The dreaded weaning process generally starts around 6 months of age and the challenges faced by mothers in these weaning process are many. In India we generally have some type of ceremony for rice feeding or actually introducing solids to babies. The important aspect of weaning is, it is a slow process and unique for each babies. You can hope and pray the process is easy with little hiccups. The journey of weaning is not lead by you rather by your baby. Baby led process of weaning is an age old process and no rocket science involved. The only important formula for you is to be less stressed and anxious. My experience was not a smooth one but after a guided instruction for her pediatrician I learnt to accept the control is in your baby’s hand and not yours. The duty you have is try to assist and test now and then whether solid food is accepted by your royal prince or princess.
- Buy baby friendly bowl and plate of bright colours. Just a spoon bowl would be enough for now. The BPA free material bowl and plate are great and have great longevity. Moreover, their varied shape attracts the baby.
- Bibs of wide variety are available. From soft cotton ones to the silicone. Some babies enjoy wearing bibs others just hate it. My daughter used to hate anything even cotton muslin tied around her neck. Just fed her with cotton oversize tops with a bright favourite ducky cartoon and the other was an owl. The funny side was whenever she saw these two tops she understood her solid food time is near and squirmed.
- Food is meant to be a mess for a baby of six months and going forward to toddler year. Keep in handy some soft large cotton sheets easily washable. You will be amazed by the mess babies can make with food. In the bowl just place little of the food. After you have finished the quantity you can again fill it if the baby wants.
- Salt should not be introduced till 1 year. It has been medically proved that, it harmful on your baby’s fragile kidney. Do not worry your baby will not even miss it.
- Put in the plate well cooked soft vegetables like carrot, beans, pumpkin cut in cubes, tomatoes better still in their original shape. Steaming in a cooker would be great. Children will love the texture and colour. Only then they can be excited about eating any food.
- For non vegetarian you can try small chicken cubes or mutton.Fish steamed and made soft are also ideal. Please check for the bones in them. You may feel without salt it is bland, you can easily substitute by adding spices like cinnamon,(cumin) jeera powder, garlic paste.
- For feeding on table you can go for the high chairs or the chair boosters. The later one can be easily fitted into the chair by harness. The other old fashioned traditional way to feed the kids is a small fold able table spread on the ground to keep the food . Position your baby straight on your lap and feed. The baby can also touch the food from the bowl to taste.
- Anxiousness of baby refusing solid food is frustrating. You can wait and watch every 2 or 3 days with a different food. It is OK if your baby is not interested in feeding. Milk and juice is sufficient for the baby till around a year.
- Be generous in preparation of various dips and chutneys with myriad tastes. You will be amazed to find children's inclination for finger dipping and tasting it. Remember no salt or chilies.
Lastly be ready with you phone or camera to click some messy yet beautiful moments of the baby feeding themselves. These now harrowing moments you will miss badly in years to come.