Navigating the Weaning Journey without Guilt.
Weaning is a topic that brings mixed emotions. It’s a milestone in your little one’s life that may come with a whirlwind of feelings and a rollercoaster of emotions. You are moving on to the next chapter.
Weaning is a natural part of your child’s development. It’s a step towards independence and exploring new horizons. So, take a deep breath and embrace this journey with an open mind and a heart full of love…(a dog to clean up all the mess is a bonus!)
Trust Your Instincts! When it comes to weaning, trust your instincts and listen to your child. Every child is unique, and they’ll let you know when they’re ready to take those first steps toward solid foods. Pay attention to their cues, their interest in food, and their ability to handle different textures. Remember, you know your child best!
The World Health Organisation recommends that infants start receiving complementary foods at 6 months of age in addition to breast milk. Initially, they should receive complementary foods 2–3 times a day between 6–8 months and increase to 3–4 times daily between 9–11 months and 12–24 months
According to the Australian Breastfeeding Association, when babies are ready for food, they will:
– Have lost the tongue-thrust reflex that pushes food back out of the mouth
– Show good neck and head control
– Be able to sit upright with little support
– Show a great interest in what you are eating, perhaps try to grab your food, although it’s common for babies to put everything in their mouths so this alone doesn’t necessarily show readiness.
Weaning doesn’t happen overnight. A gradual approach will work best for both you and your little one. Start by introducing small tastes of solid food alongside breastfeeding or formula feeding. As the days go by, gradually increase the amount of solid food while reducing the frequency of breastfeeding sessions. This gentle transition can make the process smoother for everyone involved. Always look to minimise stress as much as possible!
As you embark on the weaning journey, celebrate each milestone along the way. Whether it’s the first taste of mashed banana or the successful transition to a sippy cup, each step is a reason to cheer. Embrace the joy and excitement of your child’s growth and development as they embark on this new adventure.
The weaning process can sometimes trigger feelings of guilt, especially if you’re transitioning from breastfeeding. Whether you choose to continue breastfeeding, switch to formula, or introduce solid foods, what matters most is that your child is getting the nutrition they need and you are making the best choices based on your circumstances and preferences….no one elses!
Navigating weaning can be challenging, and it’s a great idea to seek support. Talk to fellow parents who have gone through similar experiences, consult with your pediatrician or a lactation consultant, or join online communities where you can share your concerns and receive guidance. Surrounding yourself with a supportive network can help alleviate any doubts or guilt you may be feeling. The Australian Breastfeeding Association is a fantastic resource. Check out their website for lots of info and links to support services.
Weaning is a journey filled with new tastes, messy adventures, and exciting discoveries. Embrace it with a sense of wonder and joy. Celebrate the milestones, laugh at the mess, and cherish the moments spent exploring food together. This is a precious time in your child’s life and a natural progression in your child’s growth. It should be celebrated rather than feared. Embrace this new chapter, trust your instincts, and most of all, have fun!