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Myths and truths about weaning

Baby Care By Dr Ombeva Malande

WeaningWe recently discussed the process of weaning, and how best it should be done.

Today I will address myths about weaning.

Weaning should be enjoyable and feasible for parents.

While child experts recommend exclusively breastfeeding until six months, most experts recognise that many babies show signs they are ready for weaning at an earlier age.

Breastfeeding exclusively for six months gives your baby a good start in life. If there is a family history of eczema, hay fever or asthma, it is best to try to breastfeed exclusively for six months and delay the introduction of solids. Sometimes, when no longer satisfied with breast milk, a baby may need solids at around five months, and may wake during the night when hungry. In some babies, the doctor may recommend some iron-rich foods even before six months.

Some moms incorrectly use healthy eating guidelines for adults to feed the baby.

Babies are not small adults, and while a low-fat, high-fibre diet is good for adults, it is not suitable for babies.

Infants need high fat and calorie diet for rapid growth. Fibre tends to be bulky, may quickly fill up the baby and can cause diarrhoea. It is not wrong to give fruits and vegetables to babies either. On the contrary, after the first few weeks of weaning, make sure that low acidic content fruit and vegetable purées and high calorie foods comprise your baby’s diet.

It is equally incorrect the notion that you should only give formula milk as diet supplement for your baby’s first year of life.

Other food types and cow’s milk can safely be used beyond six months. Some moms have been incorrectly advised against giving eggs to their babies.

Though eggs may be allergenic, blanket dismissal of eggs for kids is incorrect.

When an egg-containing meal causes allergy, the effect is immediate, causing a reaction, which then would mean the baby stays away from eggs for a while.

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