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What do I need to know about weaning?

The process of weaning is one that will require a lot of patience, and it’s important to pick a time of day where both you and your baby are relaxed. This will allow you to deal with any issues that may arise with as little stress as possible.It is generally recommended that you wait until your baby is approximately six months old before you begin to wean them. It is safer to wait until they are this age as it is less likely your baby will pick up an infection or will have a reaction to any food as both the digestive and immune systems are stronger and more mature. It is important to remember that the recommended age of six months is only a guideline and the decision of when to begin weaning is a very personal choice. It is imperative that you decide the best time for you and your baby.
 
Weaning can be an emotional time for you and your baby as it is a sign your baby is all too quickly growing up. It is, however, an essential milestone in your baby’s life and will ensure their healthy growth and development.Weaning your baby is a slow process, which begins with just one or two spoons and will eventually build up to three solid meals a day over a course of many weeks. The speed with which your baby adjusts can vary; some babies may take to it straight away while others need more time to get used to new tastes and textures.
 
First foods should be easy to digest and unlikely to be a source of allergens. Prepare purées as a first food as their smooth texture is ideal to help babies grow accustomed to food. Vegetables like carrots, sweet potato, and butternut squash are wonderful first foods as they have a naturally sweet taste which babies like. They are also a great source of beta-carotene which promotes growth and helps prevent infection. First foods should be well puréed or mashed. Apple, pear, mango, and banana make great first fruit purées and you can even combine them for more flavour. Baby rice is also ideal for a gentle start to weaning due to its naturally milky texture and it’s also easily digested. Be sure to allow all cooked foods to cool before feeding your baby; stir them well and test them to make sure they are alright.
 
Start by offering them one or two spoonfuls at feeding time,either before or after their milk is fine. Be ready for your baby to reject or spit out the food, as it is a natural reflex and this food is entirely new to them. If they do reject it, it’s a good idea to mix the food with some of their milk and try again.These solids are entirely new to baby so be patient. If you are struggling to wean your baby then it could also be that the time is just not right. This is especially true if your baby has been sick or if there has been upheaval in your lifestyle or household that they may be adjusting to. In such cases, it's probably best to wait a week or two and try again.
 
Allow your baby to gradually become used to solids before allowing the texture to become less smooth. This encourages baby to start working at the food with their mouth until they eventually start chewing (or gumming) it properly.
When your baby is chewing happily you can start varying and increasing the amount of food they take in, until they are finally eating solids three times a day.

More questions

Fibre is important in your baby's diet but should only be present in small amounts as it can prevent the absorbtion of important minerals.
Fat is a vital source of energy for your growing baby.
Gluten is contained in foods such as wheat, rye, barley, and oats which are alll good sources of iron and fibre.
Honey should never be given to a baby under 12 months due to the risk of botulism poisoning.
There are lots of wonderful first foods for your baby to try including puréed vegetables, fruit, and baby cereals. 
There are lots of great ways to easily prepare and cook food for your baby.
A good breakfast is vital to ensure your baby is getting the best start to the day. 
In the beginning you should only feed your baby a spoon or two of solid food a day. This will gradually build up over a period of a weeks until they are enjoying three meals a day.
It is essential that you provide your baby with a well balanced and nutritious diet. There is a wonderful variety of foods to choose from.
If you're having problems weaning your baby it may be that they just aren't ready. Take a week or two to resume milk feedings and try again. 

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