Every child develops and reaches milestones at different stages and development can’t be measured exactly. However, there are guidelines that you can follow to ensure that your child is growing and developing when expected.
So, when should I start weaning my baby?
Some parents start weaning at four months, however, health experts say that you should start giving your baby solid foods when they are around six-months-old. Before this, your baby’s digestive system hasn’t developed enough to handle solids. If they seem hungrier before six months, you can always give them extra milk feeds.
When your baby is ready to move on to solids, everything is going to be new and different and some babies may take longer to adjust than others. Here are some top tips to consider when you’re weaning your baby.
Signs to look out for
Your baby may be ready for solids if:
- They can swallow their food easily. Babies who aren’t ready will spit their food back out, getting more around their face than in their mouths
- They can co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth looking for food, picking it up and eating it by themselves
- They can sit and hold their head steady
- Relax and make it fun!
Your baby has only known milk and water, so textures and tastes are going to be alien to them. It’s important that from the start you introduce a range of foods, so you and your baby can figure out what they like and dislike.
Prepare for a lot of spitting out and funny faces, but don’t stress too much about it. By creating a relaxed, exciting atmosphere, you can help encourage them to try more. Even if most of the meal is on their face, lots of praise and big smiles will help them get used to solids.
- Keep trying
Don’t be down if your baby refuses to eat certain food or spit it out. Getting used to texture and taste is a big thing for them, it’s all about perseverance and time. Keep trying with the same food several times and introduce new foods along with their favourites, so they’re getting a good range.
- Eat together as a family
Your baby wants to be around you, interacting and learning. By feeding your baby at mealtimes as a family, they’ll feel more involved, learning that this time is happy and sociable. We understand that this isn’t always do-able, but when you can, pop them in their highchair at the table, it will really help.
- Let them experiment
As your baby grows, the more independent they will be. The thought of the mess may fill you with dread and you may worry about how much they are eating, but let them be in control. When they can and obviously with a bit of help, let your baby feed themselves with their own cutlery. They’ll love mimicking you!
- Prepare for a little bit of mess
Unfortunately, weaning is a messy business. You need to accept this and stock up on plenty of bibs, wet wipes, highchair covers and keep a mop at the ready! They’ll be lots of times, particularly in the beginning, where your baby will be covered head to toe, but you’ll have some funny photos to keep and look back on!
What shall I start my baby on?
You should introduce smooth, simple foods that are easy to digest, such as vegetables and fruit. If you’re a planner, you can make a batch and freeze, so you can make meals go further. There are some healthy, tasty pre-prepared meals and snacks in the supermarkets, however, we do recommend homemade when you can!
- For breakfast you could mash banana or porridge
- For lunch and dinner you could mash vegetables with potato/sweet potato
- For snacks, any soft fruit or vegetable that your baby can pick up is worth a try!
Your child’s development is a priority to us and at Little Shipmates we have our very own on-site cooks who provide healthy, balanced meals for babies to four-year-olds. Our meals are varied and they provide children with their daily nutrition allowances, tailoring to special dietary requirements.
For more topics like this, our blog is full of posts that focus on a range of subjects with top tips and information, like healthy eating tips for children.
If you’d like to be reassured that your little one is getting a balanced diet whilst at nursery, contact us for a visit!