Every family’s journey is unique when it comes to introducing solid foods and weaning. Nutritionist and mom, Peggy K, shares her own experience with her son Christian. Read on to get some tips that may also work for your family!
Written By Peggy Kotsopoulos. Peggy is a Manhattan-based, Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Culinary Consultant focused on teaching real health through lifestyle and dietary choices that are easy and delicious!
Weaning can be an extremely emotional journey, both for the baby and mom. The AAP suggests that we exclusively breastfeed up until 12 months of age and introduce solids at 6 months of age. While this seems great in theory, it’s not always realistic.
I did breastfeed my son up until he was a year old, but it was around the 6-month mark that I started looking for other options. Sometimes (many times), us moms need a break! Many factors come into play when it comes time to wean, and everyone is different. Here are some tips to help along the way:
Don’t rush it! Weaning is something to be negotiated between you and your baby. Do not let other people or factors influence you. It’s not something that can be rushed for you or your child. Do what is best for you and your baby, and you need to be ready. I find the best way to start weaning is to drop one feeding at a time. Start with the one you like the least. It could be the first feeding of the morning, or the one mid-day when you may have other things that demand your attention.
Only drop one feeding a week at a time. Once the first feeding is cut and you and your babe are good without it, then move on to the next. Taking your time is better for you, for your boobs and your baby!
If the baby is less than a year old, you still need to supplement those cut feedings with formula or stored breast milk. I never had a freezer filled with breast milk. I barely had enough for scheduled feedings. Plus, I felt pumping was so soul-sucking and would only get an ounce or two at best. So I needed a gentle, yet nutrient dense formula. I also believe it’s essential to supplement with a toddler formula if you wean after the one year mark to ensure your toddler is getting optimal nourishment.
Yes, they are eating solids at this point, but it’s tricky to get all the vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins required for optimal development. Especially with an active (and perhaps picky) toddler, which is why I love Kabrita Goat Milk Formula. Kabrita is an excellent alternative to cow’s milk when it comes time to supplement breastfeeds and weaning your baby. The goat milk is much easier to digest than cow milk, plus it’s formulated to match breastmilk as closely as possible to ensure your little one is getting the best nutrition possible.
Offer soft, gentle foods in between milk feedings. Introducing solids can be a fun and exciting time. Getting a chance to see your baby try new foods, tastes and textures for the very first time. Or, it can be extremely stressful! My experience began with the later. I introduced purees as early as 4-5 months per my pediatrician’s direction, and my son hated everything pureed, from pears to sweet potato. He hated everything but I kept trying, and he kept rejecting. As a nutritionist, I was mortified.
Until around 6 months I gave up and started baby-led weaning, which was an entirely different ball game. He loved eating! I would cut up slices of avocado for him to pick up, grab and squeeze between his hands, and eventually make its way into his mouth. Ripe, soft fruits, such as pears, strawberries, bananas, baked sweet potato, scrambled eggs, steamed carrots, puffs – he loved anything he could pick up with his hands and chew on between his gums.
Some babies are the opposite. They prefer purees. Find out what works for you and your baby, and be patient. They will let you know when they are ready and you will quickly find out what works and doesn’t work. Also, introduce one new food at a time and wait 3-4 days before adding new foods to determine if there are any sensitivities. If they don’t like something, don’t give up. It could take 3 weeks to develop a palate for something or reintroduce at a later date. Take your time, be patient and enjoy the process!
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*Not suitable for cow milk protein allergy