There comes a time in every baby’s life when they have to move onto solid food, a process known as weaning. Usually, this happens at around six months of age so if you’re approaching this milestone in the very near future, it can be useful to know what to expect and how to tackle the process.
Here are some frequently asked questions about weaning that could prove particularly helpful when it comes to mealtimes with your little ones.
What is weaning?
Weaning is the process of introducing solid foods into your child’s diet, alongside their usual breast milk or infant formula. This is also known as complementary feeding, because you’re doing both at the same time, rather than replacing breast milk or formula entirely. During the weaning process, your baby will learn how to chew, move food and round their mouths and swallow.
What do you need to start weaning?
Making sure you have all the necessary equipment close to hand can really help get to grips with weaning, ensuring that you and your child enjoy the process sooner rather than later.
Invest in a good high chair so your child can sit in an upright position - important so they can swallow properly. Also stock up on a couple of open or free-flow cups, so you can help them move on from the bottle. Weaning spoons and bowls are also a must - and you will definitely need to have some bibs on rotation, as it can get very messy!
What signs suggest my baby is ready to start weaning?
If your child is able to stay sat in a sitting position while holding their head steady and coordinating their mouth, hands and eyes so they’re able to look at food, pick it up and put it in their own mouths, as well as swallowing food instead of spitting it out, could suggest they are now ready to begin weaning.
How do you start weaning?
Just begin by giving your child a small amount of food before their typical milk feed to help familiarise them with new tastes and textures. Don’t worry too much about how much of the food they actually eat. Avoid giving them anything with salt or sugar in it, as this can damage their kidneys and cause tooth decay.
Allow yourself plenty of time at the beginning as it can be difficult to learn this new skill and while some babies take to it quickly, others can find it hard. Lots of encouragement and praise can make a big difference, so try to make it as fun as you can. Patience is also key!
What food should you start weaning with?
Start off simple with some pieces of fruit and vegetables, and try to keep it varied so your baby experiences lots of different tastes and textures. If you’re giving them cooked food, make sure it’s cooled down properly before you offer it to your child.
Check out our range of baby weaning sets if you’re thinking of trying solid foods soon.