For most parents, the transition from breastfeeding to solid foods is both joyful and unnerving. Especially beginners are sometimes caught in the dilemma of arriving too early or too late. Before transferring a baby to solid foods, experts caution that it’s critical to recognize the baby’s developmental readiness signs.
Dr. Vanshika Gupta Adukia, Pregnancy / Childbirth and Lactation Specialist, Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist, and Founder of Therhappy, helps with these signs of readiness:
1. Keep your head upright and sit upright without support.
2. Able to open their mouths and bend over to eat.
3. Don’t automatically push food out of your mouth with your tongue.
4. Eager to participate in mealtime and also indicate when they are full.
“In the first days of weaning, it is important to remember that solid foods only act as a complementary food and do not replace breast milk (or formula) as the main source of nutrition. Therefore, as the baby grows over time, a feeding of breast milk (or formula) will gradually be eliminated to replace it with solid foods, ”explains Dr. Gupta, who says that by the time the baby is 12 months old, you should be ready for at least 3 solid meals a day with a snack.
Every baby’s introduction of solid foods is different and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to traditional purees or baby-led weaning. The only way to get it right, according to Dr. Gupta, is to choose what works best for the family. “It’s also important to remember that being flexible in one’s approach is often what works best with babies in the long term, so a mixed puree and snack approach could also be considered.”
This is known as the “baby-led puree approach,” according to the expert, who recommends taking the following steps to ensure a smooth transition.
1. The sandwiches can be introduced at any time together with the purees or separately, eventually replacing the purees over time. But remember to offer the introduction of the snacks no later than 9 months to allow the baby to get used to a variety of textures.
2. Let baby lead and set the pace when offering purees. Avoid rushing your baby or pushing him to eat more when he shows no interest. Let them self-regulate their appetite.
3. If offering snacks and purees at the same meal, start with snacks to allow baby a chance to explore and then move on to purees once baby shows signs of less interest in snacks.
4. Consistency is key. You do not need to choose a single method exclusively, but taking a mixed approach could also be beneficial for the baby.
Also Read: Expert Shares Tips on Feeding Picky Little Kids