Wining Weaning Tips
Weaning is the process where you gradually introduce a variety of solid food to your baby, till they eat the same food as the rest of the family eats. During weaning, as your baby begins to consume more solid food, his/her intake of milk will slowly reduce. Strengthening the muscles in the area of the mouth/face (related to “oromotor” skills and speech) is a vital part of weaning.
Another term used is “spoon feeding” which is the gradual introducing of solid foods, besides milk, into your baby’s diet. All babies and young children require energy and nutrients that can help them grow. A well planned diet can provide all the nutrients that your baby needs.
Weaning is best when it is done slowly, rather than doing it abruptly.
Tips to wean your child
Keep it gradual
Weaning is easier and best when it is done over several weeks, months or even longer. A sudden, abrupt wean should only be done in extreme circumstances, when there is no other choice.
Cup vs. Bottle
The transition to weaning may be easier if you begin by introducing a cup rather than a bottle. Breastfed babies can be taught to drink from a cup as early as six months.
One feed at a time
Begin with substituting just one feed a day, perhaps the ‘least favourite’ one.
Express breast milk
If there is a discomfort in your breasts during weaning, try expressing adequate milk so that you are at ease.
Small quantity at a time
Introduce solid foods one at a time and in a small quantity initially. Some babies get very constipated if they are given too much solid food early on.
Opt for what suits
When you select a substitute feeding, choose one depending on the age of your child.
Change the place:
When you sit to spoon feed your child, avoid the places that you would usually use when you’re nursing, as your baby might want to breastfeed in those familiar surroundings, and a cup or a cuddle will not satisfy then.
- Ireland’s Health Service. Babies, weaning. Cited 2016 April 21. Available from: https://www.hse.ie/eng/health/az/B/Babies,-weaning/.
- Weaning your child from breastfeeding. Paediatrics & Child Health. 2004;9(4):254-255.