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How to start weaning: our top tips

How to start weaning: our top tips

Make your baby’s first experiences of eating solids as relaxed and pleasurable as possible – read our tips for giving them their very first tastes.

Babies are only used to milk, so they might find their first experiences of solid food a bit strange. Help them get used to the idea of eating solids by getting off to a good start.

Choose the right time to start 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.

Make sure you’re both sitting comfortably

You can hold your upright baby in your lap, or put him in his bouncy chair or highchair , just as long as baby can swallow easily. To be ready for solids, your baby needs to be able to hold his head steady, and swallow his food.

Give some milk first

A very hungry baby won’t take kindly to being offered food for the first time. Give her half her milk feed first, then try the solids.

…But don’t let your baby finish their feed

Otherwise baby will be too full to be interested in more food. It’s a matter of striking a balance. Half-way through a feed is often a good time to offer solids.

Pick the right foods to start weaning

Try some baby rice mixed with milk, or a smooth, very runny purée to start with. Good foods for puréeing include fruit and vegetables, like sweet potato, apple and pear. Ripe 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. Not all foods are suitable for weaning.

Offer a very small taste

Start off with just a few teaspoons of food. Just a little bit of solids on a spoon or on the end of a very clean finger is enough. Make sure the food is cool enough – test it before your offer it to your baby.

Have fun weaning

Don’t worry about mess – let your baby touch and hold the food if they want to. They might like holding the spoon, too.

If at first you don’t succeed…

Try again another day. Your baby might not be interested at first, but don’t worry or force him – just wait until tomorrow and give it another go.

Mum’s tip

‘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

Mum’s tip

‘When he spits out food, I just take that food away for about 30 seconds then offer it to him again. He doesn’t seem to notice!’
Linda, mum of 1

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