While most parents would prefer to wean their child on canned/pureed food, the Nigerian economy makes constant shopping for imported meals very difficult. In this article, we would run through markers showing you that your child is old enough to be weaned and local foods that you can use to wean your baby.
We have everything in our Nigerian food basket to increase your breastmilk supply and keep our babies nourished.
How do you know if baby is old enough to be weaned?
Your baby can sit upright and hold their head straight up without lagging.
The baby shows interest in your meals and can open their mouth when food comes their way.
Your baby can swallow food from a spoon into his/her throat
What foods can I use to wean my baby?
Who hasn’t taken Ogi before? This jack-of-all-trades meal is especially better for babies as it does not have to be chewed. To make this more nutritious for your baby, you should get involved in making pap from scratch. You could make a blend of more than one cereal; guinea corn, millet, maize. Soya beans, groundnuts, ginger and others can be blended in. It can be sweetened with mashed fruit such as banana and milk. Pap to be fed to babies should however be waterier in order to aid digestion.
Ogi that travelled abroad, the custard is similar to pap but is industrially processed instead. Like ogi, it can be spiced up for better nutrition for the baby. It comes with the added advantage of being ‘relatively’ more hygienic for the baby than pap bought from the roadside. Do you know you can also make custard from scratch at home?
Another versatile meal, semo can be consumed by the baby in solid or semi-liquid form. Semo can be taken with soup in its solid form. In semi-solid form, please ensure that it Is slightly thick. You can also add ground crayfish or milk to make it more nutritious.
Fruits are jampacked with nutrients that are very integral to your baby’s health. Depending on the type of fruits, they can be mashed (e.g. bananas, avocado pear), blended (e.g. watermelons), and even mixed to give variety. Also, you can conveniently give these to your little one using a baby food pouch. Unripe bananas particularly can be made into a blended savory porridge with fish powder and green vegetables.
A great source of protein, eggs should be boiled and properly mashed before being fed to the baby. The quantity should also be slowly increased from half an egg to a whole egg over a period of six months.
Vegetables are nutrient-laden foods and very good for the baby. You can prepare delicious meals with okra or ewedu prepared with mashed mackerel. Local pumpkin can also be boiled or steamed and pureed for baby.
Avocados contain omega-3 fatty acids which are very good for the heart. They can be mashed and eaten alone or blended with other fruits.
You can use Irish or sweet potatoes. They are alternative sources of carbohydrates for babies. However, potatoes that would be fed to babies should be properly cooked and mashed. You can also cook it with blended crayfish, scent leaves (nchowu aka ntong) and “Titus” (mackerel) fish.
Beans are a good source of fibre for the baby, thus easing bowel movement for the baby. However, please cook the beans till soft and mash before giving the baby.
While this is a staple for many Nigerian families, it is a delicate meal for babies. Unpolished (brown) rice is rich in vitamin B. It should be boiled till soft and mashed or blended so that the baby can easily eat. It can be served as a sweet pudding with pureed bananas, cinamon and coconut milk.