Weaning or complementary feeding is the time you introduce your baby to solid food in addition to bottled or breast milk. Many women are confused regarding the best time to introduce solids to the diet of their body, however, the current recommendations state that the best time to do so is around 6 months of age.
It is not important in the beginning what the child is eating, but rather, the idea of eating and getting them used to it is much more important. Ideally, you should discuss with your healthcare provider or child specialist in Islamabad the foods that are best suitable for them. The right foods at this time, in addition to milk, will set your child up for a lifetime of healthy eating. Thus, the importance of weaning is far reaching and much more than one imagines.
Why wait till 6 months?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breast or bottle feed for the baby for the first six months of life. During this period, the baby gets all his energy needs from the milk (with the exception of vitamin D in some cases). Thereafter, breast feeding should be combined with soft foods till the age of one year. Breast feeding can be continued as long as the mother wishes.
Breast milk contains immunoglobulins that provide protection to the baby till the age of six months. Thus, for this period of time, breast milk provides adequate protection, especially from diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. During this time, the baby matures enough to deal with solid food. Before six months of age, the gastrointestinal tract of the baby is immature and cannot deal fully with solid or semi-solid food.
Around six months of age, babies are also developing other motor skills and will be able to feed themselves. The babies become better at moving food around their mouth, as well as, chewing and swallowing it. Moreover, babies at this time are better able to appreciate the range of tastes and textures.
However, for babies born prematurely, it is best to seek advice from their healthcare provider before weaning them.
When to delay weaning?
There can be certain conditions in which weaning can be delayed, depending on the condition and the response of the baby. Consider delaying if: you are concerned about an allergic reaction from the baby. Food allergies run in families, and if they do so in yours, then you can consider delaying weaning. According to research, its best to expose the baby to allergens when breast feeding, since mother’s milk contains immunoglobulins designed to help the baby fight infections.
Additionally, you can postpone weaning if your child is teething or not feeling well. The transition to food is handled best when both the mother and the baby are ready to handle the change.
What is the best way to wean?
The best way to wean is to slowly taper off the frequency and duration of breast feeding, over the course of few weeks or months. The easiest way is to drop the mid-day session of breast feeding and interest the child in the first solid food of the day. For more help you can reach out to child specialist in Lahore.