Weaning made easy

Parents often find feeding fraught with problems. Some babies are easily weaned while others fight the change. This is an important stage of emotional and behavioural development for your baby and much patience is needed. "Feeding your baby solid food introduces him to a whole new world of taste and texture," say ​doctors from the ​​​​​Department of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine​ at Singapore General Hospital​.​ Your baby will soon discover that good food can come from a bowl or plate as well as from the breast or bottle.

Simple tips for weaning

  1. Let your baby set the pace. If he rejects the food, give him his milk and try weaning again when your baby is less hungry or tired.
  2. It is best to introduce one type of food at a time, as it is easier for you to identify food intolerance. Offer only a small amount of food (about ¼ tsp) and gradually increase the amount over a few meals.
  3. Avoid adding sugar or salt as babies do not have an acquired tast​e for seasoned food at this age. Moreover, the added sodium may overwork your baby's kidneys.
  4. Avoid adding fats such as butter or oil, unless advised by your doctor or dietician, as they are harder to digest by babies.
  5. If you are heating food in a microwave oven, stir the food very well and test the temperature on the back of your hand before giving it to your child.
  6. If your child does n​ot like a certain food, don't force the issue. Try it in another form, which he or she may accept. Parents may be comforted to know that babies have been known to reject the same food up to seven times before finally accepting it.
  7. Don't be fussy about neatness during a meal; there is plenty of time to teach your baby table manners! Meal times should not be an occasion for you and your baby to declare war on each other. It should be a happy event and not something to be dreaded. Every baby is different so don't compare your baby with another. Be patient and turn meal times into fun times that both of you will look forward to.

Prevent choking when weaning

  1. Your baby must be supervised when he or she is eating
  2. Select food of various textures that your baby is able to eat
  3. Avoid nuts, raw carrots, hard sweets and grapes
  4. Ensure a calm environment during meal times
  5. Sit baby in a chair
  6. Practise good hygiene when preparing food
  7. Always wash your hands before handling your baby's food
  8. Separate raw and cooked food
  9. Cook meat thoroughly
  10. When reheating food, always bring it to a full boil
  11. Cover and refrigerate leftovers promptly
  12. Discard unfinished food from your baby's bowl

Ref​: O18