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4 things to know while weaning your baby

You may have mastered the breast or bottle-feeding stage, but you’re not a full-fledged mum until you’ve had pureed carrot flung into your hair. Making a mess is all part and parcel of the weaning process when your baby switches to solid foods. But while you may have many mucky mealtimes ahead of you, this is an exciting time for your little one to try new tastes and textures.

 

Baby weaning food

 

1. When to start weaning  

 

You should only start weaning at six months, regardless of whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding your baby, as babies get all the nutrients they need from breast milk or infant formula prior to this. Any earlier and your child’s digestive system and kidneys are not ready to deal with solid food. Also, early weaning has been linked to digestive problems and obesity later in life.

 

Look out for the surefire signs that your little one is ready to take on the hard stuff.

They can:

-   Stay in a sitting position

-   Swallow food safely

-   Pick up food and put it into their mouths, unaided

 

2. What weaning equipment you need

 

 Gear up for the feeding challenge ahead with a high chair (always opt for one that is easy to wipe clean), soft weaning spoons and plastic bowls, bibs, disposable or plastic messy mats to protect the floor, and a blender to turn all those dishes into baby-friendly mush.

 

3. How to make weaning easier

 

There will be days when your baby will gulp down every spoon, and others when it is just a battle to get them into the highchair. You can increase your chances of success with these tips:

-   Timing: start at a time when your baby is fully awake, happy and half full

-   Keep it simple: for the first time, try basic baby rice to get your little one used to a thicker texture

-   Have fun: forget all your table manners and get messy and playful with the food

-   Small measures: start with just a few spoonfuls

 

4. What to include in a weaning menu

 

 Start with a simple vegetable or fruit puree - carrot or pear are always popular, and then you can move on to blended or mashed potato, parsnip, apples or bananas. If your baby doesn’t find these too hard to swallow, introduce a new taste every three to four days – and start to combine flavours. Homemade is always best and, to save time, make up batches of different pureed dishes and freeze them in individual serving pots.