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Breastfeeding is a crucial developmental aid to your baby. Breast milk protects your child from allergies, infection, and diabetes. What’s more is that the act of breastfeeding can also work for you. Breastfeeding lowers your risk of developing diabetes, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.
Now that you have breastfed for months and your baby has grown older and stronger, you will have to start the process called weaning. Weaning is the stage when you need to slowly replace breast milk or formula with solid food.
Babies naturally reach out for food when they are about six months old. The World Health Organization (WHO) encourages mothers to start weaning at this age. When the baby reaches the age of six months, the nutrients from breast milk is no longer sufficient to sustain an infant’s mental and physical growth and development. For instance, iron will turn into a critical nutrient that’s needed for your baby to grow properly.
There are signs which indicate that the infant is finally ready for solid foods. One, he can hold his head up without any help. Two, he can sit well when his back is supported. This means that the baby has learned to adapt to the confines of the high chair. Three, the baby can make chewing motions or has learned to efficiently swallow. The fact that your baby drools less is a strong indicator that he has learned to facilitate the swallowing reflex. Four, the baby displays curiosity towards what other people eat. Lastly, the most important indicator of a wean-ready baby is the noticeable weight gain. He is at the stage when he weighs approximately twice his birth weight.
Introducing Solid Foods to Your Baby
If you decide to wean your baby before he reaches six months, talk to your pediatrician first. Consulting with a health care professional is critical if you are planning to wean a baby who is born prematurely. He may have acid reflux that can be exacerbated by the introduction of solid foods.
Also read: Vegan Cooking Made Easy