Let’s have a real food… Weaning

Most of the mothers are too keen to introduce solids to their little ones and able to find any “excuse” that supports their will. I love the expression from http://www.wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com “Watch the baby, not the calendar”. If you think your baby is ready for solids, check the below list first and make sure that all the signs are ticked, not just a few of them:

  1. Completed 17 weeks

  2. Doubled the birth weight

  3. Excessive saliva on the smell of food. Babies tend to have excessive saliva since they are born, so you need to watch if he/she getting excessive saliva particularly on the smell of a food.

  4. Curiosity about what you are eating. Baby will be staring at your mouth and curiously watching you chewing food (sometimes accompanied with excessive saliva and/or chewing motion).

  5. Chewing motions.

  6. Eagerly reaching the table, grabbing the food and putting in the mouth.

  7. Lost the tongue – thrust reflex. Doesn’t push food out of his/her mouth.

  8. Continues being hungry despite frequent breastfeeding sessions / bottle with formula (when not sick or teething). Many mothers confuse this one with growth spurt period. Try to keep offering breast or bottle for about a week or so and will see her/him getting over of this. Otherwise, if he/she still needs more frequent milk, yes it is a sign too, but in the combination of all the signs.

  9. “Pincer” grasp if well developed. He/she can grab small items with thumb and forefinger. Don’t mistake it with “palmar” grasp, which is using the fingers and scraping the item/food into the palm.

  10. Steady upright position. Able to hold his/her head up and turn to each side.

  11. Able to sit up well with slight support on parent’s lap.

  12. Ability to show he/she is full from “meal”, which is, turning away from breast/bottle.

  13. Confirming all the above with pediatric doctor (preferably the same one since birth).

I started weaning when my son completed 18 weeks (4.5-month-old), though I planned following the recommendation of American Academy of Pediatrics: The AAP recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about 6 months. When you add solid foods to your baby’s diet, continue breastfeeding until at least 12 months. You can continue to breastfeed after 12 months if you and your baby desire.

The reason is obvious, my son answered all the above-mentioned criteria, to which I didn’t even pay an attention. When visited the doctor to question on why he is totally changed (negatively), he was assessed by his doctor (the same doctor since birth) who confirmed all the above and advised starting weaning. Please remember that being ready for solids is not a milestone, never compare your baby with others in all the aspects to judge his/her readiness for a particular milestone, especially starting solids which are not a milestone at all (repeating once again as it is an important point).

When your baby is ready for solids, you have to identify which method of weaning is ideal to you and to your baby: 1. Simple weaning (I call) – weaning with pureed/mashed “food” 2. Baby Led Weaning (BLW). I will mention nothing about BLW because I totally disagree with this method (personally) though I still had little of BLW in mixture with simple weaning. The only part of BLW I used if offering apple and banana straight to his hands and he would enjoy crumbling into tiniest pieces then swallowing along with sucking the juice out of the fruit. Banana, because it is soft and apple, to reduce the teething pain. I also believe in establishing good manners from birth in which mannered dining is very important, at least to me, that’s why I prefer teaching my baby using the spoon, fork, and knife for having the meal as early as possible.

Identifying the method of weaning will lead you to next step of what and how to offer in starting the weaning. It is recommended to start with vegetables first for about 2-3 weeks, then adding the fruits and only then adding cereals. I didn’t follow this recommendation strictly, though, maybe because I offered green apple and banana, which are not that sweet, are they? It really depends on age on what to offer as you can’t simply offer any vegetable to a baby. The below information is taken from http://www.wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com because I exclusively followed only this website:

4 to 6 months old

Vegetable

Fruits

Grains

Butternut squash

Avacado

Rice

Sweet potatoes

Apple

Barley

Green beans

Banana

Oats

Pears

Vegetable: must be served cooked. I preferred steaming the vegetables. Another healthy way of cooking vegetables is baking.

Fruits: avocado and banana are not cooked as obvious. I used to not cook apple too, as cooked apple might cause gases. I used to steam the pears.

Grains: I tried offering rice cereal and my son had bad constipation, that’s why I delayed the grains and cereals and avoided rice till my son turned 10 months old or so. You may offer rice (preferably brown rice), barley or oats as cereals, though not many are keen advising to offer grains this early.

6 to 8 months old

Vegetable

Fruits

Grains

Protein

Dairy

Butternut squash

Avocado

Rice

Turkey

Plain whole milk yoghurt

Sweet potatoes

Apple

Barley

Chicken

Green beans

Banana

Oats

Tofu

Carrots

Apricot

Peas

Mango

Yellow/Squash Zucchini

Plum

Parsnips

Peaches

Prunes

Pumpkin

Vegetable: Peas, Yellow/Squash Zucchini, and Parsnips are in red because I personally avoided them till 8 -10 months old, as they can cause constipation

Grains: I still avoided rice and barley but started oats. Oats cereals only. I never made porridge as it requires cow milk which I avoided till age of 1

Proteins: I started at the age of 6 months with turkey and added chicken after two weeks.

Dairy: plain whole milk yoghurt can be given from age 7 months old.

8 to 10 months old

Vegetable

Fruits

Grains

Protein

Dairy

Butternut squash

Avocado

Rice

Turkey

Plain whole milk yoghurt

Sweet potatoes

Apple

Barley

Chicken

Cottage cheese

Green beans

Banana

Oats

Tofu

Colby

Carrots

Apricot

Buckwheat

Beans/Legume

Jack

Peas

Mango

Pasta

Beef

Cheddar

Yellow/Squash Zucchini

Plum

Amaranth

Egg yolk (whole eggs)

Parsnips

Peaches

Flax

Fish Ham (natural)

Artichokes

Prunes

Kamut

Asparagus

Pumpkin

Wheat

Broccoli

Blueberries

Sesame

Cauliflower

Cranberries

Spelt

Eggplant

Cantaloupe

Quinoa

Fennel

Cherries

Leeks

Dates / Figs

Onions

Grapes

Mushrooms

Kiwi

Peppers

Papaya

Persimmons

Vegetable: I still avoided peas due to the risk of constipation. I avoided mushrooms till age of 1 due to risk of allergy

Grains: my son was fine with brown rice. Grains mentioned in black are those which I don’t even know and never used 

Protein: We never eat tofu and hadn’t tried it ever. I avoided any type of eggs till the age of 1. Avoid any type of fish till the age of 1.

Cheese: no soft cheeses like Brie or Bleu. My son never liked any type of cheese, though.

My son had food from the table (adult food, no longer steamed/baked separate for him, also stopped blending, just mashed with a spoon) from an age of 9, certainly I made sure it has no salt. He used to have a piece of chicken/turkey/beef just chewing, sucking the juice out and giving back dried meat to me out of his mouth  I attended a lot of training on parenting, most of the coaches told that it is more than enough having the juice out of meat by chewing and keeping it in mouth for a long time, which allows babies getting all the nutrition out, rather than swallowing it.

10 to 12 months old

Vegetables

Fruits

Grains

Protein

Dairy

Butternut squash

Avocado

Rice

Turkey

Plain whole milk yoghurt

Sweet potatoes

Apple

Barley

Chicken

Cottage cheese

Green beans

Banana

Oats

Tofu

Colby

Carrots

Apricot

Buckwheat

Beans/Legume

Jack

Peas

Mango

Pasta

Beef

Cheddar

Yellow/Squash Zucchini

Plum

Amaranth

Egg yolk (whole eggs)

Parsnips

Peaches

Flax

Fish (natural)

Artichokes

Prunes

Kamut

Asparagus

Pumpkin

Wheat

Broccoli

Blueberries

Sesame

Cauliflower

Cranberries

Spelt

Eggplant

Cantaloupe

Quinoa

Fennel

Cherries

Leeks

Dates / Figs

Onions

Grapes

Mushrooms

Kiwi

Peppers

Papaya

Corn

Persimmons

Cucumber

Berries

Spinach

Citrus

Tomatoes

Fruits: Tried offering citrus between 11-12 months old as I was afraid of allergy

Protein: Avoided fish till the age of 1. Tried a bit of whole egg, hard boiled, there and here from 11 months old.

Dos and DON’Ts of weaning:

DOs:

  1. Start with vegetables

  2. Introduce only 1 type of vegetable/fruit at a time

  3. Watch the baby for 2-3 days after introducing new vegetable/fruit. Many parents follow 4 days rule (wait for 4 days after every newly introduced vegetable/fruit)

  4. Remember that weaning means only trying

  5. Start offering 1-2 baby spoons only

  6. Best to offer baked or steamed vegetable

  7. Mix only tried vegetable/fruit

  8. “Listen” to your baby. Watch your baby’s expressions according to which you may know if he/she is full

  9. Stop offering food if your baby is turning his/her face away or closing his/her mouth

DON’Ts

  1. Don’t offer food on lying position of your baby

  2. Don’t salt anything. Babies are not allowed having salt before the age – 1 year old

  3. Don’t fry food. You may add little olive/sunflower/butter oil while baking/steaming but don’t fry

Forbidden baby food (information taken from the website: http://www.wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com):

Honey (not an allergen but may cause botulism in infants under 1yr old)

Peanut Butter After 1 or 2 years*recommendations changed–anywhere from 6 months to 2 years old

(Tree) Nuts (also may pose a choking hazard) after 1 or 2 years*recommendations changed–anywhere from 6 months to 2 years old

Citrus or Acidic Fruits not an allergen but may cause rash & digestive upset due to acidity. Using a dash of lemon or pineapple juice in a whole fruit puree is NOT the same as giving a baby pureed or sliced oranges, pineapple et al. Just because a fruit, like a tomato, is not in the citrus family does not mean that it is not acidic. After 1-year recommendations changed– anywhere from 6 months to 12 months

Raw Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries after 1 year *recommendations changed–anywhere from 6 months to 12 months

Corn (possible allergen and not very nutrient rich) after 1 year *recommendations changed– anywhere from 6 months to 12 months

Egg Whites (Many pediatricians will say it is fine for an older infant to have baked goods that include whole eggs). After 1-year recommendations changed- anywhere from 6 months to 12 months

Whole Milk – as a drink

Lactose and milk proteins may cause allergic reactions and may also cause tummy troubles as they are hard to digest – yogurt and cheese are exceptions.  Milk also hinders proper absorption of iron; iron is crucial during the 1st year. After 1-year recommendations unchanged

Wheat Many suggest that for the infant who has had no issues with gluten in Oats and/or Barley, and who has no history of wheat allergy or gluten intolerance, that offering wheat products (such as wheat toast) is fine around  8+ months – Read more at our topic  Wheat for Baby After 9-10 months or 1 year recommendations changed- anywhere from 6 months to 12 months

Grapes (not a high allergen but may pose a choking hazard – use extreme caution if offering your older infant or toddler grapes) After 10 months or 1 year **

Shellfish/Crustaceans (Maybe a high allergen) After 1 or 2 years ***recommendations changed– anywhere from 6 months to 12 months

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