It is generally recommended that you begin to wean your baby at around six months. This is a very general guideline as your baby is unique and may be ready before or after this. There are lots of signs you can watch out for which will help you determine if your baby is ready for more than milk feeds alone. Your baby will begin to appear interested in your food and they will no longer get enough nutrition from milk feeds alone.
Weaning is a gradual process which begins with just one or two spoons and slowly builds up to three meals a day over a period of a few weeks or even months in some cases. When choosing your first food for your baby, opt for good quality, fresh produce. Your baby’s food should not contain any additives like salt, sugar, colourings or added flavourings. First foods should also be easy to digest and unlikely to cause any allergies. When beginning to wean your baby you can use a blender to purée vegetables and fruit. You can also use a fork and metal sieve to purée individual portions of food. To start with, try one particular food for a few days and gradually add more types of food to baby’s menu as this will limit the chances of an allergic reaction. Why not try puréed carrot, butternut squash, or swede to start with and then try adding puréed apple or pear after a few days. Ensure you pick fruits and vegetables that are ripe and have a good flavour. Cereals like baby rice are another great first food as they have a milky texture and are easily digested. You can mix them with their usual milk or try adding fruit or vegetable purée.
Once your baby has grown accustomed to fruit, vegetables, and cereals you can gradually add more foods for them to try. You can add foods like lean meat, poultry, fish, and well cooked eggs. If you are unsure as to whether foods are safe for a baby then consult with your G.P. or local health care nurse. Also, remember honey should never be given to a baby under a year old.
Weaning can be a challenging process which takes time to implement, but once you and your baby get the hang of it you will both begin to enjoy the excitement of introducing new flavours and textures.