Getting ready to introduce your baby to solid foods can feel overwhelming but don’t worry, we have you covered with our weaning tips for your baby guide.
When your baby starts to approach its six month many parents start to consider weaning.
Introducing your little bundle of joy to solid foods can be very daunting for new parents and often creates a great deal of tension in the household.
What foods should you introduce? Should I give my baby Puree or head down the baby-led path? What sized portions should I be giving my baby? What are the best foods to introduce first and how? Should I be aware of allergies?
Lots of questions, right?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common and effective weaning methods.
Signs your baby is ready for weaning
Why is it recommended to start weaning your baby at six months? Well, there are three signs that your baby is ready to start weaning.
- Your baby has developed hand to eye coordination and can look at food, pick it up and place it towards its mouth
- Your little one can stay upright in a sitting position with their head held steady, for at least a few seconds
- There is no evidence of any tongue-thrust reflex (your baby can swallow milk now rather than spitting some of it out)
These signs tend to be seen in the development of a baby at around six months of age. The World Health Organisation (WHO) places six months as a suitable time to think about introducing solids (complementary food).
What type of food should I use for weaning my baby?
When you feel your baby is at the right stage of their development to start weaning you can decide on the types of food you want to try as first foods. There are lots of books available to help you make a decision on how to wean. You can’t go too far wrong starting with Ella’s Kitchen, The First Foods Book.
Scientific research recommends you think about introducing veggies as first ‘tasters’ for your baby. It is best to concentrate on one vegetable at a time so your baby can learn to recognise the individual flavour.
Some ideal first foods to try are parsnip, sweet potato, butternut squash and carrots. Broccoli is also a real winner. You can either cook them so they are soft to eat, or mash them into a puree. The choice is yours.
If you want to try fruits you can think about cooked pears or apples.
The key is to make sure you introduce new foods as soon as your baby starts to become interested. Variety is very important.
Give your baby the time to adjust to the new flavours. Breast milk and infant formula can be very plain so your baby will take time to get used to all these new flavours.
Remember, no added salt or sugar!
What is baby-led weaning?
Another method of weaning our is known as baby-led weaning.
Baby-led weaning is a weaning tips method that has been used for generations and involves allowing the baby to feed themselves at the start of the process. It is thought that this approach encourages independence.
Baby led-weaning involves offering your baby lots of finger only foods. They then decide what they touch, pick up and eat.
This approach obviously differs from Mum feeding baby soft or blended food from a spoon. There is no right and wrong when it comes to weaning.
Some mums like to puree healthy solid food, some Mums like to use baby-led methods and some use a mixture of both!
How much food should you offer your baby?
Lots of parents become worried and anxious about how much food their baby is consuming when weaning starts.
Remember, babies have very small tiny teeny-weeny stomachs so try to relax.
When you first start weaning don’t expect your little one to start ploughing through broccoli or butternut squash like an adult.
One or two teaspoons, initially, is a fantastic result.
You don’t want to overfeed your baby so make sure you look out for the signs that your baby has eaten enough. These signs include turning their head away from the food, taking hold of the spoon and keeping their mouths closed.
If you notice these signs don’t carry on feeding as it will only upset your little bundle of joy. Babies are fantastic at self-regulating their appetite so don’t worry about your baby eating enough. They are greedy little things the best of time! ?
Should I wean my baby at family meals?
Yes. It takes time to prepare foods for your baby when you start the weaning process. Include baby in your regular mealtimes as soon as possible.
You want your baby to be part of your families eating routine at mealtimes. Make extra (baby appropriate foods) for baby when you are preparing to eat with your family.
It is important that your baby starts to understand the routine. Embedding breakfast, lunch and dinner times into your babies schedule is a good thing to do. You want your baby to develop healthy eating habits.
Should I include salt and sugar?
No, absolutely not.
If you start to introduce salt and sugar into your baby’s diet when they start getting used to solid food then they will develop an unhealthy relationship with these ingredients.
Do your best to avoid subjecting your baby to foods with salt and sugar.
How do I deal with weaning and food allergies?
Allergy UK recommends that foods with high allergenic tendencies (think dairy, nuts etc) can be introduced from six months.
These foods should be introduced one at a time and you should leave a gap of four days between foods so you can quickly identify what food may be causing an allergic reaction, in the event that your baby suffers one.
If your family has a history of suffering from food allergies talk to your GP before commencing with a weaning programme that includes high-risk allergenic foods.
You can also find some further advice from the NHS on weaning and food allergies here.