Weaning can feel like quite a mammoth milestone for some. You’ve just got to grips with knowing when your baby needs milk, sleep and interaction and now we’re throwing weaning in the mix? Seriously…? More change…..?
It’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed, at any stage of parenting, but especially when embarking on the weaning journey, and that’s why I’m here. As a trusted expert and children’s nutritionist for The Mummy Space I have put together my top 10 tips for successful weaning and will be happy to answer any questions you have, please leave a comment on the blog and I’ll get back to you.
10 Top Tips for Successful Weaning;
- The current advice is to start weaning your baby around 6 months or 26 weeks. Look out for a combination of the following signs to help you decide whether your baby is ready.
- Sitting up with minimal support.
- Good head and neck control.
- Reaching out, picking food up and putting it to their mouth.
- Swallowing more food than they are pushing out. If you notice that your baby is consistently pushing the food out with their tongue it might be best to wait a little longer.
- Start slowly. 1 meal per day at first then use your baby’s cues to guide how quickly you increase to 2 and then 3 meals a day. Aim for 3 meals each day by 7 months as a guide.
- Continue with your baby’s usual milk feeding routine. The milk will be providing the majority of your baby’s energy and nutrients at first so it’s important not to drop a milk feed but to ‘complement’ the milk feeds with slid foods (this is where the term complementary feeding comes from). Your baby will be ready to drop a milk feed when they are eating larger quantities, a variety of foods, 3 times a day.
- Vegetables particularly bitter flavours such as broccoli, green beans, kale, cabbage, avocado, are a good choice for first foods. Getting baby used to bitter flavours first can improve their acceptance of vegetables and new foods later on.
- There are no recommended portion sizes for babies. Start with a few spoonfuls or finger foods and let baby guide you.
- Look out for signs of fullness such as turning their head away from the spoon, clamping their mouth shut, pushing the spoon away or becoming restless when you try to offer more. Avoid pushing or forcing your baby to eat more when they show these signs.
- Offer a variety of foods. Something different every day is fine. There is no need to offer your baby the same food for several days in a row. It is important to encourage a variety of flavours and textures early on to increase their exposure to a wide variety of foods.
- Encourage iron rich foods. At around 6 months your baby’s iron stores are beginning to drop. Adding iron rich foods such as meats, fish, eggs, beans, lentils and dark green leafy vegetables, into the weaning diet is a good way to top up iron stores
- If your baby is reluctant to try a food, don’t worry. Try again a few days later. Research shows that repeated exposure is key so keep trying, eat together, smile, make eye contact, relax and make yummy noises!
- Embrace the mess! There is more to weaning than just eating. It’s a sensory experience and your baby will benefit from exploring their food with all their senses. Let them see, touch and smell the food as well as taste it. Some days they may be more interested in squishing the food between their fingers than eating it and that’s ok. Table manners will come later (much later!). For now let your baby have fun with their food and play, squish, splat and explore it in any way they please!
If you would like to know more about weaning and how to get your baby off to a great start with food Catherine is offering an exclusive 20% off her private weaning workshops and consultations when you quote ‘the mummy space’.
What’s included in a private weaning workshop…?
- A 2-hour weaning workshop with a group of friends at a time and location that suits you,
- An, up to date, evidence-based approach to weaning, what’s best for you baby and how to develop good eating habits from the start
- Information packs and menu planners including top tips and hints for weaning,
- Over 100 recipes to cover all stages of weaning
- Unlimited follow up support via email and telephone until your baby reaches 12 months. A way to ensure you have an expert to answer all your questions throughout the entire weaning process
Full price workshop: £35 per person. Minimum group size of 3 applies. Private 1-2-1 weaning consultations also available, please enquire for prices. 20% discount available for all workshops or consultations booked by 31/05/2019.