Your baby may be more reluctant to drop feeds than other infants, so weaning may take a little longer. If feed times are difficult or if you are concerned about your child’s weight gain or growth, there are professionals who can help. For example, speech and language therapists often help with sucking and swallowing difficulties, and health visitors can advise on early feeding patterns and weight gain and can assess whether to refer your child to a paediatrician for extra help. If you are returning to work, you may have to plan how you wean your child very carefully.
If you are breast feeding you may have to introduce a bottle earlier, and then go on to solids. Most babies with vision impairment enjoy sucking, and you may need to transfer from breast to bottle to cup in very gentle steps.
Clues that help your baby know that it's mealtime:
- they have that "hungry" feeling
- you put their bib on them
- you put them in their highchair
- you give them a spoon to hold
- they can smell delicious food.
Some children show they want to feed themselves by grabbing the spoon. Others may need you to encourage their independence. To be able to feed themselves, your baby needs to be able to hold a spoon, scoop with it, put it in their mouth, close their lips round it and then replace the spoon. Learning these skills takes time and you may have a long period where you both have a spoon.