How much does my weaning baby need to eat?
You’ve just got into the groove of milk feeds and before you know it, they’re ready for weaning.
This feeding phase is completely new territory. Along with it comes some questions that aren’t that obvious like: how much do they eat? Are you supposed to just feed them until they decide to stop eating? And what’s the deal with milk feeds, and when do they stop entirely?
Keep going with milk feeds
Weaning does what it says on the tin. You’re gradually decreasing their liquid diet, while gradually introducing solid foods. During the weaning phase, your baby still gets most of their energy and nutrients from their milk. In the beginning, weaning is just about getting a feel for different tastes and textures.
Around the 6-month mark
Remember that milk is still more important than solids at six months,” says Alice Fotheringham, Piccolo infant nutritional specialist. But when it does come to solid foods, remember your tiny baby has a tiny stomach, so we’re talking just a few pieces or teaspoons at a time. Offer them little spoonfuls of mashed fruit or veg just after their milk feed, advises Alice. This is a low-pressure way for them to explore taste and texture. You can try offering them pieces before but if you’ve got a hungry baby on your hands, they probably going to get frustrated and grumbly.
Between 7 and 9 months
Your little food critic is liking the idea of mashed carrots and potatoes or a spot of fruit puree a lot more at this point. They’re probably keen for a few more spoonfuls too. So, soon you should be aiming towards 3 meals a day — morning, noon and night. “Don’t worry when this doesn’t go to plan. Some days they may not want to eat at all and some days will be eager to try all the foods. Just be guided by their appetite,” Alice tells us.
Mealtimes followed by milk feeds is a good routine to get into to ensure they’re exploring different tastes and getting the energy and nutrients they need. “Each baby is different,” Alice reminds us. “As long as they are taking their milk, it doesn’t matter if they are a bit slower on the uptake when it comes to solids.”
Don’t just stick to fruit and veg. This is the time to expand your repertoire and start striking a balance between the various food groups as part of their meals. “Offer varied sources of quality protein and good fats (yes, you can add olive oil to vegetables!),” recommends Alice. Oily fish is another thing to add to the menu — an essential for healthy brain development.
At this point, some babies are eating three meals a day and others are still just getting familiar with food — both are equally common and absolutely fine. This is still a key point to keep introducing new foods. You may notice your little one loses interest in trying new foods; the novelty can wear off, apparently! “Don’t be disheartened by this,” says Alice. “Try to persevere with the wide variety of foods to enable them to have a wide increase of nutrients in their diet.
Around the one-year mark, they’re no longer dependent on milk for their nutrients. “So, make sure they have a good balance of complex carbohydrates, green leafy vegetables, quality plant and animal-based proteins and good quality fats,” says Alice.
Finally, worried they’re not getting enough? Alice reassuringly adds “Look at the wider picture of what they have had over the week (in terms of nutrients and portions), as it usually balances itself out!”
Piccolo range and recipes
Remember, you’re not going it alone. In fact, Piccolo’s infant nutrition specialist and nutritional chef, Alice Fotheringham, has put together loads of simple and tasty recipes online to help you whip up everything from first purees to finger foods, family dinners.
Also, for those non-stop days where life takes over, Piccolo pouches can come in super-handy. The wide range of wholesome recipes suitable for every stage of weaning.