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Weaning Your Baby – Part 2

When to start?

Around 6 months your child’s nutritional requirements are no longer met by breast milk or formula alone. Introducing solids at this time will ensure that your baby receives all the vitamins and minerals needed for growth and development.

Signs showing readiness:
  • Sitting supported and able to control the neck and head
  • Feeding more frequently
  • No extrusion reflex
  • Opens mouth when food approaches
  • Interested in food eaten by others
What to do?
  • Offer food between meals or after a milk feed
  • Give solids that are smooth in texture, mild in taste with no lumps
  • Give iron fortified cereals which are smooth in texture
  • Offer pureed vegetables (pumpkin, potato, carrots) first before fruit
  • Start with 1 – 2 teaspoons of food and increase quantity gradually
  • Try one new food at a time and wait at least 2-4 days before introducing another new food

Note: Always wash your hands and use clean utensils when preparing baby’s food. Do not add solids to the bottle, baby need to learn that there is a difference between drinking and eating

Around 7 – 8 months

Try and offer baby food that is high in

protein and iron with a thick texture

  • Well cooked meats and poultry
  • Cooked eggs
  • Dried peas, lentils, beans (baked beans, red kidney beans)

Include at least 2 -3 different choices at each meal and offer them separately so that the child may develop food preferences for different tastes

Note: Between 6 – 9 months babies begin to chew even if they have no teeth, therefore the texture of food should change from a smooth puree to a mashed texture and then to minced/finely chopped foods

Around 9 – 10 months

By 9 months the breast milk should gradually decrease and more solids introduced. Start to offer solids before milk feeds as they are the major source of nutrition. Continue to increase the variety of food offered. Water is better than juice, but if juice is offered it must

be diluted 50-50 with water and be given in small amounts. Baby should be encouraged to drink from a cup than the bottle.

When baby start picking things up, start introducing finger foods like:
  • Small pieces of cheese
  • Thin strips of chicken
  • Bread and dry toast
  • Coked pasta
  • Pieces of well cooked fruit and vegetables
  • Pieces of soft raw fruit such as banana

Watch baby while eating to prevent choking

and offer baby meals sitting upright

By 12 months

Encourage independent eating and drinking from a cup and keep offering a variety of foods. It is normal for a child to refuse new unfamiliar foods. New food need to be offered up to 10 times before they become familiar and are accepted. Offer new foods with foods that you know your child likes so that even if they do not like the new food but there will be other choices for the meal.

Drinks for infants up to 12 months old
Breast milk or infant formula milk
  • This should be the main drink during the first year
Follow-on formula
  • This is unsuitable for infants under six months
  • It may be used after 6 months but has no advantage over breast milk or ordinary infant formula milk
Cow’s milk
  • Whole cow’s milk should not be used until after 1 year
Drinks that are not recommended:
  • Baby juices and herbal drinks contain sugar and can damage developing teeth if they are used frequently or given from a bottle
  • Sugary diluting squashes contain sugar and can damage developing teeth
Drinks that should not be given:
  • Colas, lemonades and fizzy drinks including ‘diet’ drinks are acidic and can cause damage to teeth
  • ‘Diet’ drinks are also high in artificial sweeteners which are unsuitable for babies under one year
  • Bottled mineral waters, both still and sparkling may contain high levels of minerals which make them unsuitable for babies less than one year.
  • Goat’s and sheep’s milk lack essential vitamins and minerals needed for babies’ growth and development
Essential ingredients for parents at this time:
  • Patience, lots of patience
  • Feed in a relaxed atmosphere
  • Have protective clothing for the floor and yourself
  • Have a bib for your baby
  • Don’t forget a sense of humour
  • Introduce solids slowly
  • Start with single foods, introduce a new food every 2-4 days
  • Encourage a wide variety of foods
  • Honey should not be introduced before 12 months
  • Be cautious about choking, watch your baby when he is eating
  • Low fat dairy products are not suitable for infants under 2 years of age
By Melissa Pyle, BSc. in Dietetics, Registered Dietician (SA)

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Weaning Your Baby – Part 1

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