Weaning From Breastfeeding – Tips on Feeding Solids
Society dictates that a baby’s weaning from breastfeeding should be done at an early age. Sometimes though, the pressure on the mother is such that breastfeeding weaning and eating are being done at an early age even though the baby isn’t fully ready yet. This is the reason why we should be guided instead by baby's readiness when deciding when to wean.
When we say weaning, what usually comes to mind is the gradual transition from breastfeeding to solids. In reality though, that is not the case. The transition from breastfeeding to bottle is also considered weaning; so is the change from breast milk to formula milk. The moment you give your baby something, anything other than breast milk, then that is already considered weaning.
Most mothers feel guilty when it comes to weaning, especially when they think of the benefits of mother’s breast milk. True, breast milk is still best for babies; no brand of formula could ever replace that. But eventually, either due to baby's readiness, or a mother's busy schedule, breastfeeding stops.
Now, if baby is ready for solid food, you must expect a messy face and a tornado-hit kitchen. Your baby is just now learning about texture and taste; so he would do everything in his power to try and feel his food, and even play with it.
Hence, here are some ways to lessen the “damage”:
Spread drop cloths and newspapers on the floor.
After you’ve prepared the food, you can now prepare your floor. While baby’s food throwing abilities should be no cause for alarm and concern, cleanup right after may put a little stress on you. So to make cleaning easier, have newspapers on the floor so that you can just pick them up and throw it away once they get food on them.
Make your baby sit on a high or low chair.
Use a chair with a safety strap on it and with enough leg room for him to move. “Low” chairs with a small table accompanying them are also available for those who would like to keep their baby close to the ground and avoid falls. Another upside to low chairs is, if you baby throws food on the floor, the trajectory will not be as far as if baby were in a high chair. If you have other kids, make sure they avoid playing near the chair, especially if it’s high – this is to eliminate the possibility of baby-and-chair falling to the ground.
Give him a spoon. Babies love to explore using their hands. Encourage the development of motor skills by giving him a spoon with a rubber tip. He would eventually imitate you and try to feed himself using the spoon he’s holding.
Give him a cup instead of a bottle. Giving him his milk or water during mealtimes via a cup would help to wean him from bottle-feeding.
If your baby isn't ready to try solids, don’t pressure him into eating it. Wait for a couple of days or a week, make a new batch and try again. It takes some time, but he’ll eventually get the picture.
When he’s already full, he will push your hand away or stick out his tongue. If he leans far, far away from you, take that as a sign of a full tummy.
Weaning baby to solids can be stressful but is also a lot of fun. With a little of your time, patience and effort, he’ll soon learn how to appreciate solid food– a crucial milestone in your baby's life. In the meantime, enjoy “weaning” time and see your baby develop to his full potential.