Weaning is the process of slowly giving your baby solid food while they are still getting enough breastmilk or formula. It is an exciting milestone for both you and your baby, as they begin to explore new flavours and textures, and learn how to eat on their own. Here is our guide to the age old question of when should I start weaning my baby?
When is the right time to start weaning?
The NHS recommends that babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life. After that, you can start introducing solid foods while continuing to breastfeed. It is important to remember that every baby is different and may be ready for solid foods at different times.
Some signs that your baby may be ready for weaning include:
Sitting up with support Interest in food when you are eating
Ability to pick up small objects and bring them to their mouth
Loss of the tongue-thrust reflex (the reflex that pushes food out of the mouth)
How to start weaning
The first step in weaning is to introduce your baby to a variety of flavours and textures. Start with single-ingredient purees, such as a small amount of mashed avocado or sweet potato. Gradually increase the variety and texture of foods as your baby becomes more comfortable.
Avoid foods that are likely to cause an allergic reaction, such as cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish.
It’s also important to remember that weaning is not just about introducing solid foods, but also about helping your baby learn how to eat on their own. Encourage your baby to feed themselves, using their hands or a spoon, and let them explore different foods at their own pace.
As your baby becomes more skilled at eating, you can gradually reduce the amount of breastmilk or formula they are getting. This process can take several months, so be patient and follow your baby’s lead.
Weaning can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your baby. By starting slowly and following your baby’s lead, you can help them develop a healthy relationship with food that will last a lifetime. Remember to always consult with your GP or health professional if you have any concerns or questions.