Weaning is an exciting time, and a HUGE milestone in your baby’s life. The timing of it is so important, too early and her immune system may not be ready, but too late and milk alone will no longer be enough. Weaning teaches your baby to how move foods round their mouth, how to chew and swallow it.
The Department of health recommends that you start weaning your baby at 6 months, as this is when your baby’s immune system and digestion are developed enough. If you feel your baby is ready earlier than this then you should speak to your GP or health visitor.
Your baby may have seemed ready for solids for a while, but you still need to take things slowly. Weaning is a slow process, that shouldn’t be rushed. It may seem scary at first… but you and baby will both get the hang of it and start to really enjoy it (just maybe not the mess!)
So, here are Belo Bears’ top tips for weaning….
- You should start with small tastes of a single food first to get them used to the taste and the texture.
- Lunchtime is the best time of day to start on solid foods. Baby will be hungry, but not too tired.
- Most of the food may come straight back out of baby’s mouth. But that’s ok. They need to get used to this BIG change.
- Be guided by your baby and go at their pace. Some will want to move more quickly, and others will take longer to get the hang of it, just like learning any new skill.
- In the same way your baby tells you when he wants milk, he will also let you know when he wants more food or when he has had enough. You will learn to know the signs.
- Make your first purees vegetable ones, so baby doesn’t get used to only sweet foods.
- As the days pass, start to introduce new vegetables and start to combine them. Then introduce fruit purees. There are so many options, it is a fun time to experiment.
- Babies learn a lot from watching you eat. So if possible try to eat together (I know this is easier done than said in reality!)
- Make purees in batches and freeze. It is far easier and quicker to cook in bulk.
- It is a good idea to freeze small portions of single fruit and vegetables in ice cube trays. This way you can mix and match them easily, making different options for each meal.
- HANDY TIP - When they are frozen, empty the trays and put the frozen cubes into a freezer bag and write the contents and date on the bag. This way you can reuse the trays.
- Mix and match a large number of tastes and keep going back so baby gets used to it.
- Give lots of smiles, claps and praise. Weaning is a big skill and takes practise. Let them know they are doing a good job.
- Each day will be different. Some days baby will eat everything and others they will not seem interested. This is normal. If on Tuesday they can’t get enough of banana, don’t be surprised that come Wednesday they look at you like you’ve just tried to feed them their socks!
- Use soft spoons made from plastic or rubber that won’t hurt their gums.
- Suction bowls are a great idea. You don’t want it to end up all over the floor before you’ve even started.
- Don’t forget bibs and messy mats! Ones that are easy to clean are best.
Overall, just make eating fun. Never force them to eat, and go at their pace.
Remember, you know your baby. And, just like your Mum always tells you… Mama knows best!