Weaning is essential for development
Weaning is quite simply the process of moving your baby from a total milk diet to one that includes solid food too. Milk will continue to supply many of the nutrients your baby needs for some time, but as your baby becomes more active, solid foods will become an increasingly important part of their healthy, balanced diet. It’s an exciting part of your baby’s development and an essential one. They’ll need the different nutrients in food for healthy growth – both mentally and physically.
Weaning your baby is something that can’t be done in a hurry – it’s a gradual progression where you’ll move your baby on from liquid to purées, then onto lumpier textures and finally pieces. It’s also quite a messy process!
Developing and learning
Weaning isn't just about filling them up. Around this stage, your baby is extremely adaptable and learns fast. Introducing them to lots of new tastes means they’ll enjoy a greater variety of foods later on, which will help you to give them a balanced diet.
The process of weaning is also about getting your baby used to the new and very strange feeling of food in their mouth! Over the next few months, the experience of eating from a spoon and introducing new textures to your baby will develop their swallowing and chewing skills so they’ll gradually be able to manage lumpier textures. This helps them to develop the muscles they’ll use for talking later on.
Bear in mind that weaning is a bit of a trial and error process and because learning to eat is such a big change from sucking milk from breast or bottle, it can get a bit frustrating for your baby – and for you too!
Be prepared to be patient as your baby gets used to the sensation of moving food around in their mouth and learns to chew. The main thing is, not to worry - it can take up to 15 attempts for your baby to accept certain foods!
And remember, we’re here to help with guidance and advice if you need it.