As a parent, there’s always something that we worry about. Whether it’s what our babies or toddlers should be wearing to keep them warm – but not too warm – or how much screen time they should be having as they get older, the internet can be awash with helpful advice. However, it can be hard distinguishing the good advice from the bad.
Top 10 tips for weaning
If you have searched online for tips on weaning, you have probably read a plethora of weaning do’s and don’ts, and it can all get very confusing. With this in mind, we have put together our top 10 tips for weaning which we hope you will find helpful.
1. How long should I wait before weaning?
You should start to think about weaning your baby when they are around 6 months old, but don’t worry if they are not ready at 6 months on the dot – babies don’t stick to a timetable, and some will be more ready than others.
2. What signs will my baby show if they are ready for solids?
There are three main signs that your baby is ready for solid foods:
- Are they able to stay in a sitting position whilst holding their head steady?
- Co-ordination – when they are playing with their toys, are they able to co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth? If so, they will easily be able to look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth without any help from you.
- Are they able to swallow food easily without spitting it out?
If you have answered yes to all three, then your baby is ready for solid foods.
3. How do I start my baby on solid food?
Take it slowly. Start with a small milk feed and then offer your baby a small portion of solid food. Do this once a day at the beginning to get your baby used to new textures and tastes.
4. What foods are best for weaning?
To being with, feed your baby easy to digest food such as baby rice. This can be mixed with breast milk or your regular formula, as they are already used to that taste, and you can then move on to puréed root vegetables and fruit. Once they have mastered puréed food, move on to food that is mashed, lumpy, or that can be eaten using fingers such as meat, fish, eggs (it is advised that egg whites shouldn’t be given to babies before the age of 8 months, however egg yolks are fine), dairy products and starchy food. This helps them learn how to chew and swallow.
5. What food should I avoid when weaning?
Foods that contain salt and sugar should always be avoided. It is also advisable to avoid citrus fruit, whole nuts, shellfish, honey and berries.
6. How do I introduce solid food safely?
Take your time, don’t force your baby to eat, and start by providing a very small amount of food before or after their usual milk feed. As your baby will still be getting much of their energy and nutrients from breast milk or formula, you don’t need to worry about how much food they are consuming – the most important thing is to get them used to the texture and taste of solid food. Don’t worry about overfeeding, as babies naturally know when they are full and will stop and show signs when they have had enough.
7. What is baby-led weaning?
Rather than feeding your baby using a spoon, baby-led weaning is a way of providing solid food so that your baby can feed themselves by providing them with baby-bite-sized pieces of soft food on a plate or on a high-chair tray.
8. Is baby-led weaning better than traditional weaning?
Neither option is better than the other – choose one that suits your baby and you, or a mixture of both.
9. Should I let my baby feed themselves?
Touching and holding the food is important. You can move on from them holding the food and feeding themselves to using a spoon as their dexterity improves.
10. What do I do if they won’t eat very much?
When you first start out weaning your baby, it doesn’t matter how much they eat at this stage. It’s all about getting them used to the idea of eating, as they will still be getting the nutrition they need from breast milk or formula.
Don’t forget the essentials:
- A high-chair so that your baby can sit safely in an upright position to help them swallow the food safely and to aid digestion.
- Plastic bibs that are easy to wipe clean.
- Specialist weaning spoons that are soft on delicate gums and a plastic bowl (ideally with a base that keeps the bowl in place).
- A mat that can be easily cleaned to place under the high-chair, as weaning can be a messy affair.
- Avoid any distractions such as having the TV on.
Recipes for weaning
At Cotton Boulevard, we know a lot about babies and toddlers. However, when it comes to dietary advice, we thought we would leave it to the experts. Visit BBC Good Food website for some great recipes for weaning.
Ensuring your baby and toddler is comfortable
Whether you are nursing your newborn, weaning your 6 month-old, or trying to keep up with your toddler, it’s important not only to get their dietary requirements right but to dress them in appropriate and soft, comfortable clothing. At Cotton Boulevard we have produced a range of clothing for babies and toddlers, from premature babies to toddlers aged 4 years’ old. Take a look at our new collection.