- Written by Queen Munguti for KenyaKidz
At six months old, a baby starts to lose interest in breast milk and that is best time for the parent to wean them to solid foods.
“Start them off on a light food, this way the parent is able to monitor the baby’s digestion,” said Dr Nelly Mutua, a pediatrician at Nairobi hospital. “Remember this is a six months or so baby that is used to breast milk, so solid food is very new to their body.”
On the specific food that a baby should be started on, Dr Nelly said that there is no specific food. “Given the cultural and regional differences, a mother in Nairobi will probably feed their baby porridge, another in Kisumu, will start them off on pumpkin while another in Mombasa will maybe start them off on butter nut, all this is okay, the key thing here is that it is light food and nutritious .”
The mother should also not stop expressing breast milk. This does not necessarily mean, breast feeding the baby, storing it in a feeding bottle is also good, this is just in case the baby does not or finds it hard to digest, then they can go back to breast feeding.
“The baby is used to breastfeeding, so it is understandable if they find it difficult to digest their first solid food,” said Dr Nelly. “It is a gradual process and since they are still in the development process, do not force it, if they do not digest in the first time, get them back to breast milk and as the parent continues trying they will get used to solid food and will be off breast milk completely.”
“As a way of getting them used to solid food, introduce it slowly. One meal a day, do not feed them different meals every day, stick to one for some time, see how they respond then introduce them to another light meal.”