Baby Weaning or starting solid foods with your baby. How do you know when, how and where to start? Where can we find some tried and tested recipes? Are we exploring baby-led-weaning (BLW) or are we starting our baby on purees first? So many questions new parents have with regards of weaning their baby.
The current recommendation (at the time of writing) is to start weaning your baby around 6 months of age.
Baby Weaning – Signs of readiness
There are (only) three true signs of readiness
- can sit up unaided and hold their head steady.
- puts things to their mouth accurately
- has lost their tongue thrust reflex and can swallow
The golden rules – How to start
When introducing solid foods to your baby and during their first year of life follow these golden rules:
- Offer simple and unprocessed foods – Make the main part of the meal of simple and unprocessed foods.
- Offer natural foods – Your child needs to see & touch their food so that they can
- connect food tastes with how things look and feel – this enables them to learn how to choose foods for themselves.
- Let your baby get involved in the eating experience – Make eating a pleasurable, calm and relaxed experience. Eat together with your baby. Starting solid foods is not just nutrition it is learning and play, too!
- Avoid ultra-processed foods – If there are too many ingredients on the label (5+) avoid giving it to your little one!
Baby-Led Weaning or Purees?
Start introducing solids at about 6 months of age alongside breastmilk or infant formula. Your baby’s milk will still be the main source of energy and nutrients for your baby.
Whether to start off with purees, finger foods or a combination pretty much depends on your baby, your personal preferences and your life style.
Some babies will happily start off with finger and mashed foods, and may move on swiftly to a range of tastes and textures. However, other babies may progress
more slowly and start off eating smooth foods off a spoon. When spoon-feeding, offer foods they can hold themselves alongside, to encourage your baby to move on to mashed and finger foods.
- Smooth foods have no big lumps, pips, seeds or skin.
- Mashed foods are raw or cooked foods mashed to a slightly lumpy consistency.
- Finger foods are raw or cooked foods shaped/cut into batons. It is best to cut them bigger than a baby’s hand, so that your baby can hold them more easily. Use your (adult) finger as a sizing guide.
Always pay attention to your baby when they are eating. Never leave them alone.
Finger foods – tips for parents
- Remove any pips, stones or stringy bits
- Cut foods such as grapes, blueberries in half or quarters
- Avoid nuts, popcorn and any hard-ish chunks of food
- Stay with you baby when they are eating
- Start off with soft and cooked foods such as vegetables and fruit
- Wash your raw foods thoroughly