Weaning is a big step for your baby as it marks then end of being sustained purely from milk and is the start of her journey into the world of food. Like most new experiences, food has to be introduced gradually into your baby's diet. It's a big step for your little one, and needs to be handled slowly and carefully. Experts currently recommend that you start at six months - at this age babies can be easily moved onto a mixed diet. If in doubt, your health visitor can also advise you.
What you may need to get you started
First foods - 6 months+
- Mashed (cooked) vegetables e.g. carrot, sweet potato, broccoli
- Mashed fruit e.g. banana or cooked/pureed apricots, apple or pear
- Do not add any salt or sugar
- Milk is still an important part of your baby's diet, so carry on breastfeeding or giving formula (no cow's milk until your baby is over one years old). As your baby eats more solid food, his/her milk intake will continue to decrease
- Introduce finger foods - these encourage your baby to chew, even if they don't have teeth yet. Try cooked vegetables e.g. carrot sticks, green beans - or cubes of cheese, toast, strips of pitta bread.
What's next on the menu - 9 months+
- Your little one will be eating about three meals a day
- They'll be enjoying a similar diet to the rest of the family
- Remember, there's still no need to add salt or sugar
- Never leave your baby alone when eating or drinking
- Allow plenty of time for feeding
- Try to choose a time of day when your baby is relaxed and talk to your baby quietly - to help encourage eating
- Try to relax yourself and don't worry if your baby is not interested at first - simply try again later or on the next day
- If you have been breastfeeding, introduce a beaker or cup rather than a bottle
- Water is the best alternative to milk
- Let your baby touch his or her food (this natural curiosity will help your child to enjoy food)
- Try to eat as a family with your baby – babies love to copy so will be more encouraged to eat if they see you all eating together.
- If your baby won't take food from a spoon try a little on your clean finger
- Avoid sweet biscuits and rusks
Foods to avoid
- Honey (until over 1 year)
- Nuts - not until your child is over 6 years old due to the high risk of choking. If allergies run in the family avoid all nut products.
- Low fat foods - not suitable for those under 2 years old
- Cow's milk (until over 1 years old unless cooking with it)
- Soft unpasteurised cheeses
- Citrus and fruit juices
- Raw/soft boiled eggs