Weaning & Recipes
Even if you're family has history of allergies to foods such as milk, nuts and eggs, medical experts will mainly advise not to exclude these from baby's diet but to be alert when introducing these individually. See here for more on baby allergies and weaning
this is the method of allowing baby to explore feeding themselves rather than being spoon-fed. This method has a number of development benefits including helping them to develop the pincer action when picking up pieces of food.
...one of the more common weaning myths that your baby is ready for the solid stuff! Look out for a combination of signs rather than pinning it to one. Every baby is different and will be ready at different stages from around 4 - 6 months usually.
Encourage them to eat when you do or family dinner time, this will enable you to let them try things you are eating and watching others eating will allow them to follow by example.
At the very beginning ensure you feed your baby milk as you would so that they aren’t hungry. Their first experience of weaning should be about them trying it and exploring it rather than filling up on it. You'll finf to begin with they won't a lot in volume so anything they do eat in the ealry days is a bonus to their usual milk feeds. As they become increasingly used to tasting and eating more food, then you can phase out their milk consumption.
For those of you who are making baby purees from scratch, reusable Foodii pouches are the perfect solution for easily transfering, storing and feeding individual meals - at home or on-the-go! Screw on one of the two easy feeding tops to the pouches and feed baby mess-free or allow older babies to learn to feed themselves.
If they haven't already done this before the weaning stage, your baby's ability to gag easily will be more sensitive initially but is simply a natural response to prevent choking. As new infants, they have no skills to get an unexpected item out of their mouth. As they grow their gag reflex moves further back in their mouth and the frequency of gagging when they eat will lessen.
Avoid giving them honey before 12 months of age. Spores of Clostridium botulinim bacteria can be found in honey and when ingested by an infant, can release the toxin that causes botulism. Babies, until 1 years old have not developed the defense against them.
Your baby is born with a natural store of iron but around 6 months is when this will start to deplete which is why it is important to introduce foods rich in iron too!
Jelly and juice – Consider avoiding these – despite the softer texture jelly cubes are prone to getting stuck on the way down. Fruit juice can have high concentrations of sugar which should be avoided ore diluted well with water.
...and other leafy greens. Among the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, it is unrivalled for brain development, heart health and works as a natural anti-inflammatory. Add kale into purees and baby omelettes.
If making baby purees from scratch, vary up the consistency's of them to get them used to different textures simultaneously. With Nutribaby+ dual blender and steamer, 3 blending speeds allow easy control of this!
Although instinct tells us mess is not to be encouraged, the process of weaning is about your baby exploring foods, recognising the differences and understanding their preferences. Alot of it will end up on them and even more on the floor. Put their high chair on a wipable surface and have a wet cloth at the ready!
When taking the baby-led weaning approach, opt for ingredients that are naturally easy enough for them to pick up and hold - things like half a banana and steamed broccoli florettes. Alternatively cut up foods into sticks or strips for them.
Organise meal times according to day activities – take time choosing what they want to eat and do so at their own pace. Set up meal times way in advance if you need to be somewhere else.
If your baby was born prematurely, you won't be alone in wondering when to start weaning them. In fact many studies agree and professionals will encourage parents to look for the usual tell-tale signs that baby is ready to wean rather than assume they will be older than the usual 4-6 months weaning window.
Up until the age of 1 it is usually reccomended that milk is their main source of nutrition. This first 6 months or so of their weaning journey isn't so much about portion sizes as it is learning to transition onto solids, explore, taste,co-ordinate and get used to recognising when they are hungry and full up. From 6 months present them with 2-3 varied and balanced meals a day as a guide. Check out forums like Mumsnet which are great for getting mum-to-mum advice about feeding your baby.
Don’t worry if your baby seems to reject a particular food at the beginning. Simply revisit another day – this exercise is all about getting them used to a variety which will come in time. Your baby can try foods up to ten times before deciding to like it!
Introducinig savoury foods more than sweet from the off is important for teaching your baby healthy taste habits.
Your baby is likely to be ready to wean around the same time they will start teething. Due to the pain, you may notice they have a lack of appetite some days and then a hungry day or two when the tooth has come through. Madeformums reccommmend trying them with soft purees, cold smooth food which can be soothing on their gums and in some cases chewable food which can also relieve the pain in some cases.
Building their confidence to try a wide variety of foods and presenting them with variety from the earliest stages is the best way to encourage an unfussy eater as an adult!
Weaning is all about food texture and diversity. Offer them as much variety as possible and even give them baby-friendly foods that you are eating at the same time.
Whizz up leftovers into baby purees! Waste not, want not!
Batch cooking baby meals will be real god send when you are fully immersed in weaning! 2 or 3 three different recipes made in bulked and stored away for the week will keep enough variety in their diet and make meal times much easier.
TIP: Mash up fresh fruit with a dollop of full fat natural yoghurt for a low-sugar alternative to supermarket baby pots.
Important for cognitive development, introduce zinc-rich foods to your baby through purees and small food pieces that they can pick up. Foods such as beans and pulses and red meat are high in zinc. This mineral also enhance our sense of taste and smell which is a crucial part of your baby exploring a wide variety of foods.
For safety advice about feeding your baby, download the British Red Cross Baby and Child First Aid app
Looking for more recipe inspo? Checkout Baby's First Easy-to-make Purees