Baby Weaning

It’s time to talk about it if you, like many mothers, have mixed emotions about weaning; speak to those who have been through it or who know you and your child well. You and your baby will benefit from gradual weaning. Weaning should be seen as a mechanism rather than a one-time occurrence. Weaning starts the first time your baby consumes food or beverage other than breast milk and continues until breast milk is no longer a part of his diet, which may take weeks, months, or even years. It’s more important to wean gradually than it is to wean when. This gives your child—and you!—time to adapt to such a drastic change. Most mothers have conflicting emotions about weaning. Physically, gradual weaning helps your milk supply decline at a more natural pace, reducing the risk of engorgement and infection in your breasts.

Benefits of baby weaning

  • Babies are born curious, and they are wired to experiment and explore. It’s how they pick up information. Self-feeding increases dexterity and promotes hand-eye coordination, all of which are crucial qualities for their future. According to some studies, babies who are only given a limited variety of foods may develop fussiness. In contrast, babies who are allowed to try a wide variety of foods for themselves are more likely to eat new foods. Play is about learning for kids, and they will learn a lot from handling food, from learning how to keep something without losing it to grasping various shapes, sizes, weights, tastes, and textures.
  • When in our arms, most of us have seen our children looking for food. They begin playing with whatever food they can get their hands on. While it can be a messy affair, it aids in the development of improved hand-mouth coordination and provides a variety of sensory benefits. Consequently, it’s crucial to encourage your baby to explore the textures and enjoy the range of flavors.
  • A baby is exposed to a whole new world of foods during weaning, and this is when he or she begins to develop likes and dislikes for them. As a result, your baby will be more conscious of his options and preferences, which will help develop his personality. Use soft muslin wraps to clean them up after weaning.
  • Encouraging your child to feed himself or herself instills trust in their ability. And the more they learn, the more they realize they have the power to make things happen, which is perfect for a baby’s self-esteem.
  • Allowing babies to choose which foods to eat or leave can enable them to try new foods because they know they won’t be forced to eat them if they don’t like them. While further research into the connection between baby-led weaning and obesity is needed, there is evidence that allowing a baby to choose from a variety of healthy foods, eat at their own rate, and determine when they’ve had enough reduces the risk of overeating.
  • Baby-led weaning promotes early engagement in family mealtimes and helps them develop social skills. They learn how to eat a variety of foods, how to share, and how to participate in conversations. Plus, you’ll spend less time squeezing and pureeing.

Tips for baby weaning

1. Take it slow

Solids or liquids can be used to replace one normal breastfeeding session at a time (depending on your child’s age, ability, and preference). If your child is under the age of one, choose an iron-fortified formula as a substitute; do not give him whole cow’s milk until he reaches the age of one. Whole milk is an appropriate alternative if your child is 1–2 years old. If he’s over the age of two, low-fat or skimmed milk is a healthy option. If your child can pick up and feed himself, you can also give finger foods. Use organic baby sets to keep them comfortable during weaning.

2. Expect the changes and learn to embrace them

Physical changes are to be anticipated. After you’ve fully weaned your infant, your body can continue to produce breast milk for days, weeks, or even months. If you wean slowly, you can feel a little discomfort. If discomfort persists, take an over-the-counter pain reliever (such as acetaminophen), add ice or cabbage leaves to your breasts, and/or wear a supportive bra. Keep an eye out for signs of engorgement or mastitis, and contact your doctor right away if you have any questions.

3. Timing is key

Make the most of your time. When weaning is complete, substitute one breastfeeding at a time, waiting 3–5 days between each substitution. Consider slowing down the speed if your child exhibits substantial resistance (e.g., changes in actions, feelings of insecurity). Each time, choose the least essential feeding. Breastfeeding is particularly important to many children in the morning, at bedtime, and after bath time. If your child refuses to stop breastfeeding, you can continue to do so while gradually reducing the duration of each session.

4. Know when to start weaning

Premature babies should start weaning earlier than the recommended 26 weeks, but they are unlikely to be ready for baby-led weaning right away. They also experience developmental delays, which means they will not sit up unassisted or pick up and play with food by six months. Self-feeding comes naturally to many infants. Other infants, especially those with delayed motor skills, may not be able to self-feed useful quantities of food until they are much older than six months; however, once they reach this age, they require vital nutrients such as iron, which cannot be obtained entirely from breast or formula milk.

Lana Murpy

I am Lana Murpy, a post-graduate in humanities and communications, and an inquisitive person who loves writing. My forte is a digital marketing and everything that has to do with phones and screens. I’m working for Tiny Twig. I am someone who believes that one person can make a change and that's precisely why I took up writing which is the best tool to communicate these days. I have a decade of experience in writing and marketing.

Sharing is caring!