Weaning Your Baby

Parenting is full of challenges, and the transition from breastfeeding or formula feeding (or both) to solid foods can certainly be more difficult than many parents expect. There are lots of things to consider and plan for, so research weaning thoroughly before you hit that big 6-month marker. Here are a few things to consider to get you started on the next stage of your baby’s development.

 

When are they ready?

Your baby should be at least 6 months old before you begin introducing solid foods, as your baby’s digestive system won’t be ready for these foods before ths point. You should still keep up milk feeds regularly after this point, but you can start introducing other foods gradually alongside breastfeeding or formula feeding, otherwise your baby probably won’t be getting enough nutrients.

 

Will you try baby-led weaning?

Baby-led weaning is a good way of letting your baby develop their own skills and pick their own food. You simply put bite size amounts of whatever you’re eating in front of them, and let them discover the food for themselves and take what they like. They’ll learn how to feed themselves and set their own pace of progress. If this doesn’t appeal or you prefer a more structured approach, you can spoon-feed.

 

What will you need?

A highchair is the main thing you’ll need to invest in when beginning weaning, so shop around for one that’s easy to clean and can be put away easily. You’ll also need baby spoons if you’re spoon-feeding, lots of bibs and mats or old sheets to cover the area under the highchair to protect from the inevitable big mess. You’ll also probably need a blender to puree foods into a form the baby can manage.

 

Start small

Don’t expect your baby to be tucking into 3 course meals anytime soon; small mouthfuls are a good start, and as long as you’re keeping up milk feeds your baby won’t be starving, so early weaning is really more about experimenting and learning about food, and there’s no rush to move on too quickly. By about 9 months your baby should be eating a decent variety of foods several times a day.

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