When should I start weaning?
As your baby develops, their nutritional needs change too, and there comes a stage, when a milk feed just isn’t enough to satisfy them. This often happens around 6 months of age, when many babies are ready for weaning. When your little one is ready to start, they'll find a way to let you know. Here's what to look out for:
- Sitting up and holding their head steady.
- Bringing in objects towards their mouth and putting them in their mouth.
- able to swallow food - getting more in, than around their mouth.
The Department of Health recommend starting weaning at around 6 months - if however you think your baby is ready before this and they are showing all the signs above, then speak to your health visitor.
Planning your baby’s weaning routine
Moving to solids is a big milestone for you and your baby, so it’s not surprising that some mums can feel unsure about what and when to feed. Establishing a feeding routine at set times each day will help your baby get used to their new weaning diet.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to weaning, but it’s always a good idea to start slowly; one meal of solid food a day to test the water is fine. Then move up to two or three solid meals a day. You’ll probably find that the more solids your baby eats, the less milk they’ll want.
However, milk is still a crucial part of their diet as it ensures they're getting all the nutrients they need and remains their main source of nutrition. It should continue to be part of their diet until they’re at least 12 months old. Our 5 step weaning plan makes this routine easy!
First weaning foods
Your baby’s first weaning foods should be both gentle in flavour and smooth in texture. Purées are ideal for starting to learn how to swallow solid foods. Many mums start off with baby rice, mixed up with some of their usual baby milk. This helps to introduce babies to a subtle new texture with a familiar taste, making it less strange for them to eat.
Studies have shown that a great way to get kids to eat their greens is to start off weaning with single veggie flavours. We’re naturally designed to love sweet things, but by giving them simple purées of single veg rather than fruits as a baby, you’ll be shaping their taste-buds and helping them to love veggies for life.
Don’t worry if your baby seems to spit out everything you give them, it can take a while for them to learn how to eat and get used to new tastes and textures – after all, they’ve only been used to milk until now. Just take it slowly and don’t give up! The trick is to start by giving them just one single veg, and keep going with it. If your baby loves pea purée but isn’t so keen on cauliflower, don’t stop giving it to them. It can take around 8-10 goes before they learn to love it, but they should do eventually. Just take it slowly and don’t give up! The more simple vegetable flavours they taste now, the more they’ll love them later.