How to wean your baby off the bottle
Introducing babies to solid foods or weaning, usually takes place when the baby is between four and six months old. There are differing schools of thought on this subject however. Some organizations say weaning should be held back until a baby is six months old and others that it can be started from around four months old. NEVER give anything other than milk to babies under four months of age.
Weaning, whenever you choose to start this process is a gradual one which should not be forced upon the baby if they are not interested. Weaning means a gradual transition from a liquid diet to eating solid foods. Your baby will still need their milk feeds during the weaning process but as it progresses their milk intake will gradually lessen. A six month old baby should still be having around 600mls of milk per day.
Eventually your baby may only need one or two milk feeds per day. Water or weakened fruit juice can be given to babies between meals if they are thirsty.
Seek medical advice if you are unsure about weaning.
A baby’s first taste of food should be something simple and quite bland. Baby rice or porridge is a good starter food. As you start to introduce more foods into your baby’s diet you can begin to vary the flavours.
Home made food is preferable to manufactured baby food but jars or tins of baby food can be convenient and are handy to have in to make life a bit easier. They are also good for transporting when you are on the move.
Bananas are good nutricious food for babies. They can be mashed through a sieve quite easily and do not require warming first. Any soft fruit can be prepared this way. Avocados can also be mashed and you could add breastmilk or formula to thin down the consistency of the food to suit your baby’s needs.
A food processor is a good way to puree foods and means that after a while you can give your baby more or less the same food that you eat yourself. This way they will get the goodness from the meat, fish and vegatables that you yourself eat.
Just make sure not to add salt and sugar or concentrated stock cubes to your baby’s food as their kidneys are not yet able to process these things and could be damaged by them.
Your baby will need a high chair in which to comfortably sit. Do not try to sit a baby in a high chair if they cannot support themselves. Baby should be strapped in and never left alone whilst in the high chair.
There are many types of high chair on the market ones to suite all tastes and price ranges. Some chairs are adjustable and can be used as small toddler chairs when the child grows.
As your baby becomes familiar with different foods you will be able to introduce finger foods. Carrot sticks, cook by boiling or steaming so they are not too hard. Only give your baby finger foods when you are sure that they can chew and swallow small pieces of food without choking. Babies like to hold and eat things like toast too.
Baby feeding him/herself
Soon your baby will want to feed themselves. This is an important step in their development leading to their increasing independence. Although messy your baby should be encouraged to feed themselves as this is how they learn. Let them touch and become familiar with how foods feel. Be prepared for a messy mealtime by putting newspaper or plastic sheeting under and around your baby’s highchair. This is the start of your baby learning how to use utensils. Eventually they will master the art of feeding themselves with a plastic spoon. (Do not give babies a fork or knife)
When your baby is starting to feed themselves they will most likely end up with food everywhere even in their hair!
NEVER leave a baby on their own while they are eating.
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