Weaning is generally not recommended before six months of age until which time breast milk usually provides all the nutrition a baby needs. Sometimes a baby between the ages of four and six months may need extra nutrition and be ready to move onto very early weaning foods.
If your baby is showing the early signs of being ready for weaning experiment with these textures and flavors to interest and encourage your baby. You can feed just a spoon or two once a day at a time your baby seems hungriest and most receptive to trying new things, and increase as your baby’s appetite and confidence grows.
• Baby cereals mixed with your baby’s usual milk, breast or formula.
• Pureed fruit such as banana, apricot or pear.
• Pureed vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, carrot or squash.
You can add purees to your baby’s cereal or feed alone but not too much fruit until your baby becomes used to it as this can cause an upset tummy.
You can begin to mash the above foods as your baby becomes used to them and develops.
At seven to nine months your baby should be offered blended and mashed food with some soft lumps and finger food can be introduced.
Once your baby is confidently exploring different textures and tastes and is beginning to get hungrier, you can introduce a much more varied diet. The following foods are good weaning basics.
• Well-cooked mashed or scrambled eggs
• Full fat dairy products such as yoghurt, fromage frais or pasturized soft cheese.
• Blended meat with chicken or vegetables or mashed fish such as salmon
• Finger foods like peeled soft fruit, pasta or cheese
• Rice cakes or cereal rusks designed especially for babies.
At this stage offer a little food with each meal and let your baby’s appetite and enthusiasm guide the amount. It is important the breast or formula milk still make up a proportion of your baby’s diet so do not let your baby fill up on solid food entirely!
At nine to twelve months your baby can begin to join in with family meals – three meals a day with two to three healthy snacks. Family meals may need to be cut or mashed and be careful not to include too much sugar or salt, which is bad for all the family but certainly your baby.
Always stay with your baby when your baby is eating for safety. A young baby can choke easily.