Weaning your baby off milk and onto solid food is a fascinating time. It’s a chance for you and your child to have fun and experiment with new textures and tastes. Just make sure to enjoy the process and adapt your weaning routine to how your child is feeling. If they are tired and sleepy, they probably won’t be up for trying new foods.
Here are tips and tricks on how to make weaning a gentle and fun transition period.
Research weaning guidelines
Before you introduce your child to new foods, you need to understand the recommended weaning periods and how to wean safely. Typically, weaning should start when your child is around six months old. When your baby is ready for food, they will be able to stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady, coordinate their eyes, hands and mouth to pick up food and be able to swallow food.
Please note that chewing their fists, waking up more in the night and wanting extra milk feeds are not signs they are ready for weaning.
You should also pick the right time of day to start weaning. Try to choose a time when you and your child are ready to experiment with food and are not tired or rushed. If your baby often wakes up in the night to feed, using a baby sleepsuit can soothe them along with sleeping bags and a night light.
Gradually introduce new flavours and textures through single spoons of food. Remember, trying food for the first time will cause a taste explosion in their little mouth. Do not overwhelm them with too much at once. Opt for a variety of foods to encourage healthy eating habits and increase the array given in one sitting over time.
Do not add sugar or salt to their food through stock cubes, gravy or cooking water. Salt is bad for a baby’s kidneys, and too much sugar can cause tooth decay.
Make it fun!
Weaning is a brilliant opportunity to bond with your baby. Don’t pressurise yourself or your child and try to be patient and consistent with the variety of foods you offer. Babies tend to change their mind, so while they may hate a flavour today, they could love it tomorrow. Always give them praise and encouragement for exploring the taste and texture of food.
Encourage your baby to enjoy holding and touching the food with their fingers. Avoid having the TV on and your phone nearby during weaning times. This is quality bonding time for both of you, and it should be treasured. Finally, show them how you eat food by sitting them at the table during mealtimes. Children love to copy their parent’s actions, especially at mealtimes.