Weaning : Starting Your Baby On Food
Weaning is the process by which babies who were fully reliant on milk are introduced to solid foods.
It starts with the first mouthful of food and ends with the last feed of breastmilk or formula milk .
When and how solid foods are introduced is vital to establishing healthy eating habits and limiting fussy eating.
This article provides successful weaning tips, including foods to choose and avoid, proper timing and potential concerns.
Small amounts of solid food can provide these nutrients.
Experts also suggest looking for signs that a baby is developmentally ready for solids. These include (
- Can hold food in their mouth and is willing to chew
- Can pick up food and put it in their mouth
- Is curious at mealtimes and keen to get involved
It is rare for babies to be ready for solids before 4-6 months.
If you think your baby is showing signs that they are ready for solids but arent yet 6 months old, speak to your pediatrician for advice.
Solids should be introduced at 4-6 months of age when babies require additional nutrients that cannot be obtained through milk alone.
How Should I Start Solids
When the time is right, you can start with a single-grain, iron-fortified baby cereal. Start with 1 or 2 tablespoons of cereal mixed with breast milk, formula, or water. Feed your baby with a small baby spoon. Dont add cereal or other food to a baby’s bottle because it can lead to too much weight gain. Let your baby practice eating from a spoon and learn to stop when full.
When your baby gets the hang of eating the first food, introduce others, such as puréed meat, fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, or yogurt. Try one food at a time and wait a few days before trying something else new to make sure your baby doesn’t have an allergic reaction.
Foods that are more likely to cause allergies can be among the foods you introduce to your baby. These include peanuts, eggs, cows milk, seafood, nuts, wheat, and soy. Waiting to start these foods does not prevent food allergies. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about food allergies, especially if any close family members have allergies, food allergies, or allergy-related conditions, like eczema or asthma.
Infants with severe eczema or egg allergies are more likely to have allergies to peanuts. Talk to your doctor about how and when to introduce these foods to your child.
When starting your baby on solids, avoid:
Also, do not give fruit juices to infants younger than 12 months old.
Which Foods Should You Avoid Giving To Your Baby In The First Year
As exciting as it might be to introduce your little foodie to all of your faves, there are some foods that are not safe for Babys plateno matter how ready your kiddo seems. Those foods include:
- Honeyit can carry a nasty form of food poisoning called botulism that can cause temporary paralysiseven death.
- Easy-to-choke-on foods, such as hard candy, ice cubes, hotdogs, whole grapes, dried fruits , hard vegetables , popcorn, corn chips, seeds, and nuts. Nuts are a particularly serious cause of choking. Its wise to avoid them until 3 to 4 years of age.
Also Check: What’s The Cost Of Solar Panels
Best First Foods For Baby: Purees
Here are some of our favorite purees to start offering baby when theyre ready to start solids. Remember: Theres no evidence that says that you need to start with vegetables versus fruits, so go with something that tastes good to you. Start with single foods pureed smooth and offer just a little at a time on a spoon.
TIP: One of my favorite baby food companies is Amara Organic Baby Food, a company using a nutrient protection technology that makes organic purees just as good as homemade. I love how easy they are to use when I need a shortcut and that they have fun baby-led weaning recipes on the side of every box!
How Should I Introduce Solid Food To My Baby
Introducing solid foods to a baby can be done by pureeing, steaming or mashing each item at a time. Start with fruits, move to boiled lentils, then to rice, ragi, etc. Give one type of food for 2-3 days to see if the baby has an allergy to that food. Remember not to add any salt or sugar to the food. Start with a small teaspoon, and see how the baby reacts to the feel of the spoon and the texture of food, before giving it to her. If the baby refuses, do not force, but try again after a week or so.
You May Like: Does My House Qualify For Solar Panels
Stage One Baby Puree Video
While the recipes themselves are simple, in this video I will show you how to add in a pinch of cinnamon, rosemary, curry, or mint to quickly roasted or steamed fruits and vegetables that enhance their natural flavors. In other words, these are simple purees that I am pretty sure you will want to eat as well!
How To Cut Foods For Blw
You generally want the food to be big enough that it would be difficult for baby to put the entire thing into their mouths. Here are some specifics:
- Foods that are roughly the size of a finger, so about a 4-inch stick.
- Foods that are easy for the baby to pick upthey cant pick up small pieces until closer to 9 months when they develop the ability to use their fingers in whats known as a pincer grasp.
- Foods that arent too slipperyso you can wash and leave some of the peel on fresh foods like bananas, avocado, kiwi, and mango.
TIP: You can also go even bigger if youre worried about size. Think half of a slice of bread or a big chunk of watermelon.
Don’t Miss: How Far Can Solar Panels Be From House
When What And How To Introduce Solid Foods
For more information about how to know if your baby is ready to starting eating foods, what first foods to offer, and what to expect, watch these videos from 1,000 Days.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend children be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula when they are about 6 months old. Introducing foods before 4 months old is not recommended. Every child is different. How do you know if your child is ready for foods other than breast milk or infant formula? You can look for these signs that your child is developmentally ready.
- Sits up alone or with support.
- Is able to control head and neck.
- Opens the mouth when food is offered.
- Swallows food rather than pushes it back out onto the chin.
- Brings objects to the mouth.
- Tries to grasp small objects, such as toys or food.
- Transfers food from the front to the back of the tongue to swallow.
Starting Solid Foods Too Early
There are many misconceptions that come along with the decision to feed an infant solid foods before 6 months of age- a common belief being that feeding solid foods such as cereal will make an infant sleep through the night. In reality however, sleeping through the night is actually associated with mental development, not the fullness of an infant. Feeding an infant solid foods before 6 months may increase the risk of choking, food allergies, gastric discomfort, and becoming overweight or obese later in life.
Recommended Reading: How Many Solar Panels Can I Have On My Roof
In Brief: Feeding Your Baby Solid Foods
Before 6 months, breastmilk alone meets all your babys energy and nutrition needs.
Start to introduce soft foods at 6 months when your baby needs more energy and nutrients than your milk alone can provide.
At 6 months, start giving your baby just two to three spoonfuls of soft food, such as porridge, mashed fruits or vegetables, twice a day.
Start feeding both breastfed and non-breastfed babies solid foods at 6 months. Waiting too long can put your baby at risk.
Up to 6 months old
From the first hour of life, through to 6 months old, your baby can receive all of the nutrition she needs to grow and develop from your milk. She doesnt need anything else no water, tea, juice, porridge or any other foods or fluids during this period.
Myth: Babies need solid food sooner than 6 months old
When you breastfeed your baby frequently, starting foods earlier than 6 months is not necessary and can even be harmful.
Introducing foods or fluids other than breastmilk to your baby before she is 6 months old can increase her risk of illnesses, such as diarrhoea, which can make her thin and weak, and even be life-threatening. Your baby may also breastfeed less often, so your supply of milk, her most vital food, may decrease.
A mothers milk is the safest and healthiest food for the first 6 months of life for all children everywhere. It is a constant, safe source of essential nutrition, wherever you and your baby live in the world.
Myth: Boys need more than breastmilk
What Are The Best Foods And Textures To Start With
Offer your baby healthy, nutritious foods which will support their growth and development. When they first start on solid foods, they won’t need much. One to 2 teaspoons is plenty until they learn what’s involved in coordinating their mouth to open, chew and swallow.
Start by offering your baby pureed foods that have a smooth and easy-to-swallow texture. Even though your baby won’t have teeth to chew and grind their food, they will still use their gums to ‘chew’. As they get older, they can eat foods with more texture. Chewing also helps with jaw and speech development.
You can try feeding your baby:
- iron-fortified cereals
- pureed or minced red or white meat, including fish
- cooked vegetables. Aim for white, orange, green and yellow vegetables in their diet each day.
- fruit, either cooked or mashed
- cooked and mashed egg
- dairy foods for example, unsweetened yoghurt and full-fat cheese
- wholegrain bread, cereal and pasta
As your baby grows, transition them from purees to mashed foods with lumps and textures. You can also serve minced or chopped food, then ‘finger foods’. These are foods that are cut into small pieces which babies can pick up and eat themselves.
Recommended Reading: Do You Need Sun For Solar Panels
Feeding Your Baby Solid Food
Babies should be fed only breastmilk or formula until about 6 months of age. Solid foods can then be started when your baby is ready. A baby is ready to eat from a spoon when he or she can maintain a sitting position while supported low at the hips, keep his or her tongue in the mouth and watch or act like they want to eat with others. If you question whether your baby is ready to start solid foods, please ask your pediatrician or dietitian.
Is A Vegetarian Or Vegan Diet Safe For My Baby
Babies and toddlers fed a vegetarian or vegan diet can thrive as long as their food contains sufficient energy and nutrients for growth.
Iron is especially important from 6 months. Nut pastes , avocado, wholegrains, tofu, healthy fats and oils are all great options. Iron-fortified cereal and green leafy vegetables are also essential.
If you are planning to offer your baby a vegan or vegetarian diet, speak to an Accredited Practising Dietitian before getting started.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Current Efficiency Of Solar Panels
It Can Be A Teaching Tool
Once your baby adapts to the mushy texture of baby cereal, you can gradually make it thicker by adding less liquid . The familiar bland-tasting flavor guarantees eager eating, while the thicker textures help your baby learn how to chew and swallow. Thickened baby cereal also has potential health benefits: Babies with gastroesophageal reflux or dysphagia need their food to be thicker in order to swallow safely.
Whats more, the semi-solid texture of baby cereal serves as a stepping stone for other finger foods, such as softened fruits, vegetables, and meats. Your baby may have an easier time starting solids if she tries baby cereal first.
When To Start Baby Food
The American Academy of Pediatrics says you should introduce solids between 4 and 6 months, but the answer depends on your baby. He might be ready if he exhibits the following signs:
- Sitting upright and holding up his head
- Looking around himself curiously
- Ability to swallow and loss of tongue thrust reflex
- Seeming dissatisfied from milk alone
Read Also: Do Solar Pool Covers Heat The Water
Tips For Serving Fruit To Baby As A Finger Food
Recipes For Every Stage Of Starting Solids
If youre ready to start solids with baby, or youre just curious what it looks like to do a mix of baby led weaning and purees, check out my Yummy Baby Food cookbook. It goes stage by stage with specific foods to start in each, with simple recipes and easy feeding tips.
Listen to a recent podcast episode to hear about some of the basics of BLW with our guest Megan McNamee, MPH, RDN, CLT, and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in pediatric nutrition who runs Feeding Littles.
Don’t Miss: How To Use Pine Sol On Wood Floors
Can You Mix Baby Led Weaning And Purees
Absolutely! I think its a great idea to mix the two methods simply because it gives you many more options for foods and allows the baby to experience more textures. I recommend allowing babies to feed themselves preloaded spoonsso you put the puree on a spoon, then hand it to them to actually put the spoon into their mouthso they still have control over what goes into their mouths.
TIP: Feeding some purees is also helpful if youll be sending food with a baby to daycare since the care provider may not have experience with blw.
Tips For Serving Veggies To Baby
Don’t Miss: What Is A Sole Proprietor Business License
Are There Any Foods My Baby Shouldn’t Eat
There are some foods that are not suitable for infants, including:
- cow’s milk as their main milk drink from 6 to 12 months
- reduced-fat milk or unpasteurized milk and dairy foods
- whole nuts, popcorn, hard sweets, whole grapes, raw carrot, raw apples or other hard fruit and vegetables
- honey this can contain spores of botulism
- cordial, soft drink or sweet drinks
- tea, coffee or energy drinks
How Should I Prepare Food For My Child To Eat
At first, its easier for your child to eat foods that are mashed, pureed, or strained and very smooth in texture. It can take time for your child to adjust to new food textures. Your child might cough, gag, or spit up. As your babys oral skills develop, thicker and lumpier foods can be introduced.
Some foods are potential choking hazards, so it is important to feed your child foods that are the right texture for his or her development. To help prevent choking, prepare foods that can be easily dissolved with saliva and do not require chewing. Feed small portions and encourage your baby to eat slowly. Always watch your child while he or she is eating.
Here are some tips for preparing foods:
Recommended Reading: Do You Need Solar Panels For Tesla Powerwall