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Many people believe that "weaning" refers to the process of discontinuing breastfeeding and beginning solid foods for the baby. This is, however, not the case. Weaning from breastfeeding should be continued while gradually introducing food into your baby's diet. It would be more accurate to call the process "complementary feeding."
One of the most frequent questions that pops up in our mind is how to prepare weaning food. Babies need nutrient-rich foods to meet the demands of their growing bodies.
One way to pack these nutrients into food is by preparing meals with a smooth, thick consistency and adding some oil, butter, ghee, and sugar or jaggery to make the food energy-dense. You should adjust the consistency of food as your baby adapts.
Between the ages of six to eight months, you can start giving foods with a thick porridge-like consistency.
When your baby is about 9 or 10 months old, you can progress to foods with a granular or lumpy texture and add new flavours. These new experiences will prepare your child to be open to new foods. You can also start with finger foods or foods that they can eat with their hands.
At about 12 months, your baby can start eating foods that you prepare for your family, but without the spices and extra salt.
Initially, feed your baby about two to three tablespoons of food about 2-3 times a day along with regular breastfeeding, and gradually increase the amount to about half of a 250 mL cup, four or more times a day, as your baby grows older.
Make sure to give your baby a complete meal with all the food groups in their diet.
Babies need to learn the difference between solid and liquid food. If your baby uses a bottle, they will not learn how to chew and swallow the food, pause between morsels, and stop eating when they feel full, all of which are essential experiences for your baby to learn good eating habits. Therefore, it is not advisable to use a bottle to feed the baby cereal or baby food.
Generally, once your baby starts eating solid foods, their stools should get firmer with a stronger odour. However, if your baby has loose stools, it could mean that your baby’s digestive system is slightly irritated. Discontinue the new food item for some time.
If your baby exhibits allergy symptoms such as vomiting, rashes, or swelling of the face in addition to diarrhoea, you should discontinue that food item but continue weaning from breastfeeding.
Always consult your doctor if the symptoms continue or worsen.
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. FAQ: Introducing your baby to solid foods 
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