What is Weaning?
Weaning means introducing solid foods to your baby, sometimes called complementary feeding or weaning, which should start when your baby is around 6 months old. We started around 5.5 months as my baby showed all signs of it and our doctor recommended it as well. In the beginning, how much your baby eats is not important.
Them understanding the process of eating is Weaning.
How many types of weaning?
There are two ways of weaning
1. Traditional weaning
2. Baby led weaning (BLW)
Traditional Weaning means
Traditional weaning is where a baby is given purée food and fed by the caregiver.
Baby led weaning (BLW)
Baby led weaning (BLW) is where the baby eats by themselves (age-appropriate food).
What weaning should you go for?
We chose baby led weaning, as there are many benefits, the choice is completely based on you and your family, do whatever suits, sharing some pointers which we considered.
1. Solids should be offered once the baby shows signs of readiness, (has lost tongue thrust, steady head, sitting up and eagerness to eat), 6 months is recommended
2. Gagging and choking can happen, learn about them (To avoid unnecessary panic)
3. Babies even without teeth can chew well (purée isn’t mandatory, too much liquid food should be avoided)
4. Breastfeeding or formula is the main source of nutrition till 1 year.
5. Never force-feed the child, let them decide the quantity
6. Minimize intake of sugar and salt
7. Check for allergies (as suggested by a care provider)
8. PATIENCE, for it, can get messy.
The basic idea was to encourage him to eat by himself and enjoy the process of eating. Also, develop motor skills and pincer grip. But there are times when I feed him, but it is responsive feed only.
How to cook when you are trying Baby Led Weaning (BLW)?
In the initial days, I did mash the food with a hand masher for about 7-10 days. When I saw he had no problem eating it, I started hand-mashing the food. Never used a mixer to purée the food.
I introduced to him absolutely whatever we ate excluding sugar, salt, chillis, store-bought garam masala powder, and certain spices.
Would cook in unsalted butter, olive oil, ghee or mustard oil.
Introduced one food at a time in the first half of the day and checked for allergies.
We would all eat together, hence it encouraged him more to eat by himself. I started with vegetables first, Fruits were given after a month of eating vegetables.
Started giving non-veg food when he turned 8 months (again, all same as what we cook at home and how we eat)
What food to offer when you are starting Weaning?
I try to give him balanced food and as much variety as possible, minimum repetition, 2-3 vegetables and 2 fruits per day, which also helped in having no constipation ever, also another thing to keep in mind while introducing solid.
Let me know if I am forgetting something about BLW.
Advantages of Baby Led Weaning (BLW):
I will be mentioning the merits of BLW, now that baby N is 13 months old and a happy eater.
In the initial days, I once read this which made sense to me and got me working towards BLW “Imagine someone making you sit and just putting mashed food in your mouth. Will it be fun for you?”
I am no expert and a new mom, absolutely no problem if you do it as a parent, I am just sharing what I understand from BLW and its merit basis my experience.
1. Babies control over food is better, they know when to stop eating and later they don’t overeat, they have a positive relationship with food and mealtimes aren’t torture for either him or their parent.
2. It’s an excellent sensory play, the entire process of touch, feeling food textures and trying to eat (like what we do as adults)
3. Because they are engaged in touching and feeling food, you don’t need extra entertainment (screen, singing, running around)
4. They are involved in the entire activity of eating, making them look forward to that activity.
5. It’s a very good bonding time, the entire family eats together and neither needs to eat alone.
6. You are giving them a sense of control, and they feel appreciated, and in return have a higher sense of confidence in the long run.
7. Last, some research has proved that if you follow the BLW path, your baby will be a less fussy eater, and eventually everyone eats by themselves, so the sooner the better.
Tell me if your parents think that what I have written makes sense?
Components of a balanced meal:
Baby N eats exactly what we eat, except chillies and certain ready-made spices.
He occasionally gets special treats like halwa, banana cakes, pancakes but no meal is cooked separately for him. Just tweaks made here and there. Different things aren’t made for him, as in our household we eat a lot of variety and I want him to be exposed to different kinds of food that we all can eat together.
I have a rule, we as a family should consume 3 vegetables, 2 fruits. At least two meals must have protein sources and carbohydrates sources per day. That’s how we can make it a balanced diet. So, baby N also follows it, of course, he gets more carbohydrates and fats as compared to us.
The quantity is decided by him, we just offer and see, if he would like more or less!
For Water, he has few cups kept at reachable places, which he can grab and have a drink, otherwise, we do offer post meals.
Meal plan for an 18month old baby (we still follow it, quantity is adjusted)
So here it goes
7:30- few Makana/ puff-rice/mathri
8:30- breakfast (poha, and 2 fruit) or (chilla &2 fruits)
11:00 banana/ fruit /rice puff/ cheese/paneer cubes/sauté vegetables
1:30- lunch (rice, dal, sabji) or (paratha and chicken) or (vegetable pasta)
5:00 -milk 1/2 cup/raisins/rice cakes/piece of toast /coconut laddu/homemade poha chivda
7:30- dinner (bhindi, curd rice) or (Dalia veg khichadi and chicken) or (rice with sabji)
He gets a couple of French fries /garlic bread/ a bite or two of cake / a spoon of ice cream over the weekends.
We are trying to make him love food! And Feel the joy of eating.
The next post will be nutrient-dense meals.