If you’re a new mom, you may not be familiar with the term. Whether they’re breastfed or bottle-fed, weaning is a process every baby must go through. It’s the practice of replacing breast milk or formula with healthy solid foods and drinks.
How do you know when your little one is really ready to give up formula? It’s important to realize that every baby is different. While some are becoming less interested in bottle-feeding by the age of 1, others have difficulty letting go until much later.
So how can this process remain as stress-free as possible for everyone concerned? Next, we’ll discuss best practices for weaning.
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Weaning is a challenge, but there’s no need to feel nervous. Like everything else, it’ll be a rewarding learning experience for both you and your baby. Just keep the following things in mind:
- Give yourself plenty of time to do it, and practice patience as they may struggle with or resist these changes.
- Your baby’s first birthday is a good starting point. By now, they’re considered ready-to-feed and should be drinking room temperature water from a cup. Monitor their attitude towards formula and/or breast milk to gauge the appropriate time.
- Choose to either go cold turkey or opt for gradually substituting bottle-feeding with grown-up foods and beverages. Signs of readiness include better hand-to-mouth coordination, decreased tongue protrusion reflex, sitting up unassisted, and opening their mouth for the spoon. Avoid choking hazards such as small fruits, raw vegetables, nuts, candy, gum, and whole grapes.
- If the cold turkey method seems harsh, try eliminating bottles one at a time. Instead of three a day, skip their morning bottle and offer a serving of healthy baby food instead. After a couple of weeks, eliminate the second bottle-feeding, and so on.
- Notice that your child’s getting curious about their surroundings? That’s another strong indication they might be open to trying new foods.
- Don’t automatically provide a bottle when your little one’s fussy; instead, assess their specific needs. Begin serving small amounts of water in sippy cups and incorporating fruits and veggies. Though it takes time and effort to help them adopt a healthy diet, you’ll be rewarded with a non-picky eater willing to try anything once.
- Is your baby still turning their nose up at their plate? Visually entice them with fun, colorful, interactive foods at mealtime. Find inspiration from the wide array of tutorials available online.
As long as your 1-year-old’s eating a well-balanced diet of solid foods, they can drink whole cow’s milk, fruit juices, and even smoothies. It’s a tasty way to guarantee they get the necessary vitamins and minerals for development. Whenever possible, however, opt for low or reduced-sugar varieties.
The transition from bottle or breastfeeding to solid foods and beverages is yet another significant milestone in your child’s young life. Remember that all your painstaking efforts will pay off by putting them on the road to health and happiness. And when in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult your pediatrician or other trusted professional.