Feeding / 9 May, 2022 / Ellie Thompson
To celebrate Weaning Week, dietitian Nichola Ludlam-Raine from @mummynutrition is on hand with lots of simple weaning advice for every age and stage.
The advice for most babies is to wait until your baby is around six months old. Ensure your baby can sit up in a highchair and support themselvs with steady head control. Check they’re able to coordinate bringing food to their mouth to swallow it rather than immediately spitting it back out.
If you’re unsure, it’s easy to check whether your baby still has that tongue-thurst reflex. Simply place a clean finger or spoon onto your baby’s lower lip and if they re-actively stick their tongue out, then they may not be ready to be weaned.
It’s important your child is familiar with their highchair before they start weaning, so that when they’re ready, it’s the food they focus on.
Beaba’s Up & Down Highchair is great for babies on their weaning journey. It’s height-adjustable so your baby can sit with you up at the breakfast bar, or down at the kitchen table. The highchair can be adjusted to six different heights with a simple push-button, so your baby is in the best possible position to start weaning.
Start slowly. Once a day is plenty during those early stages of weaning. Build this up to food three times a day, so that by seven months, you’re mimicking your own meal pattern, introducing lumps and some soft finger foods. This should include a source of dairy (or alternative) at breakfast, and then a protein and iron source such as meat, lentils, fish or beans with their lunch and evening meal.
Once your baby hits a year old, they should be eating around three small portions of healthy family meals. At this age, you can offer two small snacks in between meals and fruit is a great option when it comes to snacks.
Start by offering your baby vegetables, either as a puree or as mashed food. At this point, your baby’s sweet taste buds are already mature, meaning they will naturally accept fruit more readily, so that’s why it’s important to encourage your baby’s bitter and sour taste buds to develop. Try offering them green vegetables such as broccoli, kale and spinach.
You may find your baby rejecting bitter-tasting vegetables, but try to persevere with the same foods as it can take several attempts for your baby to accept and enjoy them.
You can then move on to other foods such as fruit, porridge, yoghurt, and potatoes, as well as meat, eggs, lentils and fish. By 7 months you can start your baby on soft finger foods.
The foods to be cautious of are cows’ milk, egg, soya, wheat, nut butters (e.g. peanut, almond), tahini and fish. With these foods, it’s sensible to offer a small amount of only one food at a time, to begin with. The Start 4 Life website has some great information on how to tackle this if you’re unsure.
Babies under the age of 12 months shouldn’t be given honey or anything with added sugar or salt. Don’t give your baby whole nuts, grapes or popcorn, and avoid small pieces of hard, uncooked fruit and veg such as carrots and apples – as these all represent a choking risk.
You can offer a small amount of tap water served in a baby cup with every meal, but make sure it’s cool-boiled if your baby is under six months old. Beaba’s 3-in-1 Evolutive Training Cup can be used as a first-age baby bottle and a sippy cup to accommodate your child’s transition from bottle to cup.
Making homecooked baby food doesn’t have to be complicated or messy. Batch cooking is easy to get the hang of with Beaba’s glass jars and silicone multiportion storage trays, and frozen food can be heated and prepared safely with their award-winning Babycook, which defrosts, steams, re-heats and blends your baby’s meals with complete ease.
Here are a few weaning essentials you’ll need to get you started!