Weaning is the process of introducing solid foods to a baby's diet, in addition to their milk feeds. Weaning normally begins by the age of six months. This is the age at which milk feeds alone become insufficient to provide all the nutrients and calories babies need to grow and develop normally.
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 child's usual milk.
How much your baby eats depends on their appetite so let your baby guide you on how much food they need, never force them to eat and be responsive to your baby when giving them solid foods and learn to recognise when they are hungry and when they have had enough.
It is important to introduce foods that may cause allergic reactions one at a time, in very small amounts, so that you can spot any reaction. These include foods such as:
- cows milk
- foods containing gluten (including wheat, barley, and rye)
Advice on introducing solid foods from around 6 months is the same for vegetarian and vegan babies, as it is for non-vegetarian babies. Babies on a vegetarian or vegan diet can get the energy and most of the nutrients they need to grow and develop from a well-planned and balanced diet. If you are following a vegetarian or vegan diet it is advisable that you speak to your health visitor or doctor for more advice.
At Banana Moon, we support our parents with weaning once they have begun the process at home. At the start of the weaning process, we will ask you to let us know which foods you have tried your child with and we will keep a record of these foods and continue to support you as you add new foods to your child's diet.
Here are some suggestions from the NHS website of equipment you will need when you are ready to start your child's weaning journey:
- a high chair-its important that your child is sitting safely and strapped-in in an upright position so that they can swallow properly.
- first cup-encourage your baby to sip water from a cup with their meals instead of a bottle (open cups or free flow cups without a valve help your baby to learn to sip and is better for their teeth)
- spoons-soft weaning spoons usually made of rubber or plastic are easier on your babies gums
- plastic bowls-ideally ones with suction bases or they like to end up on the floor!
- Ice cube trays-very useful for batch cooking and freezing small portions
- bibs-easy to clean plastic bibs are best in the beginning
- a messy mat-or even a newspaper under the high chair is essential for messy eaters!
REMEMBER-babies learn a lot from watching you eat. Sit down together for family meal times as much as possible and your baby will quickly learn routines.
@BananaMoon - 1 year ago