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Getting started

Make weaning a social experience.
Ideally, therefore, you should aim to make weaning a relaxing and pleasant experience.
Try to choose a time of day when both you and your baby are relaxed and allow plenty of time - don’t rush a feed time.
Let your baby decide the pace of feeding.
Introduce solids when the baby is not too hungry - try half way through a feed.

How much?

Don't 'force feed'. Most babies know when they've had enough to eat. Babies soon learn that refusing food is a good way of attention seeking. Let your baby guide you as to the quantity of food given. You should progress at the baby’s pace rather than let your baby’s age or weight dictate how much food should be eaten.

What to use

Taking food from a spoon involves learning a new tongue action. Swallowing involves your baby learning to move solid food from the front of the tongue to the back of the tongue, to swallow it. Use a plastic spoon as it is more easily sterilized and give your baby a spoon as soon as he or she can hold one so they can help with feeding themselves - it will be messy!

Use your own home made foods based on fruit and vegetables. Do not add salt or sugar. Using your own food is cheaper than buying baby foods, you'll know what the ingredients are, and your baby will get used to eating like the rest of the family. Small amounts of soft or cooked fruit or vegetable puree and baby cereals (not wheat products) are ideal first foods to offer on the tip of a shallow plastic spoon. Prepare larger quantities than you need and freeze small portions for later, e.g. in an ice cube tray.

Minimise waste but don’t reheat previously warmed leftovers. Use only the amount you think your baby will eat and heat this. It's important to heat food thoroughly and allow it to cool. Always test it yourself to check that it is not too hot before offering it to your baby.

Over the following few weeks, introduce new tastes and textures to develop your baby’s sense of taste. Try a wide variety of foods, introducing a new food every couple of days. This is important, as it has been shown to reduce faddiness later on. It also allows you to learn what they like and if they develop an allergic reaction to it or not. Avoid sugary foods or only give them as part of a meal to protect developing teeth. Breast or formula milk will remain the main source of nourishment at this stage.

Do not leave your baby alone while they are eating in case they choke. No two babies are the same - all are different. Some will start solid foods earlier, some later. Some take to it quickly and some take longer. Some are choosy, others seem to like everything.

Suggestions

  • Pureed fruit
  • Pureed vegetables
  • Purées of meat and poultry
  • Purées of pulses such as lentils (dahl), hummus
  • Full-fat milk products such as yoghurt or fromage frais - unless you've been advised otherwise by your health visitor or GP
  • Full-fat milk can also be used for cooking, for example in cheese sauce, but avoid giving it to your baby as a drink until after he or she is a year old

Bought baby foods

These are convenient and good for trips away. Always check the labels - go for sugar free or no artificial sweeteners. Check that they are suitable for your baby’s age and stage in development. If using for babies under 6 months of age, make sure that the products are gluten-free and egg-free.

What to do if there is a history of allergy

Where there is the possibility of a family history of allergy, the following foods should be introduced one at a time (and not before six months)

  • wheat products (including cereals, rusks and bread)
  • citrus fruits and juices
  • fish and shellfish All nuts (including peanuts) should be avoided for the first three years (ideally before 5 years of age) because of the risk of choking.

 

 

 

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