Nowadays, this question is controversial. In the UK, the NHS advises to start weaning babies from 6 months. Their main argument is at this age it’s easier for your baby to digest the food he eats because his digestive system is mature. But it is also to avoid early breastfeeding cessation.
On the other hand, in France, public authorities recommend wean babies onto solid foods from 4 months, considering that before 16 weeks the baby body is able to digest other food than milk. If you do decide to start your baby on solids between four and six months, it’s safest not to give him foods that can cause an allergic reaction. Moreover, before 6 months offer your baby mix purée to avoid the risk of choking.
There are 3 clear signs, which, when appearing together show your baby is ready for their first solid foods alongside breast milk or first infant formula. Your baby is ready if he stays in a sitting position and holds their head steady, coordinating their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth by themselves and swallow the food (rather than spit it back out).
At the beginning, how much your baby eats is less important than getting them used to the idea of eating. They’ll still be getting most of their energy and nutrients from breast milk or first infant formula. Introduce 1 new food at a time and wait 3 days minimum between 2 new foods. minimum between 2 new foods.
Vegetables Between the age of 4 to 6 months old, it is a good idea to introduce vegetables for lunch, steamed, no salt added. Each vegetable must be introduced for a duration of 3 to 5 days. Once 2 or more vegetables are introduced, it is possible to offer a mix of several vegetables. Completed every meal with milk. Some of the following vegetables must be used with moderation: Peppers, tomatoes, onions, green leeks (acidity), leafy cabbage, salsify, turnips, dry vegetables (difficult to digest).
Between the age of 4 to 6 months old, it is a good idea to introduce vegetables for lunch, steamed, no salt added. Each vegetable must be introduced for a duration of 3 to 5 days. Once 2 or more vegetables are introduced, it is possible to offer a mix of several vegetables. Completed every meal with milk. Some of the following vegetables must be used with moderation: Peppers, tomatoes, onions, green leeks (acidity), leafy cabbage, salsify, turnips, dry vegetables (difficult to digest).
After discovering veggies, introduce fruits to your baby. Preferably steamed or ripe and raw, no sugar added. Introduce the baby to one fruit alone for 3 to 5 days, then you replace fruit mixture with single fruits to discover new tastes. For example a purée at lunch and a new single fruit for the snack. Always served with a baby soft spoon. Animal proteins Meat and Fish mixed with vegetables should be introduced when the baby is over 6 months old. It is then possible to offer a yogurt or other natural dairy instead of milk at midday.
Foods to avoid (before 9months)
There are some foods to avoid at first (before 9months):
- Or for their allergenic power such as eggs, tomatoes, celery, fruits to hulls (almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts), red fruits,
- either because of their excessive taste and the problems of fermentation which lead to intestinal disorders and pain (cabbage, salsify, pepper, green peas, green leek.)
- No sausage and no shellfish before 2 years.
- Processed foods can contain hidden allergens, so check ingredients labels carefully before offering a new food to your little one.
Remember that starting to wean your baby does not mean you have to give up to breastfeed! Your baby will decrease the frequency of feed in a day, therefore it may low your milk production. You can express your milk to keep the production stimulated.
Talk to your GP before starting to wean your baby if he was born prematurely, if you have some family history of allergy or if your baby does not show signs of readiness after 6 months.
If you need more advice and further information about quantities, book a Starting Solid Foods Session with us and get a free Weaning Food Board to print!
Cover image: @stephen-andrews-unsplash