Breast milk is always the best source of nutrition for infants according to different researches. However, this is not an endless source of nutrition. At a certain time, your baby must leave your breast and get familiar with other food to supplement a variety of nutrients. Weaning a baby is one of the most concerning issues among mothers nowadays but not everyone knows how to do it properly. So to help your baby move on from breastfeeding to other food, here is our guide for weaning your baby.
Why Your Baby Needs Weaning
According to the study, breast milk is full of essential nutritional ingredients for your baby. In addition, your milk also contains antibodies, yeast, and white blood cells which will improve your baby’s immune system. Therefore, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first 6 months and until the baby turns 2 years old. However, according to nutrition experts, breast milk will gradually reduce quality and amount as the baby grows up. In particular, after 10 months, the protein content in breast milk was less than half at baseline. The amount of important vitamins like B12 is also reduced. As a result, if you only breastfeed, your baby will not have enough nutrients to grow. This is the reason why your baby needs weaning.
What Time to start Weaning.
Currently, there is no specific regulation on weaning time for babies. Doctors recommend that mothers should not wean their babies too early but start weaning them at 9-10 months. Babies from 1 to 2 years old should be fully weaned. Each baby is different so depending on your baby’s health and your condition, you can choose which time for weaning your baby. Many women choose to wean their babies when they start working again, or after they turn 1 year old. At this age, babies can start to walk, talk, and can eat a variety of foods. Therefore, you can try to combine breastfeeding and weaning at the same time until your baby is familiar with other food.
Gradually Reduce Breastfeeding Each Day
Weaning a baby requires patience and should be done slowly. Gradually reducing breastfeeding is the key factor in weaning your baby. However, you should not abruptly cut off breastfeeding to wean your baby. In the beginning, you should reduce the number of breastfeeding sessions per day. You can give your baby some formula milk to make sure they still have enough nutrients. After that, you should gradually replace breast milk with formula milk until your baby no longer wants to breastfeed. Alternatively, you can reduce the time each breastfeeding session takes. If it normally took 15 minutes per session, then you should gradually reduce the time to 10 minutes, divided into 2 sessions until your baby stops needing breastmilk. Both you and your baby will need time to get used to the changes. So remember to be patient.
Introduce Your Baby To Solid Foods
By the time your baby reaches 6 -8 months, their teething is started and their taste will have changed too. It is recommended that you should introduce them to solid foods in this period. The introduction to solid foods will gradually assist the weaning process of your baby. Rice cereal is the most common choice among mothers as it is easy for your baby to digest and the least likely to cause an allergic reaction. You should add new foods one at a time and wait a few days between each new food. Remember to keep an eye out for food allergies each time your baby has something new. While processing weaning foods for your baby, make sure that they are soft or mashed carefully so your baby will be able to chew them easily. On top of that, you should not let your baby have nuts or small food items to reduce the risk of choking.
Make Sure Your Baby is at the Best Condition While Weaning
Weaning will have different effects on your baby’s health and behavior. The same will happen to you as well. Therefore, you should wean your baby at a time when both of you are in the best mental state and health. Remember that weaning takes time so you should keep calm and relax.
You should not start weaning your baby if they are sick. An illness will weaken your baby’s immune system and affect their health. Weaning while your baby is sick may lead to serious complications like rickets or malnutrition.
There you go, now you have our guide to wean your baby. Do you have any tips to make the baby’s weaning process easier? Please share it with us in the comments!