MUNDE: Three weaning mistakes to avoid for stress-free baby feeding
Most will likely purse their lips as tight as they can because, who knows if you’re being poisoned?
That’s exactly how a baby feels when a parent, nanny, or other caregiver, tries to force him/her to eat.
Weaning is supposed to be an exciting time for breastfeeding mothers – mostly because their breasts get to relax (but only a little, because although one may not be exclusively breastfeeding anymore, breastmilk should still be a big part of a baby’s diet until the age of two.. yes.)
However, weaning becomes a chore for several mothers because babies may not be too receptive to new tastes.
I’ve written in a previous article, that it can take up to 10 or more exposures to a new food, for a baby to gladly open his/her mouth and accept it.
The frustration when trying to wean pushes some mothers to extreme lengths.
Here are some things that actually work against you if you are trying to get your baby to accept new foods:
1. Hiding the baby’s plate and then sneaking a spoon into your baby’s mouth when they are smiling or laughing. As I’ve said before, weaning is a messy affair, and you need to accept this if you’re going to succeed. Arm yourself with silicone bibs that are easy to clean and use baby aprons to avoid too much mess on your baby’s clothes. If you are a stickler for clean surfaces, free of baby food smears, you’ll need to let a little loose to succeed at the weaning journey
2. Force feeding your baby: this is closely linked to the first point. Some parents put the baby’s plate in their sight, and naturally, they’ll want to touch and explore. Some parents then allow their babies to touch the food and as the baby is exploring the plate, sneak in a spoon of food in the baby’s mouth. This might make your baby start resenting meal times. So try to get your baby excited about the food to willingly open his/her mouth. I’ve heard some parents say that you need to be prepared to spend up to 45 minutes, or more, for baby’s mealtime. Don’t rush it, as this could bring about other bigger problems – like choking
3. Mixing and introducing too many foods at once: weaning is a new experience for your baby, so don’t overwhelm him/her by introducing too many foods at a time. If you’re starting with fruits, pick a fruit or two at first, then if your baby is accepting, go to another fruit after three days and so on. Don’t give pawpaw in the morning, watermelon as a snack, a mango then a pear. One step at a time. As your baby gets older, you can mix two fruits at a time, but go slow.
What other mistakes have you learnt from during the weaning process?
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