Shirley Yeung, HK BioTek Nutritionist
Weaning is a gradual process. It starts when begin feeding the baby in other ways than breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. It ends when the child no longer breastfeeds or takes a bottle. It is an important step to a baby but sometimes it makes both the parents and babies stressful. Parents may feel confused finding the right time to start the weaning process. Actually, understand more about weaning could make things easier.
First, it is normal that babies start weaning at different time. Every baby is unique and different. There are different approaches to weaning. Some parents would encourage babies to wean by a certain age. It was suggested that it would be fine to do so when babies reach four to six month of age, if parents are ready to experience this process with their babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a new policy statement in 2005 that encourages breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months, and then gradually introducing solid foods while keeping breastfeed for at least six months more till baby reaches age one. It takes time for babies to get familiar with the solid food so the patience and encouragement from parents are important.
Secondly, babies would give you different signs showing they are ready to wean or not. For example, it would not be suitable to introduce solid food to babies until they can sit up and hold up his or her head. Also, when they put toys in his or her mouth more regularly or they become more interested in solid foods, it is about time to start your experience with weaning baby to solids. What’s more, babies cannot chew solids until they have few teeth. Thus, teething is another obvious sign showing your baby is ready to change the diet. When babies give you these signs, it’s about time for you to prepare the first solid food for your child.