Top 6 tips when weaning your baby
My top 6 tips when weaning your baby
1- Wait until your baby is showing signs of readiness.
-Your baby being able to sit unaided on a flat surface, not your knee or a Bumbo chair for at least 1 minute.
-If your baby can grab at food and bring straight to their mouth.
-When offering food is your baby able to move the food around their mouth and swallow or is their tongue pushing the food back out. Think of those babies with food all over their faces,. This would be a sign your little one isn’t quite ready as their tongue thrust reflex is still present.
If you baby is showing these signs it’s a really good sign your baby’s body is ready for food. These signs of readiness usually occur around 6 months which is why you often hear ‘6 months’ when thinking about weaning your baby however remember every baby is different. It’s not like a switch, some babies are 5 months and others are 7 months when they show these signs. It’s important to follow your baby’s lead.
2- Milk, milk, milk.
Milk provides your baby with the calories and nutrients they need until around 1 year of age, although their iron levels begin to reduce form 6 months this all depends on different factors one of which is delayed cord clamping at birth. Babies who had delayed cord clamping often have higher iron stores than babies who had immediate cord clamping. Remember food is for fun until one. Offer your baby a range of foods but don’t worry if they won’t eat much solid foods or would rather play with it instead. Your baby has many months to experience tastes and textures and will begin to eat when ready.
3- Offer different tastes and textures.
Babies love to explore their environment this also includes food. Whether you decide to offer puree/mashed, finger foods or a bit of both they will need to explore this first. They will use their senses to visually explore. Enjoy licks and tastes, and feel the food they are given. Try and offer your baby small amounts of different tastes and textures and don’t worry if they appear to dislike a certain type of food just offer this as you usually would.
4- Puree/mashed food
Puree and mashed food are often given as a first food to observe if baby is able to swallow and appears ready for solids or whether you need to wait a couple of more weeks and try again. These types of food can include yogurt, fruit, vegetables, porridge/weetabix and sauces. The food can be fed to baby or offered in pre loaded spoons for baby to attempt to eat themselves. Although allowing baby to try the food themself can be messy it gives them the opportunity to take weaning at their own pace and doesn't override their natural safety instinct. Placing a large sheet down and having plenty of wipes available with make it much easier when clearing up. If you do plan to spoon feed your baby you can also allow them to observe the food first then take a small lick or taste before placing the spoon in their mouth. Paced feeding is not only important for milk feeds but solids too.
5- Finger foods/Baby led weaning
Offering finger foods enables your baby to have self control over their food, rather than taking spoon after spoon of puree baby’s can decide when they are full and is simply stop self feeding. Finger foods should not be attempted until your baby is showing all signs of developmental readiness/over 6 months of age. Ideal finger foods can include soft fruit or vegetable sticks the size of your finger, toast with butter/nut butter. Once baby develops their pincer grip (using their index finger and thumb) they can pick smaller foods up like sweetcorn, peas, flakes of fish, tender pieces of meat.
Ensure you always supervise your baby whilst feeding, whether thats milk feeds or solid foods. Although choking is rare many parents opt to attend private first aid courses to ensure they know what to do if needed. I would highly recommend Mini First Aid who usually offer face to face sessions however due to the current restrictions are offering virtual classes. Sarah-Lou is amazing and will help you feel confident if your worried about choking. See the link below:
If you would like to learn more about weaning I hold regular starting solids courses usually face to face however during the current climate virtually using Zoom. For only £25 per family you will receive the weaning session, full parent resources from the session, access to our private facebook group and ongoing support for 6 months. Get in touch through social media or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or to book a place. Places are limited to ensure group sessions remain small and personal.
I also run Babies who Brunch/Lunch sessions where your baby is offered a range of delicious foods to explore and try, this session is ideal for babies 6 months +. Support is on hand from myself if you need information around weaning. Look out for upcoming sessions on my social media pages or get in touch for more information.