How to start weaning
Weaning is a hugely exciting time for babies as they try new tastes and textures. And at first, it’s all about fun, learning and experimentation. Here’s how to get weaning off to a good, relaxed start...
At a glance
- At first, weaning is all about fun, learning and experimentation
- To be ready for solids, babies need to be able to hold their head steady, and swallow their food
- Choose a time of day when your little one is awake and alert but not distracted
Weaning a baby involves a taste explosion
So you drink warm, sweet milk all day, every day of your life. Then suddenly one day mum’s grinning at you like mad and you’re tasting CARROTS, PEARS, APPLES, and BANANAS!!
Weaning is an incredibly exciting time for a baby’s development as they try out new tastes and textures for the first time. Looking astonished, appalled and delighted all at once, babies push food around their mouth, push it out by mistake, push away the spoon and sometimes grab for more.
You, baby and the floor get sprayed in mashed fruit - and not much food goes down. But that’s fine, because you’re only just getting started. Here’s how to make weaning a success from the start...
Choose the right time of day for weaning
Your baby won’t be in the mood for food if they’re sleepy. Choose a time of day when they’re awake and alert, but not distracted. And make sure you’ve got plenty of time – you don’t want to rush.
When it comes to weaning mums need all the support they can get on what to introduce when and how to get little ones eating a range of solid foods for the first time.
Pick the right foods to start weaning
Try a smooth purée to start with. Good foods for puréeing include fruit and vegetables, like apple and pear or potato and carrot or sweet potato and cauliflower. Ripe well mashed banana can go down well, too.
You can also try finger foods, like soft fruit or avocado that the baby can pick up. Cut pieces to about the size of your own finger, so your baby can hold them. Just make sure you don’t give soft round foods like grapes or cherry tomatoes that your baby can choke on.
Offer a very small taste
Start off with a few teaspoons of food - just a little bit of solid food on a spoon or on the end of a clean finger is enough. Make sure the food is cool enough – test it before your offer it to your baby.
Watch your baby learn new skills
The very first mouthful may come straight back out because your baby has pushed their tongue forwards as they do when they are breastfeeding or drinking from a bottle. It may take a few mouthfuls or even a few meals to work out that if they push their tongue backwards the food will stay in their mouth and they will be able to swallow it.
Weaning can be fun
Don’t worry about mess – let your baby touch and hold the food if they want to. They might like holding the all-exciting spoon, too. And if it doesn’t work, just try again another day. Your baby might not be interested at first, but don’t worry or force them – just wait until tomorrow and give it another go.
Check out our guide to essential products to make baby and toddler weaning easier!
What mums say about weaning
‘Opening your mouth really wide when you want the baby to open their mouth really does work. I always find myself opening my mouth when I’m feeding her anyway… but if you really exaggerate it, it seems to encourage them." -Pauline, mum of 3