Weaning from breastfeeding to bottle is sometimes a difficult phase, especially if the baby was weaned early (earlier than 4 weeks) or later in life (more than 2 years old). However, if you have successfully completed your quest in bottle-feeding, then you will find that solid food-feeding will come much easier. In weaning, breastfeeding is still best to be given at two times a day to ensure that baby still gets the proper nutrition.
Solid food will give an additional boost to your baby’s energy and health. Now, it’s crazy to give baby solid food when he’s lying down. So you need to consider some factors first. As soon as some teeth appear, then the baby is possibly ready for solid food. Also consider if he is able to sit upright with or without support. And if he can already hold his head (also upright). If you answered yes to all 3, then you may already try giving him solids.
The word “solid” here should not be taken literally. Baby’s first solids should either be runny or mushy. First foods could be an iron-fortified cereal (should always be iron fortified to eliminate the risk of baby contracting early anemia), pureed fruits and vegetables.
Try to feed baby in his least favorite feeding time. If baby will try cereal for the first time, put in some breast milk, water or formula to make the mix runny. This is so baby will adjust gradually to solid food, eliminating the tendency for him to spit it out. If he doesn’t respond to it well, do not put the cereal in a bottle (tempted as I know you may be). Wait for a couple more days before trying again. He’ll eventually find out that it’s not as bad as he first thought it was. Gradually decrease the milk, making the cereal’s texture a little grainy. This is to facilitate baby’s learning to use his teeth and chew.
You can also give him purees like applesauce, bananas or peaches. Avoid strawberries for the time being, as it sometimes causes an allergic reaction in children less than 12 months old, especially if you have a family history of allergies. You can also puree sweet potatoes (but be careful not to over-feed it as it sometimes causes baby’s skin to change color), squash, carrots, zucchini (courgettes), broccoli (take care not to include stems as this may give some babies gas), and asparagus. Potatoes shouldn’t be pureed (as it would only look like glue); mash them with a fork instead.
Introduce new food by using the 4-day rule. Refrain from introducing new food once you’ve started on a new one. Wait for 4 days. This is to check if your baby will develop any allergies or rashes from a particular food. If that happens, discontinue the food immediately. It is recommended to go back to cereal for a day or 2 before introducing new food again.
Breastfeeding is still best for babies up to 2 years, and even beyond that for some. But feeding solids to baby also gives a healthy twist to a bonding experience already initiated by breastfeeding. You not only give baby’s physical needs, but psychological as well. Enjoy the time well spent, preparing and giving him his food, which will cement your mother-baby bonding even more.
Weaning from breastfeeding should be a fulfilling milestone for baby. Find out more about weaning, breastfeeding and the foods baby should have by clicking on these links.