Best first foods for weaning
It is recommended to start weaning when your baby is six months old and when your little one starts showing signs that they are ready to start. When you first start out it is less important how much your baby eats than getting them used to the idea of eating. This can be so much fun!
We've collated some great ideas from mums and weaning experts about how to start out when weaning, whether you're following traditional puree weaning or baby-led weaning.
Signs your baby is ready to start
There are three clear signs your baby is ready to start weaning and ready to start on solid food alongside breastmilk or formula milk.
- They can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady
- They can coordinate their eyes, hands and mouth and bring things to their mouth (you'll notice this when they chew teething toys, maybe when you play with a Babycup in the bath and they start bringing it to their mouth)
- They can swallow food rather than spit it out
It is always a good idea to ask your health visitor if you are unsure in recognising the signs and want a little reassurance.
How to start solid foods
From the start your baby will only need small amounts of food so don't worry about how much they eat. The key here is to master the skill of eating and getting them used to lots of different tastes and textures. They will quickly start to learn the skill of rolling food around their mouth and swallowing it.
Foods to avoid early on are those with sugar and salt but generally speaking one of the best pieces of advice we hear from mums is to take weaning at your baby's own pace. Be patient and keep offering a variety of food, even the ones they appear to not like. It may take ten tries or more before they start to accept the taste of a particular food, and there may be some days they reject it completely. Don't lose heart! Weaning is a marathon, not a sprint and it's all about exploring the different sensory experiences foods has to offer with sight, taste, smell and touch.
We held an Instagram Live with one of our favourite weaning experts, Charlotte Sterling, AKA SR Nutrition, together with Babycup's founder Sara Keel, and together they talked about starting weaning and answered lots of questions with helpful advice. You can catch it here.
How to drink from an open cup
Another weaning skill to learn from six months is the ability to drink from an open cup like Babycup Sippeco First Cups with little sips of water. At this stage it's less about getting them to drink large amounts of fluids from a cup, but to get them to master the skill of holding a cup to their lips and taking little sipping.
Many parents have lots of questions about how and when to introduce water to their baby so we chatted to Amie Lunn, aka The Mummy Nutritionist, a qualified Nutritional Therapist, Breastfeeding Peer Supporter and an advocate for infant health and nutrition, to shed some light on these important questions.
"Little open cups like Babycup Sippeco First Cups are the perfect size for little sips. Up until age 1, babies don’t need much water, as breastmilk or formula provides all the hydration they need. Exclusively breastfed babies will not need any water at all until 6 months, this is because breastmilk adapts to babies’ needs depending on the climate. Before 6 months, formula fed babies may need small amounts of water but only in hot weather. Once your baby reaches 1 year old, you can start offering larger amounts of water between meals and let your little one lead.
Best first foods for weaning
You may have heard that if you start with serving fruit before vegetables your baby will have a lifelong preference for sweet foods, well there's no research to back that up so it's really up to you what you start with. Soft fruit and vegetables like banana, carrot, avocado are all great first foods. They can be easily mashed up or cut into wedges which your baby can pick up if following BLW.
Annabel Karmel has some other good ideas for first foods.
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