I want all parents to feel confident when they introduce their baby to solid food. Whether you use a traditional weaning approach or a baby led approach (baby led weaning), there are three tips I want to share with you to help you get started.
Tip 1. Offer food when your baby is not hungry and not tired.
At the start babies do not yet make the association between hunger and solid food. When they are hungry, they want (and expect!) milk, be it breastmilk or formula. Offering solid food when they are hungry can lead to frustration and distress. Babies are also learning a new skill when they eat solid food and being tired can make it harder for them and again lead to frustration.
Continue feeding your baby breastmilk or formula responsively. The amount of milk your baby drinks does not reduce as soon as they start solids. This happens gradually and milk will be their main source of nutrition up to their first birthday.
At breakfast time or after a nap can be a suitable time to offer your baby food.
Tip 2. Include your baby when you are eating.
Babies love our company and they learn so much from watching what we do. Have you noticed your baby watching you closely even when you eat and drink? Hawkeyes on the cup of tea!
They do not yet make the association between eating solids, hunger and feeling full, however they are learning so much and sitting your baby with you at mealtimes even before they are ready to start can be a brilliant learning opportunity for them.
Sit them on your lap or in their highchair (if they are happy to do so). This can help them tolerate sitting for longer periods and some babies will happily join you for every meal and some for just one. How often to offer your baby food depends on your baby, start off with once a day and build up from there.
Tip 3. Avoid overloading your baby’s plate
At the start of weaning babies are learning all about food. They do this through exploring different tastes and textures with their hands as well as their mouths. Placing one or two items of food on the tray or table to start with is plenty and will provide your baby with the opportunity to practise their motor skills. More food can always be added.
Let's make mealtimes fun!
The World Health Organisation and the UK Department of Health guidelines are to introduce solid food around six months, when your baby is developmentally ready.
Unsure if your baby is developmentally ready? Check out Start4life