Weaning 101: Preparation and Feeding Methods

Get recommended tips from the experts on ways to prepare for and feed your child solids.

 

WORDS JOANNA ONG

 

Method of preparation

Meave Graham, paediatric registered dietitian, Child Nutrition Singapore recommends that vegetables should be well-cooked and then mashed or pureed (pushed through a sieve or use a blender). Fruits can be mashed or pureed and thinned with water or baby's usual milk to achieve the required consistency. It will be necessary to cook harder fruits first e.g. apple, pear. Prolonged use of purees is not recommended. Aim to move to lumpier foods by eight to 10 months.

 

 

As a guideline of the timeline, parents can also start with thin purees at six months

and from there advance to thick purees, meltable hard solids, soft cubes, single textured soft mechanical,

mixed textured soft mechanical and finally hard mechanical foods,

Dr Rajeev Ramachandran, consultant, Division of General Ambulatory Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine,

National University Hospital suggests.

 

 

By 12 months most babies can eat most foods (diced and soft) that are prepared for family meals.

 

Dr Christelle Tan, specialist in Paediatric Medicine, Raffles Specialist @ Raffles Holland Village also gives some pointers:

  • Ensure that food is always prepared with clean hands and is well-cooked. This is important as infants do not have a strong immunity.
  • For breastfed babies, iron supplementation is recommended as breast milk does not provide adequate iron for the growing child. As such, starting off with a few spoonfuls of iron fortified baby cereal two to three times a day would be a good option. Other iron-rich foods include pureed vegetables like spinach, peas and pureed red meats.
  • Introducing fruits like bananas and papayas can come subsequently as fruits are sweeter and may make it more difficult to introduce vegetables which are blander thereafter.
  • Do not add salt or sugar into foods as this can be harmful to infants.
  • After and in between solid feeds, it is alright to offer some spoonfuls of water as certain foods can be a bit dry.
  • As your child grows older (more than eight months), you can try teething biscuits and crackers for variety.

 

Method of feeding

According to Dr Tan, there are two methods of feeding your child – spoon feeding and baby-led weaning. Each method has its pros and cons and parents can try a mix of methods to see how it fits their child. Spoon feeding allows a controlled variety of food to be given and the volume of feeds to be monitored easily. This is usually done with pureed foods. However, this may require a considerable amount of time.

Baby-led weaning involves presenting small soft finger foods to babies and encouraging them to explore the food before feeding themselves. This allows babies to play with their food and stimulates their fine motor skills in picking up the food pieces and oral motor skills by allowing sucking, licking and biting. However, it can be messy and require effort to clean up thereafter and the amount consumed is difficult to quantify as there may be quite a bit of wastage. 

 

Thanks for sharing!