Follow These Nine Guidelines During Weaning

At six to eight months of age, food is introduced in a baby’s diet (other than breast milk), a process called weaning. Breast feeding should also be continued. Vegetables, fruits, cereals/grains, legumes etc. are introduced as weaning food. Ideal age for weaning is six to eight months. Until six months of age exclusive breast-feeding should be practiced for optimal health of the baby. Weaning is an important event in baby’s life and it should be done carefully. Follow some guidelines to make weaning process a good experience for the baby.ID-10012828

The following guidelines should be followed during weaning process:

  1. Give small quantity of food at the beginning, preferably 2-4 teaspoonfuls.
  2. Introduce/give one food at a time, which helps the baby in adjusting the food. Once the baby becomes familiar with one food, than introduce another food.
  3. At first semisolid foods should be given to the baby and than slowly introduce solid foods. Solid food should be given only once a day at the beginning. Consistency of weaning food should be very thin, than slowly start giving thicker foods and than solid foods.
  4. Encourage the baby to get used to new foods and new flavors, because variety is important in food habit.
  5. Do not force the baby to eat food, which the baby dislikes or when the baby is not in a mood to eat.
  6. Avoid adding salt and sugar to the weaning food.
  7. If your baby dislikes one food, mix it with another or reintroduce the food one or two weeks later. If your baby still do not like it, it is better to omit the food.
  8. If you need to sweeten the food, do it with some fruit puree and avoid using sugar.
  9. Continue breast-feeding during weaning. Breast-feeding should be continued until the baby is one year old, preferably longer.

Quality weaning food should have high energy (calorie) and rich in minerals and vitamins. Weaning food should be easy to digest. For Indians khichdi (khichdi is prepared using/mixing pulses or lentils, rice and vegetables cooked together) can be a good weaning food, because it high calorie, easier to digest and full of vitamins and minerals and fibers. Do not forget to add variety of vegetables in khichdi to make it well balanced. A quality weaning food need not be costly. Pay attention to provide quality proteins, iron, calcium, and vitamins. Weaning food should be well balanced. A well balanced diet provide all essential nutrients such as proteins (including essential amino acids), vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids along with fats and carbohydrates.

Image courtesy of federico stevanin /

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