besides this, the extrusion reflex finishes the gut becomes more ready to accept cereals and pulses.
Is your baby ready for complementary/weaning foods?
Watch out for these signs in your baby:
- Baby readying for other foods
- Baby showing interest in what you eat
- Exploring things with mouth
- Rejection of milk formula
- Weight being levelled out
Weaning at the appropriate age not only helps in combating deficiencies of micro and macro nutrients like iron, zinc and calcium, but also in the process of learning. Learning how to deal with food helps baby’s mouth and tongue to develop, and helps baby to prepare for speech as well! Remember breast feeding needs to be continued along wit
How to introduce food
- Introduce one single nutrient ingredient food at a time to observe for intolerance and to develop the taste. Do not introduce new food before three to five days have lapsed
- Since the transition has to be made from breast milk to solids, start with liquid consistency and gradually go on to semisolid consistency.
- Keep the child in an upright position and give food with a bowl and spoon. Do not introduce bottle.
- After every meal, give a few sips of boiled and cooled water to rinse the mouth.
Age appropriate food