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There is no surefire approach to weaning a baby but there are certain rules you can follow to make sure the transition goes smooth for you as well as your little one.
Weaning is an important milestone achieved by babies. At some point in the first year of their lives, they crave and move to semi-solid foods and then to solid foods from being on an exclusively liquid diet. Surprisingly, this happens even before their first tooth appears. Parents should keep in mind that every child is an individual and will achieve his milestones at his own pace and stage.
Here's what a new mother must know when she is about to start weaning her baby.
WHO recommends weaning a baby from breastmilk or formula from the age of 6 months. It is also recommended that the mother drop one feed (breastmilk or formula) at a time. To know if the child is alright with semi-solids, only a little portion of the food should be given at first (about a quarter of a spoon). If the baby seems alright and is willing to have more of it without vomiting or passing loose stools, the portion can be increased. Taking one step at a time, the mother will be able to drop one feed by the end of seventh month.
There are some tell-tale signs that a baby will show as early as 4 months of age. Grabbing at things around him, putting them into his mouth, trying to lick or swallow semi-solids when a little portion is rubbed on the tongue, and keeping it in without throwing up is a sign that the baby is ready to have solids. It takes almost 2 months from this stage for his delicate tummy to keep in the food and digest it. By the time the baby is 6 months old, she will be ready for weaning.
Every child is different and so are her preferences. Some eat their food without a fuss while others are choosy.
Breastfeeding is recommended by WHO till the age of 2 years. It has its own goodness and living antibodies that protect the tender immune system of the child. It applies for formula fed babies too till they turn 2. However, if the mother has a medical condition that advises her to stop breastfeeding, she can very well opt out of it and replace it with formula.
The author is owner at Nabeela's Makery. With inputs from Dr. Krishnan Chugh, director and HOD, Paediatrics and PICU, Fortis Memorial Research Institute.
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