How to Start Weaning Foods

Weaning: is introducing an infantto what will be its adult diet and withdrawing the supply of its mother's milk gradually. It is when your baby stops nursing and start getting all the nutrients from food sources other than breast milk.

When & How to Start Weaning for Babies?
After 6 months of the baby being exclusively on mothers’ milk, weaning food or complementary feeds are gradually introduced as the infant has an increased need for iron, vitamins, energy and proteins. However, doctors recommend that mother’s breastfeed their baby for at least upto 2 years in addition to weaning food.

Type of weaning food:
  • Double boiled rice, potatoes and dal
  • Puree of well-cooked and mashed fruits and vegetables
  • Curd / yoghurt
  • Fresh fruit juice
Growth is rapid in the first year of life but slows down between the ages of 1-6 years. Activities increase markedly during the second year as child is now mobile. By the age of 2 years, teeth have developed and the child can safely consume a better range of food.

How to Stop Breastfeeding?
When deciding how to stop breastfeeding, proceed slowly irrespective of the baby’s age. Experts believe that withholding your breast abruptly can affect both you and your baby. For the baby it can be traumatic whereas for you it could cause plugged ducts or a breast infection.

Instead try any of the methods given below on how to stop breastfeeding gradually:
  • Skip Breastfeeding: Instead of nursing see how your baby reacts after you offer a bottle or cup of milk. As weaning food, you can also give breast milk that is pumped, formula or cow’s milk for children older than a year.  Remember to reduce breastfeeding slowly over a period of weeks. This will allow your child to adjust with the change. It will also be beneficial for you, as your milk supply will slowly diminish this way without leaving your breasts engorged. As you reduce breast feeding slowly increase weaning food
  • Shorten Breastfeeding Time: Limit the time of nursing your child. If your baby is nursing for ten minutes try making it five. Depending on the age of the baby, weaning foods can either be a healthy snack or formula. However, bedtime nursing may be a bit harder to shorten, as it is usually the last to go.
  • Postpone and Distract: Try to postpone breastfeeding if you are nursing only a couple of times during the day. This method workswell with children that are older and can reason with. For instance, if your child asks to nurse, reassure him that you will soon and distract him with a different activity. Instead of breastfeeding early in the evening, you could tell your child to wait until bedtime.
How to Start Weaning Foods for Nutrients
Even infants that are exclusively breastfed need to receive extra nutrients after six months, as breast milk does not provide nutrients like vitamin D and many others.

It is best to have a detailed discussion with a pediatrician on how to start weaning, how to stop breastfeeding and the right type of weaning food to be given to your child. At Columbia Asia Hospital, you will find our health care team for children and infants who will guide you through your concerns skillfully. We have hospitals across India in cities like Bangalore, Ghaziabad, Kolkata, Mysore, Gurugram, Patiala and Pune.

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