It is generally recommended to exclusively breastfeed babies from the first hour of birth to between four to six months old. If both baby and the mother are in good health, then it would be a good idea to introduce solid foods around the time baby reaches six months old.
Baby weaning food
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The process of introducing babies to solid foods from liquids is called baby weaning. Baby weaning food should be carefully selected and administered because it is not easy to tell how baby would react to each food stuffs. Also there it is no standard set down recipes for weaning as each child is different. Babies may need a while to adapt to the new different textures and also tastes or they may like it straight away.
Why isn’t breast milk enough for baby after six months anymore?
After six months, baby needs extra nutrients, particularly foods rich in iron. However, he will need to continue breastfeeding as well for approximately one year. Secondly, his immune system and digestive system have become strong enough by six months, allowing him to be able to process solid foods.
What kind of food stuffs should babies be introduced to first as baby weaning food?
It is important to select the first food stuffs to give to babies carefully so as to prevent the possibility of babies getting indigestion and bloating. Generally, it is recommended to give weaning foods in small portions first as you test and check for reactions. It baby tolerates the foods well then increase the food portions slowly.
The following are some kinds of food that are safe to be introduced to baby at around six months old: Well-cooked mashed vegetables, such as potatoes, carrot, broccoli and cauliflower, sweet potato, parsnip, courgette, butternut squash Fruit puree which includes well and ripe cooked apple, mango, pear, papaya. Also include mashed fruit ripe avocado or ripe banana Cereals mixed with baby’s usual portions of milk, and baby rice
NOTE: Clean warm water can be given in small portions after every feeding to aid in digestion.
It is easy to give purees but some babies generally tolerate soft lumps of so for such, well-mashed foods are recommended. After a few months after weaning , e.g three to four months, and as baby gradually grows up and gets used to the regular diet, it is important to introduce other foodstuffs.
Proteins from meat such pureed meat, blended chicken or fish. These food stuffs must be cooked properly and the bones must also be carefully removed
Mashed lentils, chicken peas, split peas, Whole milk yoghurt, but be careful not to introduce cow’s milk or goat’s milk as baby’s main drink before he turns one year old. Vegetables such as peas, spinach and cabbages are also great.
How should the feeding process to administered as baby weaning food?
Ideally, it is better to prepare baby’s food at home. It is also recommended to boil or steam baby’s food. Feeding should be done at specific times. It could help to introduce a routine to enable baby get used to the feeding experience e.g feeding at the same place, using the same cutlery and by the same person. It could also help to make feeding a pleasurable experience by e.g singing for baby while he eats, congratulating him when he makes progress in eating e.t.c. so as to make the feeding process more enjoyable.
Food stuffs to be avoided by babies less than one year as baby weaning food, the following food stuffs should not be given to babies who are under one year old:
Salt – Baby’s kidneys are not yet fully developed to cope with salt. Adults foods should be avoided as they contain an high level of salt.
Honey – Honey could contain a type of bacteria can could be harmful to babies intestines
Sugar – To sweeten babies foods it is better to use desserts such mashed bananas
Artificial sweeteners – Drinks containing artificial sweeteners is not recommended
Tea or Coffee – Because tannin found in tea could prevent iron absorption in baby’s food
Note: Fried or spicy goods should be avoided completely.
Also while introducing baby weaning food, it is important to note that babies are generally not good feeders. It will take a lot of patience and a lot of persuasion to get baby eating. Feeders should try to build a rapport with the baby and understand how to help him in his feeding process.