Starting weaning babies onto solid foods for the first time is a really exciting milestone to reach, but it can also bring with it a whole host of questions about the best approach to follow when it comes to weaning.
Moving your baby onto solid food takes time and patience, no matter what approach you take, whether it’s baby led weaning or puree led. It can take time for them to get used to the whole process, from figuring out how to move foods around their mouths to using cutlery.
As a parent, you might be wondering about the journey of weaning and what it involves, but it doesn’t need to be an overwhelming or intimidating time. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to weaning babies onto solids.
How Do I Know My Baby Is Ready For Weaning?
UK guidelines recommend waiting until your baby is 6 months old before you begin weaning babies onto solids, but remember every baby is different, so there are some signs that your baby will show when they are ready to move onto solids. These include:
- Sitting up without support
- No longer pushing solids out of their mouth
- Seem keen to try foods or are more interested in other’s meals
- Coordinate their hands, eyes and mouths
It’s common to mistake other signs, including wanting more milk feeds, chewing their firsts or waking in the night as being signs that they are ready for solid foods. But, these are normal behaviours for babies and are not necessarily signs that they are hungry or ready to start weaning.
A lot of parents are worried about the risk of choking when weaning babies onto solid foods. Your baby has a natural gag reflex when they are born and as they reach weaning age (between 6-7 months), this gag reflex starts to move further towards the back of the tongue and mouth.
As your baby gets used to weaning, both you and your baby will learn more about their abilities to eat, meaning that they will be able to cope with harder foods and textures, but in the early days, they may make loud noises when eating. This is natural and is just them learning how to move foods around their mouth, chew or swallow foods. Gagging is loud, whilst choking is quiet. There’s a rhyme to help you remember the difference between the two – “loud and red, go ahead. Silent and blue, they need help from you”.
How Do I Start Weaning?
If your little one is showing signs of being ready to start weaning, then it’s time to start weaning babies onto solids as a way of getting them used to different tastes and textures. First, you want to decide on which weaning method you want to follow: baby led weaning, spoon feeding or our Tidy Tot sensory weaning approach.
To start with, you want to choose a time of day when your baby isn’t too tired and set time aside so they can go at their own pace without feeling rushed. A good time of day would be before a milk feed, as if you try afterwards, they might be too full and loose interest. Then, it’s just a process of introducing different foods, tastes and textures until your baby begins building an appetite with a focus on solid foods and moves up to three meals a day.
Do I Need Anything To Start Weaning?
When it comes to weaning babies onto solids, there are some things that you can use to make the journey easier for you and your little one.
Weaning babies onto solids is all about giving them the freedom to enjoy, discover and explore their foods without being restricted. Our award-winning Bib & Tray kit has been designed to completely protect your baby’s clothes from weaning mess during mealtimes and give them a large surface area from which to enjoy their foods, all whilst keeping your floor and highchair free from food mess and spills.
When you start weaning babies onto solid foods, investing in a few items can make the process a lot easier. Small tupperware can come in handy if you’re preparing dishes or purees in advance, whilst a good, sturdy high chair gives your little one a good base to eat from. doddl’s baby cutlery sets are designed for when you start weaning babies onto solids and help your little one safely explore cutlery as they begin to grasp the wonders of foods, textures and tastes.
Weaning babies onto solid foods is a gradual process that requires plenty of patience, but it’s also a fun experience for you and your baby. Try to remember that it’s a time for exploration and helps your child to discover a whole new world of flavours and textures!