Weaning is the gradual stop of feeding the baby with breast milk by introducing them to new solid foods. During the introduction of new foods breastfeeding should still continue in order to supplement the new diet. A baby should start feeding at the age of 4 – 6 months, although the recommended age is at six months. It is important to feed the baby at this age because the dietary requirement cannot be met adequately by breast milk and supplementary feeding. In this period, growth monitoring of the baby should also be observed to ensure that the growth of the baby is being monitored. The following factors should be considered while feeding, this includes;
1. New foods should be introduced gradually one at a time – this is so as to give the child time to become familiar with one type of food before moving to introduce another type of food.
2. Start by giving small amounts of foods with the spoon increasing the portions as the responds to the feeding.
3. Do not force the baby foods that they dislike. If they dislike a particular type of food then it should be discontinued.
4. Feed the baby using a cup and a spoon.
5. Ensure that all the feeding equipment have been sterilized properly before using.
6. The first meal should be very soft and continues to be more solid as the baby grows.
7. Once the baby accepts one type of food then give it more frequently so as to make the baby more familiar with it.
8. Feed the baby 30 minutes after breastfeeding.
9. Take note that milk continues to be of importance to the baby since it contains the best source of nutrients. Therefore milk can be taken on foods and also can be used as a drink.
10. Prepare the meals in a hygienic environment, and thus making it free from contamination.
11. During feeding the child should be allowed to handle their feeding equipments so as to involve them in the feeding.
This feeding process is normally very challenging, but is very important for every child. All the above processes explain the factors to consider while giving your child their first meal. Parents should always make sure that the meals are always balanced so as to make sure the baby get all the nutrients proportionally. Even though feeding is being introduced mothers should continue to breast feed their babies until they are old enough to feed properly on their own.