If you’ve never had a child before, then the concept and process of weaning will be a new one for you. Even with extensive research, weaning your baby off breastfeeding onto solid food can be an emotional and demanding time. Even if the process is easier than you first expected, it can be a strained transition period for a mother to come to terms with her baby ceasing to breastfeed and growing with solid food.
What is Weaning?
For your newborn baby, you will have breastfed or bottle-fed your infant with your own milk. Weaning is the process of gradually taking your baby away from your breastmilk in order to introduce it to solid food; and then, eventually, replace milk altogether with a varied and healthy diet of solid food as they grow older.
Weaning is a natural process that every baby should go through. While it’s important to pay attention to signs your baby is ready for weaning or go with the flow when it comes to your own feeding schedule, weaning should generally happen at around the six months mark.
You may be faced with a lot of worries when going through the weaning process as a new parent. It’s natural to ask yourself lots of questions or fear more than you should.
Common thoughts and concerns may include:
- What do I do if my baby refuses to eat anything?
- How do I know that they are eating enough food?
- How messy is it going to get?
- What if my baby reacts negatively to feeding times?
- What if I overfeed?
It’s natural to have concerns and thoughts such as these.
To help make the process smoother, here is some general advice to help you and your baby through the weaning process:
- It will be messy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t control the mess. Setting yourself up to protect against mess as much as possible will mean less to deal with. Proactively buying items such as a coverall weaning bib with sleeves, like from Bibado, means you can worry less about fallen food.
- If your baby doesn’t take to solid food for a long time, it doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong as a parent. You may even have friends or family who have positive stories about how easy their weaning experience was, leaving you wondering what you’re doing wrong. However, if your baby doesn’t easily take to solid food, it’s not your fault as a parent.
- You should still provide breastmilk. Although weaning is encouraged at around six months old, that doesn’t mean cutting out breastmilk altogether. You should continue to offer milk aside from solid food up until around 12 months, but you can speak to your medical professional regarding this.
- When in doubt, go for soft options. Great weaning foods to start with are carrots, potatoes, and parsnips. Generally, mashed or pureed fruit and vegetables can provide a healthy diet as well as a soft texture.