How to start weaning, brought to you by someone in your shoes.
Weaning can feel pretty overwhelming, not to mention emotional. But it is also exciting. Exciting as you watch your baby grow and move onto the next phase. Food.
This how-to will give you some key tips on how to start weaning your little one.
How to start weaning from a mum up to her neck in airplanes
There are so many delicious tastes for them to get their gums into, and some not so nice ones too. The first thing I gave my daughter was broccoli with a little breast milk blended in. She actually shuddered at the taste of it.
I went to a weaning course when she was 3 months old. I wanted to get to know as much as I could about something very unfamiliar. I imagined that my little baby would go from on-demand breastfeeding to 3 meals a day and snacks. This really scared me. Made me feel sad too.
But, I look back now and see just how wrong I was. Your baby will still want milk. In fact, milk is the most important source of calories up until they are 1 years old. They’re never going to get enough calories when you first start weaning from 2 teaspoons of blended veggies. Most of which goes on their bib and in their hands as they grab the spoon.
When do I start weaning?
Your baby will show signs of readiness, however it is recommended that your baby doesn’t start solids until 6 months. If there are allergies in the family some people do start early, but always go with the advice of your doctor.
Signs of readiness include:
- Sitting up in high chair and holding head up
- Can swallow food
- Good hand eye coordination – brings food/ toys to the mouth
These are NOT signs of readiness
- Waking more in the night (this could be the 4 month sleep development)
- Trying to grab food from you
- Your baby is big
How to start weaning, what do I need?
- Ice cube tray to freeze purees
- High chair
- Bibs (we have a Bibado that basically covers the whole house…)
- Tupperware if you decide to premake and freeze meals
- Baby bowl and spoons
- Recipe books – I love Ella’s Kitchen -The Purple One
What food do I start with?
Ideally, for the first few weeks you want to start your baby off with blended single taste veggies, the consistency of runny honey.
Once you have gone through all the bitter veggies, you then will go for sweeter ones, like parsnip. Following this try fruits and blends of veg and fruit.
You can then start introducing lumpy textures and finger foods when you feel your baby is ready. If they are refusing this type of texture, then try again in a few weeks. They might just not be quite up to it yet.
When they reach around 7 months you can begin to introduce meat, poultry and fish. Remembering to only give one allergy risk food at a time so if there is an allergy you can know which one.
Foods with allergy risk include:
- Cows milk
What time of day do I start weaning?
You want to make sure it is a fun experience for both you and baby. Try offering food when your baby has had a milk feed and isn’t tired. You also don’t want to be in a rush.
Ideally give your baby food when you are also having something, but at first avoid evenings. Eating just before bed can cause tummy upsets and also if there is an allergy you will be less likely to observe it as you’ll be off to bed too shortly after.
How long does weaning take?
Weaning is a slow process. It doesn’t change from milk to full meals over night. Babies have to get used to swallowing to start with, then flavours. It can take several months and there shouldn’t be any pressure on you or your baby.
Overtime milk feeds will start to drop, especially if they are enjoying calories from delicious foods! If you are breastfeeding make sure you gradually reduce feeds over a number of months so you don’t end up with mastitis. You also want to protect your supply to make sure it doesn’t drop too suddenly.
Some babies take to food very quickly, whereas others just aren’t interested. Be guided by your little person, you know them best. That right there is how to start weaning. With all those missed opportunities to go out and party, you may have saved some money, or spent it all on prams. But if you feel like now is the time to start putting money away for a family house of your own, why not check out our piece on that: