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Weaning and Introducing Solids to Your Baby

Posted on June 15 2020

Gradually letting your child try a wide variety of different foods helps him/her have a broader palate in future.

 

Introduce your child to a wide array of age-appropriate solids, while slowly weaning your baby off breast milk.

After breastfeeding your baby for the first six months, you can start gradually weaning him/her and starting him/her on solids, so they can get vitamins and minerals not found in breastmilk.

 

For example, babies need to replenish their iron stores at around this time. Great sources of iron include beef, pork, lamb, veal, chicken, turkey, beans and other legumes. Shred or mince these, mixed with water, vegetables or breast milk to make sure they're soft enough for your baby to eat. For maximum absorption, pair this with a vitamin C-rich food.

 

 

Weaning Off Breast Milk

Signs that your child is ready for solids, rather than exclusively breastfeeding, include if he/she has good head and neck control and can sit upright.

 

 

When to Wean

Some indications that your baby is ready for solids is when he/she can sit upright, has good head and neck control, and when he/she shows an interest in food. Examples of these include reaching out for your food, looking at what’s on your plate, and opening his/her mouth when you offer him/her food on a spoon.

 

 

Mother-Led

Do this gradually, both for your baby and yourself. Should you wean your baby off too quickly, you’ll likely experience breast pain and engorgement from the sudden change. Start with reducing the amount of time by a minute or two on that particular feeding. Over the next few days, limit the duration further until the feed is about a minute or two on the last day, then you can eliminate it. Of course, replace the feed with appropriate solids or formula milk so that your baby doesn’t get hungry. Additionally, do substitute the breastfeeding time with other bonding activities such as reading or playing together.

 

 

Baby-Led

Another way to wean your baby is to let him/her decide on when to do this. Some indications that he/she is ready to self-wean include drinking from a cup, and getting most of his/her nutrition from solid foods. Usually, this would be around one year old, or most likely around two years old. Over the course of a few months, he/she will slowly cut down on nursing, a session at a time. Often, they might continue with a nighttime, naptime or morning nursing session.

 

 

Parctial Weaning

Another option you might consider is partial weaning. As you can choose when to feed your baby, perhaps in the morning or at nighttime, this is ideal for mums who are going back to work or have low milk supply. Supplement your baby’s feeds with expressed breast milk or formula milk. Even if the feedings have decreased, your baby can still receive the benefits from breast milk, including boosting his/her resistance to infections and protecting him/her from diseases like Type 1 diabetes.

 

Essentials You'll Need: breast pumps, breastmilk storage bags, bottles, and bottle cleaners

 

 

Introducing Solids - Baby's First Food

Food Safety

Aside from maintaining good hygiene practices, ensure you’re safely introducing food to your children, with the right texture and portions to risk the chances of choking and allergies. Unless you have a family history of food allergies, e.g., milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soybeans or wheat, you can start introducing these foods to your child.

Depending on how you want to feed your child - spoonfed or baby-led, the texture of the food you prepare will vary. For spoon-feeding, children start off with very smooth textures before graduating to chunkier foods.

 

 

Preparing Food

To make preparing your baby’s meals much easier, try the Béaba Babycook Solo.

 

For cereals and mashed cooked grains, mix in breast milk, formula or water to make the consistency smoother. Vegetables and fruits should be soft enough to easily mash with your fingers. Additionally, remove seeds and hard pits from fruit and then cut them into small pieces. Likewise, cut small round food like cherries, berries and grapes into small pieces. When cooking meat, poultry and fish, remove all the fat, skin and bones beforehand. Make sure all food is cut into small pieces or thin slices.

To get the right consistency, prepare your baby’s food in the Béaba Babycook® Solo ($259). Steam cook raw meat, fish, vegetables or fruits, and then blend to your desired consistency. Aside from cooking and blending, the Babycook can also defrost and reheat food portions and small jars. All this can be done in 15 minutes or less, and the audible timer tells you when your meals are ready.

 

 

First Foods

Especially for spoon-feeding your baby, start him/her off with puréed vegetables.

 

Start your little one on a single-ingredient food for several days before introducing another. This way, you can look out for any food-related allergies. Some examples of good first foods are well-cooked and puréed meat, poultry, beans, or vegetables. Others include cooked and ground single-grain or infant cereal, mixed with breastmilk or formula, and mashed banana or avocado.

 

 

Baby Led Weaning

For baby-led weaning, the textures of food should be chunkier, but still cut small enough to minimise the risk of choking. Your baby should be able to grab the food in his/her fist

 

Aside from letting your baby determine when he/she is ready to reduce his/her feeds, this also applies to solid foods. Starting off, seat your baby together with the rest of the family at mealtimes. Let your baby explore food by picking it up by hand, and giving him/her the autonomy of whether to eat the food or not. This also eliminates the need to make “special” baby food - you can just make what the rest of the family eats, but without seasonings.

 

Other benefits include introducing your child to a wide array of foods, which means you’ll always have some of his/her favourites around even when he/she is being fussy. The one disadvantage, though, is that it can be very messy, since your baby has not developed the pincer grip, and can also hold things by grabbing them in his/her fist.

 

 

Knowing Your Baby's Hunger Cues

Whether you choose spoon-feeding or baby-led weaning, it’s best to follow your baby’s cues to understand when he/she is hungry or full. Signs of hunger include opening his/her hands and mouth, reaching for a spoon, pointing to food, getting excited when food is served. By about 10 months, your baby should be able to vocalise what he/she wants, e.g., “baba” for bottle, or point to his/her high chair or his/her mouth.

 

Likewise, when he/she is full, he/she will indicate this too. Some signs include closing his/her mouth and refusing to open it, turning or shaking his/her head, slowing down the speed of eating and pushing food away.

 

 

Essentials You'll Need

With additional newborn and baby accessories, the Stokke Tripp Trapp grows together with your child from newborn all the way to adulthood.

 

To cultivate your child’s interest in food, let him/her sit at the table during meals and explore the various textures and food - even if he/she doesn’t eat any. Of course, for this purpose you’ll need a high chair so he/she can be close to the dining table. One contemporary option is the Stokke® Clikk™ High Chair ($299), suitable for little ones from six months to three years old. This features three easy configurations for optimal back and leg support for children as they grow. Other options that grow together with your child - even until teenhood or adulthood respectively are the Stokke® Steps™ and Stokke® Tripp Trapp™ ($369 for both, up to $459 for the Tripp Trapp).

 

Additionally, you’ll also need bibs to catch as much of the messes as possible, wipes, suction bowls, plates and mats ($18.90 to $39.90) so that little hands can’t accidentally tip them over. In particular, the EZPZ Happy Mat also has toddler-specific portion sizes from 4oz to 10oz (113g to 283g). These are also dishwasher, microwave and oven safe, up to about 177°C. If your child is constantly reaching for the spoon, it might be a sign that he/she is ready to start - although they’re unlikely to be able to master it till they reach 18 months. Let them give it a go with these toddler-friendly spoons from Kushies, Kizingo ($17.90, for left and right-handers), and B.Box ($14.90).

 

Relevant Reads: Baby Food Cooking Hacks for Busy Mums

Gradually letting your child try a wide variety of different foods helps him/her have a broader palate in future.

 

Introduce your child to a wide array of age-appropriate solids, while slowly weaning your baby off breast milk.

After breastfeeding your baby for the first six months, you can start gradually weaning him/her and starting him/her on solids, so they can get vitamins and minerals not found in breastmilk.

For example, babies need to replenish their iron stores at around this time. Great sources of iron include beef, pork, lamb, veal, chicken, turkey, beans and other legumes. Shred or mince these, mixed with water, vegetables or breast milk to make sure they're soft enough for your baby to eat. For maximum absorption, pair this with a vitamin C-rich food.

 

 

Weaning Off Breast Milk

Signs that your child is ready for solids, rather than exclusively breastfeeding, include if he/she has good head and neck control and can sit upright.

 

 

When to Wean

Some indications that your baby is ready for solids is when he/she can sit upright, has good head and neck control, and when he/she shows an interest in food. Examples of these include reaching out for your food, looking at what’s on your plate, and opening his/her mouth when you offer him/her food on a spoon.

 

 

Mother-Led

Do this gradually, both for your baby and yourself. Should you wean your baby off too quickly, you’ll likely experience breast pain and engorgement from the sudden change. Start with reducing the amount of time by a minute or two on that particular feeding. Over the next few days, limit the duration further until the feed is about a minute or two on the last day, then you can eliminate it. Of course, replace the feed with appropriate solids or formula milk so that your baby doesn’t get hungry. Additionally, do substitute the breastfeeding time with other bonding activities such as reading or playing together.

 

 

Baby-Led

Another way to wean your baby is to let him/her decide on when to do this. Some indications that he/she is ready to self-wean include drinking from a cup, and getting most of his/her nutrition from solid foods. Usually, this would be around one year old, or most likely around two years old. Over the course of a few months, he/she will slowly cut down on nursing, a session at a time. Often, they might continue with a nighttime, naptime or morning nursing session.

 

 

Parctial Weaning

Another option you might consider is partial weaning. As you can choose when to feed your baby, perhaps in the morning or at nighttime, this is ideal for mums who are going back to work or have low milk supply. Supplement your baby’s feeds with expressed breast milk or formula milk. Even if the feedings have decreased, your baby can still receive the benefits from breast milk, including boosting his/her resistance to infections and protecting him/her from diseases like Type 1 diabetes.

 

Essentials You'll Need: breast pumps, breastmilk storage bags, bottles, and bottle cleaners

 

 

Introducing Solids - Baby's First Food

Food Safety

Aside from maintaining good hygiene practices, ensure you’re safely introducing food to your children, with the right texture and portions to risk the chances of choking and allergies. Unless you have a family history of food allergies, e.g., milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soybeans or wheat, you can start introducing these foods to your child.

Depending on how you want to feed your child - spoonfed or baby-led, the texture of the food you prepare will vary. For spoon-feeding, children start off with very smooth textures before graduating to chunkier foods.

 

 

Preparing Food

To make preparing your baby’s meals much easier, try the Béaba Babycook Solo.

 

For cereals and mashed cooked grains, mix in breast milk, formula or water to make the consistency smoother. Vegetables and fruits should be soft enough to easily mash with your fingers. Additionally, remove seeds and hard pits from fruit and then cut them into small pieces. Likewise, cut small round food like cherries, berries and grapes into small pieces. When cooking meat, poultry and fish, remove all the fat, skin and bones beforehand. Make sure all food is cut into small pieces or thin slices.

To get the right consistency, prepare your baby’s food in the Béaba Babycook® Solo ($259). Steam cook raw meat, fish, vegetables or fruits, and then blend to your desired consistency. Aside from cooking and blending, the Babycook can also defrost and reheat food portions and small jars. All this can be done in 15 minutes or less, and the audible timer tells you when your meals are ready.

 

 

First Foods

Especially for spoon-feeding your baby, start him/her off with puréed vegetables.

 

Start your little one on a single-ingredient food for several days before introducing another. This way, you can look out for any food-related allergies. Some examples of good first foods are well-cooked and puréed meat, poultry, beans, or vegetables. Others include cooked and ground single-grain or infant cereal, mixed with breastmilk or formula, and mashed banana or avocado.

 

 

Baby Led Weaning

For baby-led weaning, the textures of food should be chunkier, but still cut small enough to minimise the risk of choking. Your baby should be able to grab the food in his/her fist

 

Aside from letting your baby determine when he/she is ready to reduce his/her feeds, this also applies to solid foods. Starting off, seat your baby together with the rest of the family at mealtimes. Let your baby explore food by picking it up by hand, and giving him/her the autonomy of whether to eat the food or not. This also eliminates the need to make “special” baby food - you can just make what the rest of the family eats, but without seasonings.

 

Other benefits include introducing your child to a wide array of foods, which means you’ll always have some of his/her favourites around even when he/she is being fussy. The one disadvantage, though, is that it can be very messy, since your baby has not developed the pincer grip, and can also hold things by grabbing them in his/her fist.

 

 

Knowing Your Baby's Hunger Cues

Whether you choose spoon-feeding or baby-led weaning, it’s best to follow your baby’s cues to understand when he/she is hungry or full. Signs of hunger include opening his/her hands and mouth, reaching for a spoon, pointing to food, getting excited when food is served. By about 10 months, your baby should be able to vocalise what he/she wants, e.g., “baba” for bottle, or point to his/her high chair or his/her mouth.

 

Likewise, when he/she is full, he/she will indicate this too. Some signs include closing his/her mouth and refusing to open it, turning or shaking his/her head, slowing down the speed of eating and pushing food away.

 

 

Essentials You'll Need

With additional newborn and baby accessories, the Stokke Tripp Trapp grows together with your child from newborn all the way to adulthood.

 

To cultivate your child’s interest in food, let him/her sit at the table during meals and explore the various textures and food - even if he/she doesn’t eat any. Of course, for this purpose you’ll need a high chair so he/she can be close to the dining table. One contemporary option is the Stokke® Clikk™ High Chair ($299), suitable for little ones from six months to three years old. This features three easy configurations for optimal back and leg support for children as they grow. Other options that grow together with your child - even until teenhood or adulthood respectively are the Stokke® Steps™ and Stokke® Tripp Trapp™ ($369 for both, up to $459 for the Tripp Trapp).

 

Additionally, you’ll also need bibs to catch as much of the messes as possible, wipes, suction bowls, plates and mats ($18.90 to $39.90) so that little hands can’t accidentally tip them over. In particular, the EZPZ Happy Mat also has toddler-specific portion sizes from 4oz to 10oz (113g to 283g). These are also dishwasher, microwave and oven safe, up to about 177°C. If your child is constantly reaching for the spoon, it might be a sign that he/she is ready to start - although they’re unlikely to be able to master it till they reach 18 months. Let them give it a go with these toddler-friendly spoons from Kushies, Kizingo ($17.90, for left and right-handers), and B.Box ($14.90).

 

Relevant Reads: Baby Food Cooking Hacks for Busy Mums