Common Myths About Weaning

Babies Can't Eat Food With Lumps Without Teeth. Actually, they can. Babies' gums are strong enough to deal with lumps.

Babies Can't Eat Food With Lumps Without Teeth

Some babies don't get their first tooth until well after their first birthday, but a range of textured foods is absolutely fine for a baby to digest, and should actually be encouraged when weaning.

Babies Shouldn't Play With Their Food

They most definitely should at this stage of exploration! Playing with food is an important part of a baby's discovery of textures and tastes, and also vital for developing physical skills, like the pincer action for picking up things, and the co-ordination needed to put food into their mouths. Research has indicated that sensory play makes infants more likely to choose to eat healthy foods as they grow up. Play, self-discovery and new experiences also encourage a baby to be adventurous and try new things. Yes, it's messy - but so worth it.

Waking At Night Means Your Child Isn't Getting Enough Nutrition

As your self-feeding child learns about volumes of food, she will often get it wrong  but getting it wrong is a natural part of the learning process. So sometimes your little one will under-eat (and may wake in the night feeling hungry) and sometimes she will overeat (and may throw up).

Weaning Will Help Babies Sleep Through The Night

This is a common assumption, but unfortunately it doesn't work, as eating and sleeping are unrelated behaviours. Weaning should not be started in the hope that it will 'cure' any night-time distress or unsettled sleep. Establishing a successful sleep routine can be difficult in the early stages, which differ with each child. If you're worried about your baby's sleep habits or lack of sleep during the night, seek the advice of your doctor or healthcare professional.

Waking At Night Means Your Child Is Hungry

Waking in the night could be due to a developmental spurt and have nothing to do with hunger. Sleep regression is common at eight to nine months, as children learn to crawl, walk and pull up to standing, or when they are teething. You may find your baby standing up in her cot crying, as she hasn't yet learned how to get back down. She may kick or fling her arms around in her sleep as her nerves myelinate and she rehearses her new moves, embedding these actions into her neural pathways.

Babies go through sleep cycles, just like we do as adults, which means that they will go through periods of very light sleep. Most adults wake up briefly throughout the night but it's easy for us to get back to sleep. However, your baby might well be waking up between sleep cycles (about five times a night) and be unable to soothe herself back to sleep (babies can't self-soothe  it's something you need to teach them as they grow up).

So you see, there could be many reasons why your baby is waking up at night that are completely unrelated to food.

My Baby Is Refusing The Breast. Does That Mean She's Ready To Wean?

No, it doesn't necessarily mean your baby is ready to wean. Sometimes babies go on a nursing strike' and suddenly refuse to breastfeed. There can be many causes, such as teething, an ear infection or other illness, the onset of your period, a change in your diet, soap, or even deodorant.

Here Are Some Tips To Encourage Your Baby To Start Breastfeeding Again:

 Make feeding time special and quiet; try to limit distractions. Sometimes, as babies get older, they are more interested in looking at the things happening around them than focusing on nursing.

Cuddle and soothe your baby as much as possible.

 Offer your breast when your baby is very sleepy or just waking up.

 If possible, try using different nursing positions, or alternate sides, or nurse in different rooms.

If you can't figure out the reason for your baby's nursing strike, see your doctor or talk to a lactation consultant. Don't get frustrated or angry. Remember that a nursing strike does not mean your baby is rejecting you.

And if this happens, be sure to pump your milk so you don't develop a blocked duct or get engorged, and also ensure that you continue to produce enough breast milk for when your baby is ready to nurse again.

Early weaning to solids can increase my baby's risk of developing allergies

Delayed weaning has no impact on the development of allergies. Instead, research has proven that it may have the opposite effect. This means that exposing babies to all foods, as early as your paediatrician advises, might be beneficial to preventing allergies.

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