Weaning or introducing your little one to solid foods is a big step in both you and your baby’s life. Weaning is also known as “complementary feeding” because it is not meant to replace breast milk or infant formula at least until 12 months old. The purpose of weaning is to introduce your little one to a wide range of tastes and textures. You might be excited or even nervous for this next step, but do you know the signs that your baby is ready for weaning? When would be the ideal time to start weaning? Read more for the answers!
Is Your Baby Ready to Start Weaning?
Every baby is different. The recommended time to start weaning is between 17 weeks to 26 weeks (4 to 6 months). But before you’re embarking on this new journey, you should first check if your baby shows more than one of these signs before you start weaning.
Signs your baby is ready to start weaning :
- They are able to sit up and can hold their head steady,
- Hands - Eye - Mouth coordination. They can look, pick and put food into their mouth by themselves,
- They can swallow food. If your baby isn’t ready, they’ll spit back their food.
There are also signs that parents commonly mistaken as signs of being ready to start weaning. These are NOT the sign that your baby is ready :
- Chewing fists,
- Wanting extra milk feeds or increased frequency of milk feed,
- Waking up at night when they have previously slept through.
- Try breastfeeding more often or offer more milk at each bottle feed if your baby seems hungrier than usual after their feed.
Why You Should Start Weaning Between 4 to 6 Months
Your baby should be at least 17 weeks or 4 months old before you can start giving them solid food. This is because of various reasons, such as :
- Increased risk of infections and allergies,
- Increased risk of obesity later in life,
- Their kidneys aren’t mature enough to process foods other than milk,
- Their digestive system isn’t developed enough to process solid food.
It is recommended to start weaning at around 6 months old but no more than 26 weeks because your baby now needs more nutrients. Here’s why you shouldn’t wait later than 26 weeks to start weaning :
- Your baby’s increased requirements of nutrients are no longer fulfilled by breast milk or formula milk alone,
- Delays in introduction of tastes and textures may make it more difficult for your little one to accept new foods,
- Stores of essential nutrients such as irons are used up by 6 months and needs to be replenished,
- Delaying weaning may delay their opportunity to learn essential skills such as self-feeding.
Other than that, introducing new textures also helps to develop the muscles involved in speech.
Please take note: Babies who are born prematurely may have their own individual needs to be met, so they might need to be weaned at different times. It is recommended to speak with your doctor before you start weaning.
Has your baby started showing the signs that they’re ready to wean? What’s your experience when you started weaning? Share with us in the comments below, we’d love to hear your story!
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Disclaimer : The statements on this blog are provided for educational purposes only. The author does not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any message and will not be held responsible for the content of any message. Always seek advice from a qualified health care provider for any question or medical advice.