A Guide to baby-led weaning - How to start Baby-led weaning
Hey there, Star Parents! How are you faring on your beautiful, challenging, and (often) messy journey that is parenthood?
Today, we're diving into the topic of weaning your little one. So, grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and let's get into how to cross this important milestone in a baby's life.
What's Weaning Anyway?
First things first, let's clear the air on what weaning really is. Weaning is that magical moment when your baby moves from breastfeeding to exploring solid foods. Anyone who’s been through it will tell you - it’s a journey full of surprises, tantrums, and most importantly - messes. This is a part of the journey where your patience will be put to the test. The goal is to win with understanding!
Timing Is Everything!
Deciding when to wean is an entirely subjective process, unique to you and your baby.
It could be influenced by your return to work, either of your health, or simply that feeling that the time is written. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it’s best to rely on only breastfeeding for the first six months, then shift to a mix of solid foods and breast milk until your little one hits the one-year mark. After that, they may dance with the idea of whole cow's milk.
What we’re trying to say is, weaning is a process that should happen in your own time.
There are countless moms who wait till the baby’s first birthday to start Baby-led weaning.
The World Health Organization (WHO) even recommends breastfeeding for the first two years. The name of the game is flexibility - don’t feel the need to rush yourself or your baby.
Let's Talk Signs: Is Your Baby Ready?
It is often the case that mommies start getting hints from babies that it’s time to give them a taste of the world of solids. If your tot is starting to show signs of wanting to venture into weaning, you need to be ready to pick up on their hints and give them what they need!
Watch out for these telltale signs:
- Disinterest or fussiness while nursing: If your baby seems more interested in the wallpaper than the breast, they might be ready.
- Shorter nursing sessions: If they only stick to the nipple for shorter periods of time, it might be time to try solids.
- Easily distracted: if they’re easily distracted and won’t settle down for breastfeeding, that’s another sign.
- Playing at the breast: Babies can be a handful. If they start biting, it's a signal to take a break.
Weaning with Grace and Ease
Weaning doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing deal. Take it slow and let it flow. One way is to drop one feeding session a week so your child can slowly and easily get used to the feel of the cup. It can be a good idea to start with midday feeding because it is typically the smallest and easiest to say goodbye to. Contrarily, the bedtime feed serves as a soothing lullaby for both you and your infant, therefore many mothers choose to savour it a little bit longer.
Some parents allow their kids to take the initiative. They may naturally stop breastfeeding after they're eating three substantial meals and snacks each day. If that happens, you'll need to pump to maintain your milk supply because it can stop naturally. Just make sure they're drinking enough milk or formula supplemented with iron, and always follow up with the doctor.
Ways To Make It Easier
Keep in mind that weaning is simpler if your infant enjoys milk from other sources. So, once breastfeeding is well-established, mix in a few Feeding Bottles of breast milk here and there. The eating frenzy might be joined by other family members, and you receive a well-earned rest.
Oh, and don't overlook the delectable solid stuff! Breast milk is not a complete meal after one year. It's time for a culinary journey.
Here are some tips to make this transition go as smooth as possible for both mommy and baby:
- Swap nursing time for fun activities or outings.
- Change up your usual nursing spots and attire.
- If your little one is adjusting to other changes, consider delaying weaning.
- For younger babies, introduce bottles or cups during typical nursing times.
- Shake up your daily routine to keep busy during breastfeeding times.
- Enlist your partner for some distraction duty.
- If your baby picks up a comforting habit, let them roll with it.
In the end, remember that weaning is a journey, not a race. Be patient with yourself and your baby. Cherish those moments and celebrate each small step. You've got this, Super Parents! And if you want to make weaning a little more mess-free and give your tot a chance to explore by themselves - try one of StarKiddo’s premium Bamboo weaning plates. With an anti-flip suction base that always keeps the plate right side up, it’s every mess-free mommy’s favourite meal time addition!