Importance of the process of weaning
Weaning is an important process that all babies need to go through in order to develop healthily and properly. Weaning is important because if babies are not introduced to solid foods they will not be getting the right amount of nutrients that they need to grow and develop normally. After 4 months babies begin to need more nutrients than they can get from drinking milk alone. Squire G, 2007, states that weaning ‘is needed because the milk diet cannot sustain some of the nutritional needs of the growing baby.’ Ref This is because babies grow and develop at a very fast rate at this time and need a constant supply of energy that cannot be found in the nutrients that are just supplied by their milk intake. It is important to start the weaning process slowly as babies stomachs are not developed properly and will not be able to take large quantities of solid foods and they will become ill.
The first stage in the process of weaning is giving the baby pureed food. It is important that this stage is followed very carefully as if any lumps are introduced at this early stage the baby may not like the sudden change in texture and will be put off from trying new foods and could potentially end up with an eating disorder. It is also important not to introduce lumps too early in the weaning process as the baby may choke on the lumps. The next stage f weaning is the gradual introduction of small lumps into the pureed food that is being given. It is very important that this stage is taken very slowly and to the babies own preference and pace. If lumps are introduced too fast the baby may reject the food as they do not like the texture. The size of the lumps should be gradually built up according to how the baby copes with the initial lumps that are introduced.
The final stage of weaning is introducing finger foods and foods that have been cut up into small pieces such as banana cut into small chunks for the baby to chew on. It is important that this stage is followed correctly as if a baby is given pieces of food that are too big they may choke on the food they are given. To ensure that the weaning process goes well when weaning a young baby it is important to follow the stages correctly and move at the babies pace to make sure that they are not put off by food and trying different flavours and textures.