17 weaning tips
from expert mum bloggers
Weaning is an important milestone for a baby and one that can be surrounded by confusion and unpredictability for a lot of parents. We have got some valuable advice from experienced mum bloggers who have been through the weaning process and we have picked their brains on their top tips.
→ When to start
The government suggests that weaning should start at 6 months however some parents can start earlier or later depending on the needs of their baby. If you are unsure check with your health visitor and be flexible each baby is different so try not to compare.
→ Signs to look out for
Jenny from The Brick Castle blog explains “Start weaning when your child is ready for it. They’ll be disgruntled and dissatisfied, waking more and very interested in your food, even snatching at it.” Pea from Working Mum blog adds “The general advice is to never start before the baby reaches 4 months. I started weaning at 4 months because my baby son was showing interest in food. He was grabbing food from my plate.”
→ What to avoid
Jenny from The Brick Castle adds “Avoid stress! Mealtimes should be fun joint affairs. Eat together and don’t fret about how much your baby eats, they’re tiny and still getting enough nourishment from milk at first. Don’t rush into variety.”
Pea from Working Mum blog Avoid comparing with other babies (yours or other peoples). Each child develops their interest in their own time.” Be patient and focus on reading your baby.
→ Is baby led the way forward?
The choice is really up to you and how your baby takes to it. Some mums do find it easier to start with baby led for example Lynsey from Mummy that’s Me swears by baby led weaning. Some mums find feeding their baby a range of purees and foods a lot more effective. Which ever way you chose there is no right or wrong way as long as your baby gets to try different foods and flavours then that is the main thing.
→ Relax and smile
Try and make feeding time fun, try not to stress if your little one doesn’t take to the foods you are trying. Your baby will have certain foods that he or she will like more than others, that is normal. Keep trying all types of tastes and flavours at least twice and don’t forget your baby’s taste buds are constantly changing, foods they may not like now, they may like in a few months time.
→ Useful books and aids
Pea from Working Mum blog “I found Ella’s Kitchen products and recipe book very useful. The recipe book came with a food map that outlined types of food to introduce. It even had stickers and milestones that I loved. It just made the whole experience light and fun”
→ Mess will happen
Be prepared for mess, it is inevitable! Try and feed your baby in a wipe clean area, also invest in some easy to clean bibs and aprons and obviously don’t wear your best clothes when feeding.
→ Foods to start with
Jenny from The Brick Castle “baby rice, sweet potatoes and carrot sticks may seem boring to you, but they’re fascinating to a baby. Start them on complex foods too early and you are more likely to provoke an allergy. They have the rest of their lives to try everything, so wait until the recommended time.”
→ Puree or whole food
This totally depends on your baby, it is a good idea to try both and see which your baby prefers. Ideally alternating with purees and whole foods is a good start. Invest in some good containers or ice cube trays to freeze any extra purees for busier times.
→ Weaning preparation
Jenny from The Brick Castle “Preparing baby food can take up hours, it can cause you a great deal of stress and often isn’t necessary. Try to give them portions of what you are eating and eat together. Having your roast dinner with a little one gnawing on potato, peas and chicken in their high chair will boost their social skills no end and bring you together as a family – and prevent you spending half the meal getting up and down!”
→ Mix and match
If your little one prefers sweeter tastes over savoury then try mixing savoury vegetables with sweeter vegetables and fruits. Sweet potato, peas and butternut squash are ideal vegetables that can be mixed with more savoury vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and potato.
→ Control and independence
Having some easy to use and safe cutlery for your little one is very handy; something that they can grip and use easily will give them the confidence to start feeding themselves.
→ What if baby chokes
Lottie from Oyster and Pearl blog adds some very useful advice “Many parents are worried about choking when they first start weaning so it can be a good idea to go on a baby first aid course. Choking is actually really rare though and often gets muddled with gagging. If your baby is making a noise then it’s gagging rather than choking and most of the time babies need to do this to understand how to feed themselves manageable sized portions.”
Distractions such as books, toys and music can help if your baby is struggling to sit through feeding times.
Babies can get bored even if they are not at the crawling or walking stage their attention spans are short so do try aids to see if that helps.
→ Portion sizes
Pea from The Working Mum blog “Start with small goals. My goal was one teaspoon of solid per day, then per meal and then increased again to meet by baby son’s need. My son was being breastfed on demand and it took until he was 13 months before he started to eat one baby portion per meal.”
→ Stave off the hunger
A little bit of milk before a food feed can work wonders if your baby is very hungry and starving. Patience is required for both parents and baby and if your baby is too hungry he or she may get frustrated or upset, tiding them over with a bit of milk may help.
→ What if my baby refuses?
There will be times when your baby may not want to try new tastes and may just want to stick to milk. At times like this that you may feel you are taking a step backwards but fear not, there will be good days and not so good days but your baby will slowly make progress when you look back in a few months time. Slummy Single Mummy adds some very reassuring advice “I would say relax, and go at your own pace. My youngest wouldn’t really eat any solid foods until she was about 11 months. But she can polish off a bacon sandwich in no time now!
They all come to it in their own time – just trust your instincts!”
References and thanks