And as we mums know, it’s so exciting to see our babies progress and thrive, and embark on each stage of development.
Important to note however, is that there is a difference between weaning a baby from the breast and weaning your baby onto solid foods. Just because your baby has reached the stage of solids, doesn't mean it's time to stop breast or formula feeding.
Everyone is different, so this guide is to help when you naturally reach the stage you want to wean your baby onto solids:
1. Look out for signs they’re ready
If your baby is less satisfied by the end of a milk feed, hungrier than usual, or even cranky after feeding, it might be a sign they’re ready to start weaning. The World Health Organization advises to wait until they're able to sit up, which comes at around six months. Around this time, the WHO suggests gradually introducing solids, while continuing to breast or formula feed for two years or beyond.
2. Pick your time wisely
It’s best to hold off on weaning if your little one is sick, run down or teething. Chances are they’ll be more irritable and less open to any sort of change to their routine. And the same goes for you mum, if you’re feeling particularly stressed, perhaps wait another few weeks, and see how you feel then.
3. Make it happen gradually
Weaning your baby needs to be a slow and gradual process. All babies are different, so letting them take the lead, slowly but surely, can help make the transition much smoother.
4. Give baby lots of cuddles
If your little one is really struggling with weaning, with the decreased milk feeds they’re more than likely missing the comfort they get from being at the breast or the bottle. To make this a little easier, use alternative methods of comforting, like plenty of mama cuddles, back rubbing and holding them close.
5. Alternate milk and solids
Alternate each breast feed with a solid – and depending on how your little one is adapting, alternate more if possible, or less if it feels right. Every baby will wean at a different pace, and as you slowly start the process you’ll begin to recognise what works best for your child.
6. Mix breast milk with solids
A clever way to wean your little one is to supplement a milk feed with purée mixed with breast milk. Your baby will still get the familiar taste of the milk, but will ever so gently be introduced to new flavours too. Try a baby food that’s savoury, and not full of fruit 'fillers', like Babease. This range is founded on the belief that by introducing more veg than fruit into a weaning baby’s diet, they’ll be more likely to acquire a taste for vegetables – possibly even preferring them to sweeter tastes.
7. Accept your emotions
Be kind to yourself during this period – it can be an emotional time for mums, so it’s important to recognise that while we love to see them grow, it’s totally natural to feel a little upset or teary too that your baby is moving onto this next step.
For more advice on weaning, tips and products, pop over to Babease.co.