Weaning my baby girl
Hi fellow mums! I'm having quite a new experience with my second child as this never happened with my first child. I started to wean my second baby at 6 months. However, she doesn't seem to like eating, even until now, where she's past 7 months old already. She just closes her mouth when I start to bring the spoon to her mouth; she never opens it. :( How do I make her eat? I'm a bit worried because I know that food is already necessary as milk is not enough for her proper growth and development.
Actually at 7 months of age breastmilk will still give your daughter over 98% of her nutrional requirements as long as your breastfeed her on demand (day and night). The WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life and then introducing solid food from 6 months (when the baby is developmentally ready) and continuing to breastfeed alongside the solid food to two years and beyond.
Throughout the first 12 months of life, milk is the main source of nourishment for babies. One study showed that at 12 months of age a baby who is breastfed on demand can still get over 95% of their requirements from the breastmilk.
Many babies are not ready to start to be weaned until closer to 7 months. A baby should be able to sit unaided and be reaching for food and be able to hold small pieces of food to be developmentally ready for solid food.
I would highly recommend baby led weaning to you. This weaning method is designed by the Health Professional Gill Rapley and an excellent way to introduce breastfed babies to solid food. The mantra is 'food is for fun until they are one'. You simply offer your baby solid food at family mealtimes (from 6 months of age) such as: steamed vegetable sticks, tomatoes, bread with fruit spread, steamed chicken, avocado, banana, cheese etc. It is totally fine is your baby just wants to play with the food and does not seem to swallow the food; it is all about them learning about the feels and textures of the food. Gradually they will begin to eat more as they get closer to 12 months of age.
Many babies do not like being spoon fed as it produces a natural gag reaction in them. It is wonderful to watch a baby feed themselves and to teach them healthy, enjoyable, relaxing food habits from the start.
Please do ask any further questions you have about this here.
I see. Thank you for your reply, I was really enlightened by it. This experience is just new to me because my first born instantly loved eating. My second child doesn't want to be spoon fed, but when she gets a hold of her spoon, she puts it in her mouth. That made me think that she doesn't want to eat.
I'm glad my reply was helpful Mary.
She may just not be quite ready. As I said above, at 7 months babies should still be getting almost all of their nutrients from breastmilk. Also, every child is different. My second son has wanted to be strongly independent from a young age and has refused help from me with putting food in his mouth. This is perfectly fine if you want to follow the baby led weaning approach.
I think you mentioned in another post about considering stopping breastfeeding? Please could I ask why you are thinking this? There are huge health, developmental and emotional benefits to continuing to breastfeed to 2 years of age (and beyond if mum and toddler are happy with this). Indeed, one US Surgeon general said 'it is a lucky child indeed that is breastfed to two years'.
Studies show that toddlers who are breastfed (between ages 1 and 3) have significantly less illnesses and they have illnesses of shorter duration as well as lower mortality rates. This is in part due to the wonderful antibodies contained in breastmilk. Research just this year has also showed the increase in cognitive development in children who are breastfed.
For yourself, continuing to breastfeed reduces your risk of: breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and endometrial cancer.
Please do post back what your thoughts are about all this.