A baby who is weaning is becoming accustomed to eating things other than their mother’s milk. Therefore, knowing what meals to feed your baby as he grows is essential.
Weaning often begins when the baby is given their first solid food—this method is also known as “complementary feeding.”
Around six months is the weaning age for infants. Until that point, the baby receives all of his or her nourishment and energy from the mother’s breast milk, fortifying the infant’s immune system and shielding him from infection and disease.
A child’s weaning marks a significant developmental milestone and an important turning point in his growth.
To determine when to wean your baby, it’s best to wait till your baby takes the initiative to consume solid or other liquid foods before praising him.
Continue reading for a detailed weaning baby guide.
What Does It Mean To Wean A Baby In Nigeria?
Weaning introduces different foods and liquids into a baby’s diet instead of breast milk or formula. Choosing when to wean is usually a personal choice.
The impact could be the return to work, the mother’s or child’s health, or simply the feeling that the moment is right. You can wean a baby in Nigeria at six months.
Below are easy ways that you can wean your baby.
9 Steps To Wean A Baby In Nigeria
- Watch Out For Signs Of Readiness
What are the telltale indicators that your little soldier is ready for solids? The following should be possible for your child:
- Keep his head held up straight
- Sit comfortably
- Show interest in the food you’re consuming.
Additionally, your baby’s active tongue-thrust reflex must have vanished or been on the verge of doing so. He or she can also display apathetic or irritable behavior while breastfeeding frequently.
- Set A Schedule
To strategically plan, look at your calendar and select a definite date for when you want to wean. Then, give yourself a whole month to finish weaning successfully after that. This allows you and your child some additional breathing room in case of difficulties or setbacks.
- Settle Into A Routine
You and your baby will be able to acclimate to the transition more quickly if you gradually start a weaning program.
For instance, you might skip one breastfeeding session every week that is likely to be the least convenient for you or the one your baby finds least attractive. Subsequently, reduce feedings until the child uses bottles, cups, or solid foods.
- Let your little One Lead
When they feel in charge, some babies do well with weaning. However, the “tried and true” don’t offer” don’t refuse approach, which entails nursing when your child indicates interest but not initiating it, is the quickest weaning method and guarantees that your baby’s needs are satisfied; it is a good choice if you are okay with allowing your baby make decisions.
- Switch Up Routine
Let dad, grandpa, or another caregiver help with the weaning process. If your baby will not take a bottle from you, La Leche League International suggests trying another caregiver while you are out of the room or switching up the routine if you are giving the bottle.
For example, if you usually nurse in bed, try nursing in the living room, or think about holding the baby differently. Revert your old schedule and try again in a few weeks if something else is needed.
- For Older Babies
The simplest way to avoid having to deal with weaning your baby off the bottle in a few months is to wean her immediately to a cup if she is nine months old or older.
Wear intricate clothing, such as a dress with a zipper down the back or a button-up top if your baby is older than one year old, to aid in her weaning. Limit your baby’s nursing sessions and regularly give her your full attention to soothe her.
- Prevent Engorgement
The risk of engorgement from rapid weaning is another reason to go slowly. Why? Your milk ducts need to get the message that they need to produce less milk.
Moreover, there is nowhere for all that milk. Use cold packs or acetaminophen to relieve pain if you are engorged. Alternatively, use your reliable breast pump. The breastmilk you pump can be given to your child in a bottle or combined with cereal.
- Your Understand Your Emotions
Not just your baby must make adjustments throughout weaning; everyone does. You, too, will experience a flurry of emotions; some mothers want their bodies back, while others feel.
Betrayed when their baby refuses to latch on. It is typical to experience pangs of nostalgia as your kid gets older, even though you may be happy to stop breastfeeding for good.
What is your best option? Weaning is an emotional process, so embrace her independence, be aware of it, and talk to other breastfeeding mothers who can understand.
- Serve Up Nutrition
Most parents begin their baby’s introduction to solid foods with pap or ogi baba. Some additionally provide 4-5 tablespoons of breast milk and one teaspoon of single-grain, iron-fortified baby food, like rice cereal.
You can introduce pureed vegetables, fruits, and meats if they are comfortable eating pap and cereal.
To monitor any allergic reactions, the AAP advises only introducing one new meal at a time and waiting at least 2-3 days before doing so.
For example, your infant might like tiny servings of finely chopped or mashed finger foods after he or she is 9 to 12 months old.
The most typical first food for weaning a newborn in Nigeria is pap, often known locally as Ogi or Akamu.
- Pick The Perfect Time
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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises solely breastfeeding your infant for the first six months of her life before introducing solid foods until she is one year old.
Weaning is ultimately a personal choice that should be made based on what is best for your family. You may be going back to work and need the convenience of bottle feeding.
Whys Is It Important To Wean A Baby?
Baby food consumption from sources other than breast milk is known as weaning. It is a method of enhancing nursing with additional food sources to provide the baby with additional nutrition for growth.
Most medical professionals advise exclusively breastfeeding a newborn until six months old. The interval lasting up to a year is more advantageous for the baby’s nutritional fulfillment.
The World Health Organization advises continuing to nurse a child for two years following delivery. Weaning typically begins concurrently with nursing in most cases so far studied.
Between the ages of one and four, the preparedness of infants for weaning varies. A baby begins to eat a range of foods.
The process starts with sucking the meal before it is gradually consumed. At six months old, babies start feeding themselves, which is a sign of their maturation as people.
At the same age, their internal system develops, preparing them for weaning. Here, only a few variables affect how important weaning is.
- Building Oral Motor Skills
From the time of its birthday until the start of weaning, an infant follows the rhythm of sucking, swallowing, and breathing. The oral motor function involves inhaling milk, swallowing it, and breathing in the suck-swallow-breathe pattern.
The baby learns other oral motor patterns with weaning, such as chewing, lateralizing, and elevating the tongue.
The baby learns how to manage bolus creation and to swallow time through oral motor development. Weaning aids in the development of the infant’s oral motor abilities.
- Digestion System Maturation
According to numerous studies, an infant’s digestive system starts to mature between 4-6 months. Because of this, a baby’s digestive tract can handle solid foods.
In addition, the infant’s digestive system matures during the weaning process and adapts to digest solid foods and breast milk.
An infant’s transition to self-feeding is facilitated by weaning. An infant begins to investigate different foods, tastes, and textures.
Self-feeding enables a baby to choose food on their own, marking the beginning of their development. It supports a child’s motor development, mainly chewing and eye-hand coordination.
- Starting To Crawl
Weaning is beneficial since it allows children to start crawling. In addition, infants learn to chew and develop a preference for a specific flavor through weaning.
Numerous studies concluded that developing this skill encourages a baby to crawl toward mouthwatering food. Weaning, therefore, aids at the beginning of an infant’s prolonged movement.
- Olfactory System Development
Weaning awakens the baby’s olfactory system. The olfactory system begins to combine with other senses and form a sense of flavor as the newborn begins to focus on the smell of the food along with color, texture, and taste during weaning.
As a result, a youngster might learn to identify smells and decide whether to accept or reject a particular food item.
- Develops Independence
Weaning fosters a child’s independence, according to numerous reports. Sometimes the youngster will turn down food that is presented to them but will consume the same meal on their own.
By selecting food based on taste and self-feeding, these examples demonstrate a child’s willingness to use newly developed motor abilities.
The World Health Organization also advises parents to help their infant make the most of its developmental stages.
Weaning involves several principles a parent must follow when considering adding solid foods to a child’s diet. At the beginning of weaning, the parent must make their child sit upright in a high-backed chair during all meals.
This will help the child effectively reduce swallowing and choking. Correct sitting will also support effective oral motor coordination.
Familiar problems parents face a child’s lack of interest in food. In such cases, the parent can develop the child’s interest in food by eating in front of the child. Such behavior will motivate the child to eat the same food.
Weaning is an essential part of infancy, as it begins the child’s overall development, including its physical and mental development.
Nigerian Foods For Weaning Babies
- Banana And Avocados
Fruits are essential for a good life, even in infants. In addition, fruit is a good source of vitamins and minerals.
Fruits like avocados and bananas are excellent for teething babies. Mash the ripe avocado and banana with a fork. You can add a small quantity of heated water to thin it out.
- Green Banana
According to legend, children adore this dish, which can be prepared by grating an unripe banana or mixing a delicious porridge with fish powder.
A dinner of mashed beans is beautiful to look at. It is a good fiber, iron, vitamin B, and vegetable protein source. However, unfortunately, moms in Nigeria also think it makes people taller.
Carefully pick the beans and remove all the seeds before cooking them until they are soft. Next, add the crawfish, onion, salt to taste, spice cubes if you like, and palm oil. All ingredients should be prepared before serving.
- Rice Flakes
Rice is familiar to everyone, and now it has many health benefits. As a good source of protein and a source of vitamins A, C, B1, K, B2, and B6, potassium, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, sodium, and iron, brown rice is extremely rich in nutrients. Not to mention that there is a significant amount of fiber present.
- Yam Porridge
In Nigeria, soft, well-mashed yam porridge is a healthy food for a baby starting to eat solid foods. Food should not accumulate in many peppers because babies and peppers are not the best of friends. Babies love them, whether you prepare them with fish, porridge, or meat.
- Tea And Bread
Tea and bread are included in the process of weaning babies. Tea should not be served hot; it should only be served warm or cold.
The best way to offer the baby is to cut the bread into small pieces or pieces that can be dipped in tea, so take your time.
Since your baby has no teeth and cannot chew, it is essential to remember that the bread must be soaked in the prepared tea to soften it enough for the baby to eat.
The king of all Nigerian weaning baby foods is pap. Millet, Guinea corn, white corn, and yellow corn are used to make pap.
It is straightforward to prepare and make. Pap or ogi is also readily available and affordable. Anyone can prepare this dinner. It is an affordable and healthy baby food in Nigeria. Note that milk may be added. Please avoid sugar.
- Pasta And Eggs
Another Nigerian weaning cuisine that is easy to make and affordable for mothers is noodles.
The noodles should be cooked gently, and the eggs can either be cooked separately and mashed before serving to the baby, or they can be beaten and added to the noodles while cooking. It would be best to ground each ingredient because toothless babies cannot chew it.
Baby weaning is a highly challenging and time-consuming process. Although they might not immediately embrace it, the newborns eventually learn to accept it.
The Nigerian foods above will keep your baby nourished and healthy when they wean.