The Best of Both Worlds: Explore Combination Feeding Day 4: Combination Weaning

The Best of Both Worlds: Explore Combination Feeding

Finding it difficult to choose between spoon-led weaning and baby-led weaning? Don't worry, here’s combination weaning, which is a combination approach of both methods: spoon-led and baby-led.

If your child is not gaining weight as expected during their baby-led weaning journey, supplementing with some spoon-led weaning can help ensure that they get important nutrients and iron-rich foods while biting and chewing on solid foods. 


TIP: Infants are born with a natural store of iron which is inherited from the mother. This iron is used up during the first 6 months of their life. That’s why including iron-rich foods in their diet is key. 


Here's what a practical mixed feeding approach might look like: Imagine you're serving your baby rice and dal.

  • Prepare rice and dal and set your baby up in a high chair with a bib with sleeves
  • Place the prepared food in a bowl in front of the baby.
  • Let your baby explore the food and pick it up with their hands, while also offering a spoonful of dal on a spoon for them to hold and try.

    Pros of Combination Feeding

    1.  Helps ensure your baby is getting essential nutrients like iron and zinc:

    A flexible feeding approach ensures the baby is getting good nutrition. As their iron reserve is almost over by 6 months, we have to introduce a diverse complementary foods that are iron and zinc rich.

    DID YOU KNOW: Iron supports a toddler’s brain, cognitive, and immune development while zinc is essential for overall growth and immune function.


    2. Gives you and your baby flexibility and options in feeding:

    For example, when you are out at a restaurant and there are no pureed foods available, you can offer steamed vegetables or fruits, sliced rotis dipped into dal, or a small portion from your plate.


    3. Lets your baby practice self-feeding alongside being fed with a spoon:

    This can help improve their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, and also gives them a sense of independence.


    4. Strikes a balance between messy and clean feeding:

    Between spoon-feeding and self-feeding, your baby can explore new foods and textures while minimizing mess.


    5. Enables your baby to join family meals and eat what you eat alongside spoon-feeding their specific food:

    This helps them feel more included in mealtime and can help them develop healthy eating habits from an early age.


    6. Exposes your baby to a wider variety of foods, textures, and flavors:

    This can help them develop a more adventurous palate and reduce picky eating tendencies.


    Before we move onto the steps of this approach, we want to remind you that all babies develop their own instinct when it comes to weaning and feeding. You may even observe their cues to help them build good eating habits. 


    Ready to Try Combination Weaning? Here’s a Step-by-Step Guide

    1. Start Feeding

    You can feed them mashed food along with finger foods. Here are 2 ways to go about it:

    1. Place finger food on the tray in front of your baby and draw their attention to it. Let them reach for the food and put it in their mouth. Be patient and let them take the lead.
    2. Scoop up the food on a spoon and place it at a distance from the baby’s mouth. Once your baby opens their mouth willingly, place the spoon into their mouth.

    2. When To Stop Feeding

  • Let your baby decide how much they want to eat. When they start playing with their food, turning their face away, or throwing it away, it's a sign that they're full and it's time to take them out of the high chair and clean up any mess.
  • If your baby isn't interested in the food you’re holding out, let them smell the food for now and try again another time.
  • Don’t worry too much about the quantity they consume. It’s natural for babies to eat less food at this age.
  • Don't hurry your baby to finish the meal or force them to eat! Be patient and let them take their time to eat at their own pace.

    WE SUGGEST: The combination weaning method is best because you are responding to your baby's hunger and fullness cues while ensuring they are getting the necessary nutrients.


    Tomorrow, we will look at the signs that show your baby’s readiness to start solid foods. 

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