Weaning stage 1
Weaning is a major stage of your baby's development, with a lot for them to learn. So it's important to wait until they show signs that they are ready for weaning. The Department of Health recommends weaning should start from 6 months and definitely no sooner than 17 weeks. If you're thinking of starting to wean because your baby's appetite is bigger than usual, it may be that they're just going through a growth spurt.
How to get started
Many mums begin weaning with baby rice because you can make it with your baby's usual milk. This makes the transition to solid foods easier, as the familiar taste will help your baby accept the unfamiliar texture. The wonderfully smooth texture of Aptamil Creamy Porridge makes an ideal first weaning food.
First, just try feeding a teaspoonful or two a day to ease them in gently. Then, gradually increase the number of feeds. Try to avoid introducing food to your baby when they are too hungry, as they will not be able to eat quickly enough to satisfy them, leaving them frustrated. Don't leave it until they have had their fill of milk either, when they won't have room for the extra feed. Ideally, offer your baby half their usual milk before trying to feed them solids.
A nutritionally balanced weaning diet
No single food can give your baby all the goodness they need. So once they have got used to the idea of weaning, gradually start to offer them a greater variety of foods. This will help to ensure that they get a good balance of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals that will help them develop healthily.
A good way to give your baby a balanced diet is to start their day with a breakfast cereal made specifically for babies – with no added salt or sugar, like Aptamil Creamy Porridge. After they reach 6 months, they can try a porridge with a thicker texture, like Aptamil Creamed Banana Porridge. Include lots of different vegetables in their main meal, followed by a dairy-based dessert packed with fruit.
The right texture
At this stage, smooth purées, roughly the consistency of double cream, are ideal to help your baby learn how to swallow solid foods. Apples, pears, carrots, and sweet potatoes are all easy to cook and blend. Make sure you peel them first to remove any skin that may be too tough for your baby.
The right tastes
Try introducing your baby to simple, gentle tastes, such as pumpkin, carrot and other vegetables, before moving onto more complex meal combinations. Just cook them as you normally would but without any added salt.
Foods to avoid
At this early stage of weaning, there are a few foods that your baby may develop an allergy to, so are best avoided. Until your baby is 6 months old, avoid eggs, fish and foods containing gluten – a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. As for peanuts, if your baby has been diagnosed with an allergy or there is a history of allergies in your immediate family, seek medical advice before introducing them, as there will be a greater risk of your baby developing peanut allergy. But if your family and baby are free of allergies, you can choose to offer them peanuts or foods containing peanuts after 6 months of age. Just remember never to give them whole nuts until they are at least 5 years old, to reduce the risk of choking.
Call on our expertise
If you have any queries about weaning, our expert healthcare professionals and experienced mums are here to help. Simply give us a call on 0800 996 1000 anytime.