A mother’s body adapts itself to provide nutritious breast milk when a baby is born. Breast milk is essential for a baby to grow and have a healthy life in their nascent days. While breast milk is important for the baby, in the long run, it may not be enough to sustain their growth. Hence, gradually shifting your baby from breast milk to solid food becomes vital. The process of making the baby move from breast milk to solid foods is known as weaning. But just knowing the term isn’t enough. Questions such as what is the importance of weaning
Weaning is carried out in the first year of the baby’s life so that they are introduced to solid food. While initiating the process of weaning, the parent must ensure that it isn’t forced and that the baby gradually moves on to eating solid foods. The most recommended way to carry it out is to include a mix of breast milk or formula milk and solid food with different tastes and textures. The benefits and importance of weaning are:
- The baby becomes more self dependent: Allowing the baby to choose what they want to eat after developing a taste for it allows them to be more independent. They know the texture and taste of the food that they like and will reach out to that food more often. This is a better approach than forcing food later on to a baby only for them to spit it out and cause a mess.
- A balanced diet: When a baby is introduced to food apart from breast milk, they have a variety of options to choose from. This gives that baby a chance to boost their intake of wholesome food that is rich in nutrients required for growth and development. With a reduction in the dependency for breast milk, the baby’s diet can include food rich in iron, minerals and vitamins.
- Building a baby’s developmental skills: While eating solid foods, babies start to learn coordination between their tongue, lips and jaw movements. Such coordination contributes towards speech development. Eating solid foods also aids in learning to chew and swallow that reduces gag reflexes.