Weaning: How to begin

Helpful tips on how to get started with weaning

Get weaning off to a good start

The help you need to get weaning off to a great start

How to begin weaning

How to begin

Begin with a smile! No matter how anxious you may feel. Your baby can read the expressions on your face so if you are anxious he will become aware of this and may become anxious also. So put a smile on your face and talk positively to him/her about the food. Go at his/her pace and remember s/he has a lot to learn which will take time and patience and encouragement from you. Make every meal a pleasure for both of you.

Taking food from the spoon

Some mothers give their baby the small weaning spoon to play with for a few days before the first meal so that it does not feel strange in their mouth. Half fill a plastic weaning spoon with the smooth food and slightly tip it into your baby’s mouth allowing him/her to suck it off. 

Changing the way they use their tongue

When babies suck at the breast or bottle they push their tongue forward and the milk squirts towards the back of the mouth. When you first give solid food, your baby will their tongue forward and the food will come straight back out. This doesn’t mean your baby doesn’t like the food it just means they need to try different tongue movements to find out how to move the food to the back of the mouth. It may take a several attempts for your baby to realise that by not pushing the tongue forward the food will stay in the mouth. Eventually your baby will also learn how to move the food to the back of the mouth to be swallowed. 

Learning new skills in the first few meals

During the first few meals your baby may take very little – just 1 or 2 spoonfuls. Your baby will still be getting all his nutrients and energy from milk. Just keep offering food once a day, every day, so that it becomes part of their routine. Babies need to practice new skills and practice makes perfect!


Your baby will gag food back into his mouth if they try to swallow a quantity that is too large or a lump that is too big. This is normal and is an important part of your baby’s learning process.  

Choking is very different and happens when food gets stuck in the throat and the air tube is blocked. If this happens calmly turn your baby onto their front, resting face down on your thighs, and with the heel of your hand, between the shoulder blades, give 5 sharp back blows. 

Weaning: How to begin