Thursday, 28 April 2016

Are you giving the right weaning food for your little one? (it's worth reading, parents!)

Hello parents or parents-to-be!
Is your little one touching 6-month old? Or he/she is now 6-months old and above?
Ever since internet has being so advanced and convenient, GOOGLE has been always the most common tool or source to clear your doubts and answer your questions.
I'm sure you did your homework too, lovely parents.
However, there's always misinformation passing around the searching engines that may mislead you and causing irreversible impacts in life.
Weaning diet, is one of them. 

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As parents, I'm sure you want to give your boy or girl the best, especially the best food and nutrients for their growth and development. 
And, I'm pretty sure you've already exposed to a lot of "I heard" , "they said", "the website says", "my friends said" and "my mom/mother-in-law thought".
But, have you ever thought of asking an expert?
Food expert in health should be Dietitian or Nutritionist, preferably those with clinical experience. 


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I was thankful to attend a health talk organized by Kangaroo Club Breastfeeding Support Group from Penang Adventist Hospital , it was about “Right Principles of Healthy Weaning" presented by their Manager of Dietetic Department, Ms. Helen Wong.
Here I am to summarize some important points for you to prepare your child the best nutrients!

Breast milk contains a high concentration of antibodies needed to fight the complications that may arise from premature birth.
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During first 6 months, the best food to give is mom's breast milk, have been strongly proven with lots of benefits for mothers and babies. (WHO recommendations on exclusive breastfeeding)
Then, you may ask:
Since breast milk is the best, why don't we continue breastfeeding?
It's because certain nutrients storage in baby's body, for example iron, starts to run out as babies grow.
Hence, on top of breast milk, we need to INTRODUCE new food to compensate the nutrients depletion.
So, when would be the right time to start weaning?
Commonly, mothers start to give weaning diet at 6th-month.
But to be precise, there're signs for you to make sure baby's ready.

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What if babies don't show these signs but touch 6th-month? 
DON'T START, DON'T FORCE, DON'T RUSH! 
Your baby's body development is not ready now.
Just be patient and observe their progression.
Things happen effectively only when the timing is right, same applies to our body.

pompom highchair
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Golden rules when you start weaning diet with your little one:
1. Always stay with baby
2. Let baby sit on a high chair
3. Safety always comes first
4. Be patient, acceptance of new food could require up to 10-15 trials. 
5. May repeat the rejected food in a week time.
6. Sieve every food for the first 3 months. 
7. Introduce 1 new food each time and change another type after 3 days (if baby accepts well)
8. Give only 1 attempt a day, 1-2 baby spoons per trial. DON'T BE GREEDY!
9. Do not add any seasoning
10. Start with most bland/tasteless food.

So, what should you give for babies' FIRST weaning diet?
How to cook porridge
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A) SIEVED white rice porridge (non-wheat cereal). 
Porridge can be kept in refrigerator for next day and heat up by steaming.
Remember NO SEASONING, NO SPICES, NO OTHER INGREDIENTS.
If want to enhance the taste, add ONLY BREAST MILK.
After sieved white rice porridge, you could also try the following foods:
(remember, 1 food at a time)

porridge
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B) Cooked INSTANT oats: 
Soak with hot water until ready, then cook again until soft, then SIEVE.
DO NOT GIVE YOUR BABY ROLLED OATS!
Your baby's gut is not ready for that yet, don't put them at risk for digestive problem!

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**TIPS: If you want to enhance the DHA consumption of your baby, you can opt to add ONLY A DROP of olive or flax seed oil around 6.5th month-old. Remember, make sure little one has sufficient water intake at this point.

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C) Green leafy vegetables
You may start to introduce green leafy vegetables at their 2nd week of weaning diet. 
But, there's a way to prepare to avoid choking! 
First, take a piece of green leafy vegetables and tear for dimension 3cm x 3cm, and fold into 4.
Then, cut into 80-100 little pieces and put into babies' bowl. 
Lastly, pour cooked porridge on to the cut leaves. 
DO NOT NEED TO COOK the vegetables.

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For 7-8th month-old babies:
Your babies are now ready for smooth-soft to lumpier purees! Getting more and more exciting!
Introduce combination of food from 4 basic groups: carbohydrates, vegetables, fruits and protein, and  increase their food quantity gradually.

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1. Carbohydrates: NO whole grains, babies' digestive system is not ready. Go for simple carbohydrates: white rice porridge, instant oats, SIEVED potato, SIEVED pumpkin (rather than carrot) & SIEVED sweet potato.

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2. Protein: NO beans, NO fish, No meat! May try egg white but preferably tofu and fuchok.
Babies' gut are not ready for animal protein digestion yet, may develop leaky gut syndrome that lead to varies food allergy. 

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3. Iron-rich food (to compensate iron depletion): green leafy, raisins, wolf-berries (seedless), seaweed.

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4. Vitamin C-rich food: Oranges (choose sweet one, avoid sour). 
It enhances iron absorption from food.

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5. Juicing: Start with vegetables juice (most bland), then slowly introduce fruit juice (sweet).
**TIPS: to enhance chewing capability of babies, parents can taste together (use different spoons for hygiene purpose!)  and demonstrate chewing action in front of baby. 
Parenting is always leading by example.

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For 9-12th month-old babies:
Baby now can enjoy variety of foods, from purees to mashed food! Hooray!
Start off with minced, chopped and soft texture, and gradually move to solid food.
You may opt to grind some flax seed, and add ONLY A DASH to his/her food.
Remember, you need to observe if there's any intolerance symptoms occur. If yes, stop.

Baby Led Weaning. When to Introduce the Complementary Foods?
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After 12th month:
You may now introduce your complex carbohydrates such as oats, brown rice and whole grain bread little by little.

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Dear parents, your babies has the most innocent taste buds. They don't need strong taste food. 
So, take away the following ingredients from them:
Sugar, salt, deep fried food, cream, honey, all seasonings, anchovies (ikan bilis), cheese and sausage.
They don't need it, otherwise, you'll spoil their taste buds! I'm serious!

For food safety and allergy issues, don't give them these before reaching the right timing:
Egg, egg yolk, wheat, nuts, seeds, grapes, corn kernel, wholemeal bread, cows/goats milk, fish fillet (due to bones).

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Always watch out if babies experience allergy signs and symptoms.
For example, rashes, diarrhea, abdominal colic, skin irritation and eczema.
If they do, please consult their pediatrician.  

The above is my summary after attending a talk by an experienced clinical dietitian. 
For more info, you can always

Happy weaning!

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