When we’re practicing baby-led weaning, it can be a confusing to know what to feed our infants at the different ages and stages of weaning.
The HSE recommend that you breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, but acknowledge that babies develop differently and that for some, it’s appropriate to begin at 17 weeks (4 months). Starting before that is dangerous as their kidneys are not mature enough to handle food and drinks other than milk, their digestive systems are not yet developed enough to cope with solid foods and introducing solids too early can increase the risk of obesity and allergy in later life.
However, the flip side of that is that you shouldn’t wait longer than 26 weeks (6 months) to begin because at that point, breastmilk can no longer fulfill their nutritional needs, they need to begin learning important skills like self-feeding and their energy levels require more nutrition.
The three stages to be aware of are:
Stage 1: at about 6 months, not before 4 months
Stage 2: between 6 to 9 months
Stage 3: between 9 to 12 months
But what should we be feeding them in the summer when temperatures are higher? We want them to try lots of new foods, but also lots of nutrient-dense foods that will help them to grow and develop as best as they can.
We’ve compiled a list of summer eats recommended for children who are weaning in the hottest months of the year, to keep their tastebuds entertained and their diet healthy. Check out our stage weaning guide here to check which foods are appropriate for each stage of weaning!
Fruits and veggies
Small, soft pieces of peeled fruit: Ripe pear, banana, peach, nectarine, mango, melon, kiwi.
Veggie sticks: Make sure to roast or boil these until soft, using veggies like parsnip, green beans, turnips or sweet potato
Boiled soft florets of cauliflower and broccoli
Boiled soft slices of pumpkin or butternut squash
Fingers of toast – use butter only before 12 months. Sugar-rich spreads like jams and honey shouldn’t be introduced until later
Well-cooked pasta shapes – be sure to use small, manageable ones, like bow ties or shells
Small pieces of naan or pitta bread – top with hummus with hummus or a smooth, natural peanut butter to add a little flavour
1 small pancake cut into pieces
Stick of firm cheese like cheddar
Yoghurt covered fruits, like banana slices, pear or kiwi - coat them in a yoghurt of your choice and pop them in the fridge for a few hours for some cold and delicious treats!
Small strips of freshly-cooked tender meat or chicken with skins removed (after 6-7 months)
Slices of omelette
Mashed beans – try mixing mashed kidney beans with mashed sweet potato to make potato cakes with extra added protein to them!