How can I start to wean my baby onto solid foods?

Updated: Apr 5

Nowadays, this question is controversial. In the UK, 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, publics authorities recommend to wean baby onto solid foods from 4 months considering that before 16 weeks baby body is able to digest others 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 hold their head steady, co-ordinate 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 vegetable 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 vegetable must be used with moderation: Peppers, tomatoes, onions, green leeks (acidity), leafy cabbage, salsify, turnips, dry vegetables (difficult to digest).



Picture: Unsplash


Vegetables


Between the age of 4 to 6 months old, it is a good idea to introduce vegetable 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 vegetable must be used with moderation: Peppers, tomatoes, onions, green leeks (acidity), leafy cabbage, salsify, turnips, dry vegetables (difficult to digest).



Fruits

After discovering veggies, introduce fruits to your baby. Preferably steamed or rip and raw, no sugar added. Introduce to the baby one fruit alone for 3 to 5 days, then you replace fruit mixture with single fruits to discover new taste. For example a purée at lunch and a new single fruit for the snack. Always served with a baby soft spoon. Animals 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 nature dairy instead of milk at midday.



Developing your baby's taste is essential (Picture: freepik)

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, z

- 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 shelfish 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 further information about quantities or if you want to book a weaning workshop session! Feel free to contact me (mathilde.maternitynurse@gmail.com) and get a free Weaning Food Board to print!

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by Mathilde Allemand.