While motherhood is a pure bliss in every way, we cannot deny that it is equally challenging as well. First time mommies always find themselves confused, unsure and worried about things related to their babies. One of the biggest challenge you face as a mother is at the time of weaning your baby.
As the baby grows his nutritional need increases and he requires to be introduced to the solid food which he will be eating throughout his life and this will be the major source of fulfilling his nutritional requirements. Many parents are scared and much worried about introducing their babies to solids mostly because they are not sure how the baby will respond to his new diet.
In present times it is not at all difficult to learn about weaning the babies. Every information you need is available online on how to stop breastfeeding and shift to solid diet. But ironically all the googling you do will only leave you more confused and baffled as there will be a gazzilion diet charts and some trazillion baby food recipes available online and if you are a first time parent you will certainly find yourself in the middle of nowhere.
Things To Do Before Starting Weaning the Baby to Solid Food
- Consult a pediatrician, you need to be sure that your baby is ready to start eating solid food now. The Pediatrician will also provide you certain guidelines on how to start feeding solid food to your baby.
- Stock your pantry
- Get the right utensils
- Invest on one comfortable feeding chair
- Buy bibs and napkins
What To Give To The Baby While Weaning a Baby Off The Bottle
Baby Food Recipes To Start With (6 months onward)
This is very easy to feed as it does not contain the grains. Boil washed Rice in triple amount of water and a dash of salt. When the rice is completely cooked strain it to obtain the thick sticky rice water add a pinch of salt and Ghee(optional).
Dal ka pani as it is called in India is another dish that you can add to your baby’s diet chart. It is easy to digest and will certainly help the baby in his initial stages where he is learning to eat.
Most of the babies enjoy eating bananas, it is very likely that you will not find any difficulty feeding banana to your baby. Choose a ripe banana which is easy to mash and feed.
This is another main course option that provides nutrition and is filling. Potatoes are everyone’s favorite and babies are no exception. Take ghee in a pan add boiled grated potatoes to it.Pour in some milk, basically to attain the desired consistency. Season with some salt and pepper. Cook this mixture until you get thick, creamy, lump free and smooth mashed potatoes.
Moong Dal Khichdi
Take Moong Dal and Rice is 3:1 ratio. Add triple amount of water, pinch of turmeric powder and salt. Cook in a pressure cooker until 3 whistles. Temper it with some ghee, curry leaves and garlic. I bought this pressure cooker when my older one was born and this is still very much useful as I prepare meals for my little one.
Blend together milk and pulp of Sapodila fruit to make a thick shake. This makes a perfect mid meal snack for babies.
Things To Avoid While Starting Solid Food
Chunks in Baby Food
The food must not contain lumps nor chunks. Checks twice before feeding anything to your baby. Choking is a very common problem that leads parents to the emergency rooms.
Spices May be Unsuitable
In the beginning avoid putting spices in your babies food. Babies may not be able to digest or sometimes they may not like the taste of the spices. Start with Turmeric powder and black pepper. These spices are not very pungent and at the same time they are very therapeutic in nature.
No one likes it not even babies. Don’t give completely bland food to the baby. They may eat it but they will acquire that taste and will find it difficult to adapt to normal food in future. Add very little salt / sugar, just enough to break the blandness.
Avoid Too Much Pureeing
I have seen mothers who are obsessed with pureeing, they run the baby’s food in a blender and serve it to babies. while this may be helpful in just initial 15-20 days, you need to shift from it soon.
Encourage Baby Led Weaning
What is Baby Led Weaning ?
This is a concept that became popular in the UK and in my opinion it it very helpful. Baby led feeding is basically allowing the child to eat on her own.
Benefits of Baby Led Feeding
The biggest benefit is that as you wean you baby he starts recognizing the food he is eating. Baby led weaning also develops eye and hand co-ordination, as the baby sees whats in the plate and tries to pick it up and puts it in his mouth. In baby led weaning approach the baby gets know to the aroma, taste, texture, and color of a several foods that are being served to him.
When to Start Baby Led Weaning
Wait for your baby to be ready to get started. The baby should be able sit on a high chair without being held. When you sit the baby on a high chair he should be able to hold his neck and sit stable without support. This milestone is achieved around 8th month.
Baby-Led Weaning Foods To start With
Start with finger food like potato wedges, steamed florets of Cauliflower/broccoli, Banana, baked Apple sticks etc.
You can start adding new food gradually, as the baby gets used to eating on his own. Pasta, steamed/boiled Broccoli, Omelette cut in to pieces, flaked de-boned steamed fish, shredded chicken roast and so on.
The Bottom Line
The actual goal of weaning your baby from breastfeeding / formula feed to solid food is to introduce the child with the kind of the food he/she will be eating throughout his/her life. The key to successfully achieving this goal is smooth transitions.The baby begins with liquid diet, then is shifted to semi-solids and then finally to solid food that we all normally eat. But shifting from one type of diet to other should be done carefully by keeping in consideration the actual ability of the child to handle the consistency of the food given to him/her.