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All the advantages of self-weaning
What is self-weaning? How to do it? And why is it eco-friendly? Here is what you should know about this aspect of a baby’s diet.
The appropriate definition would be “complementary nutrition on demand”, but most people, especially on the web, refer to it as self-weaning. It is a way of introducing solid food in a baby’s diet without preparing ad hoc paps, but rather, by allowing them to take, under parental control, the food eaten by the other family members. Pushed by their instinctive curiosity and tendency to imitate adults’ behaviours, babies start to try as much of their parents’ food as they want spontaneously through spoon-feeding, with their own hands or using cutlery on their own. As they just peck at solid food the main ingredient of their diet should still be breast or artificial milk (on demand), but little by little solid food will replace it.
To start self-weaning it is important to wait for the baby to be able to sit down on their own and be interested in their parents’ food (on average, this happens when they are about 6 months old). The other essential condition is to bring to your table healthy food: it is advisable to use the food pyramid on which the Mediterranean diet is based, and choose seasonal products, light meals and seasoning as well as no or little salt. Be careful to mash or break the food into small pieces or, if you let your baby eat on their own immediately you’ll have to look after them with great care. Attend a course to learn how to unblock airways to have further tools.
Finally, as regards the concerns about allergic reactions to food, self-weaning is based on a series of studies showing that it isn’t necessary to postpone the introduction of potential allergens in the babies’ diet. A precocious contact with potentially dangerous ingredients would actually improve the body’s immune reaction, especially if the baby is breastfed. In any case, introduce one allergenic food at a time and in minimal doses, so to easily recognise allergic reactions or intolerances.
Those who chose this method say that it is a very effective way of promoting a good relationship between babies and food, especially if they reject stubbornly paps and broth. Self-weaning, in addition, encourages all family members to follow a healthy and balanced diet, facilitating the preparation of meals when on trips and allowing parents not to waste money on industrial baby food products. Not to mention the positive effects on the environment: no jars and packaging, no waste, less energy consumption for the preparation and preservation of paps.
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