Useful information on the reasons you may wish to wait until six months to wean your baby.
Weaning is the process of introducing your baby to solids after being totally dependant on breastmilk for her nutritional need for the first six months of life.
After the first few months of life your baby's needs are no longer met entirely by breastmilk. Around the age of six months solid food is introduced. The aim is for your baby, by the age of one year, to be eating a well-balanced, varied diet that is more or less the same as that of the rest of the family. The baby's foods will, however, still need to be chopped.
Baby weaning begins with the introduction of various solid foods, such as baby rice or vegetables. Although we talk about starting a baby on solids, weaning foods are smooth purees not much thicker than milk. To begin with they are given in addition to breastmilk or formula, but gradually babies reduce their milk intake and eat larger amounts of food.
You are the best judge of when it's time to wean, and you do not have to set a deadline unless you and your child are ready to do so. However, the Department of Health now recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months (26 weeks). If you feel your baby needs to start solids before this, do talk to your health visitor. The Department of Health used to recommend that babies were started on solids between the ages of four and six months. Then in May 2003, they issued the following statement: "Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of an infant's life as it provides all the nutrients a baby needs.
There are plenty of good reasons to wait until your baby reaches six months of age. Breast milk and formula milk are easy for your baby to digest and provide all the calories and nutrients your baby needs for healthy growth and development. Also, it is thought that the chances of developing allergies are greatest during infancy, so feeding your baby a diet of breast milk or formula until this time helps reduce the risk of introducing allergens. As your baby's digestive system matures, he or she will be better able to handle different foods without an allergic reaction. Breast or formula milk will continue to be a very important source of nutrition whilst your baby adjusts to a mixed diet and for the first year or so of life.
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