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                                                                               Weaning your Baby Tips and Recommendations

What is weaning?

  • Introducing your baby to solid foods, also referred to as weaning or complementary feeding, starts when your baby is around 6 months old. Your baby should be introduced to a varied diet, alongside their usual breast milk or first infant formula.

  • It can be confusing knowing when and how to start introducing solid foods. We’re here to guide you through the weaning journey and explain what it all means. We’ve got expert NHS advice, helpful videos, tips from other parents, and lots of simple, healthy weaning recipe and meal ideas https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/weaning/what-to-feed-your-baby/around-6-months/

 

To start with, your baby only needs a small amount of solid food, once a day, at a time that suits you both.

You can start weaning with single vegetables and fruits – try blended, mashed, or soft cooked sticks of parsnip, broccoli, potato, yam, sweet potato, carrot, apple or pear. You could also try baby rice mixed with your baby's usual milk. Make sure any cooked food has cooled right down before offering it to your baby.

It's important to introduce foods that can trigger allergic reactions one at a time, in very small amounts, so that you can spot any reaction. These foods can be introduced from around 6 months as part of your baby's diet, just like any other foods:

  • cows’ milk (in cooking or mixed with food)

  • eggs (eggs without a red lion stamp should not be eaten raw or lightly cooked)

  • foods that contain gluten, including wheat, barley and rye

  • nuts and peanuts (serve them crushed or ground)

  • seeds (serve them crushed or ground)

  • soya 

  • shellfish (don't serve raw or lightly cooked)

  • fish

Once introduced and if tolerated, keep offering those foods as part of your baby’s usual diet (to minimise the risk of allergy). Read more about food allergies and what signs to look out for.

Smooth or lumpy?

  • To help your baby get used to different textures and tastes quickly, try moving on to mashed and finger foods (from purées or blended) as soon as they're ready. This helps them learn how to chew, move solid food around their mouth and swallow solid foods. Give your baby a spoon and let them try feeding themselves – you might need to stick a mat under the highchair though!

  • Babies take different amounts of time to get used to lumps, but it's an important skill they need to learn. Just keep offering them lumpy textures from around 6 to 7 months, and stay with them so you can be sure they are swallowing it safely.

  • Finger foods help get them used to different textures, they love picking bits of food up and feeding themselves – this is also good for developing their hand-eye co-ordination.

What is baby-led weaning?

  • Baby-led weaning means offering your baby only finger foods and letting them feed themselves from the start (rather than spoon feeding them puréed or mashed foods). You can offer a range of small, finger-sized pieces of food.

  • Some parents prefer baby-led weaning to spoon feeding, while others combine a bit of both. There's no right or wrong way – the most important thing is that your baby eats a wide variety of food and gets all the nutrients they need.

Drinks?

  • During meal times, offer your baby sips of water from an open or free-flow cup. Using an open cup, or a free-flow cup without a valve, will help your baby learn to sip and is better for your baby’s teeth.

  • If your baby is younger than 6 months, it’s important to sterilise the water by boiling it first and then letting it cool right down.

  • Sweet drinks like squash, fizzy drinks, milkshakes and fruit juice can have lots of sugar, so avoid these to help prevent tooth decay – even baby and toddler drinks can be sugary.

  • Cows’ milk is not a suitable drink until your baby is 12 months old, but it can be used in cooking or mixed with food from 6 months of age. 

RECIPES

For Recipes https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/weaning/recipes-and-meal-ideas/

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Mealtime socialisation Some studies have explored the nature of communication during the mealtime context. Family mealtimes can vary from between 20 minutes to over 45 minutes depending on the context and age of the child, (Fiese & Schwartz, 2008). Research has suggested that due to the functional and routine aspect of mealtimes, they have an important role in vocabulary growth and consolidation especially if there is an absence of background noise and distraction.