7 Top Tips For Successful Weaning
25th January 2019
In the early days when you start to offer your baby their first foods, it’s the beginning of a big exploration journey for them and for you! It can be a scary time for lots of parents, so we’ve put together seven easy, everyday things you can do with your baby to help them develop healthy eating habits that’ll last for life.
- Getting started
It’s an exciting time where they’ll get to experience a variety of foods starting with fruit, vegetables, cereals (e.g. rice or millet), followed soon after by protein (e.g. beans, lentils, chicken and fish), dairy (e.g. cheese and yoghurt) and finger foods – if you’ve chosen to baby led wean.
- New flavours
It’s a massive learning curve for them, as up until this point they’ve only been exposed to milk, but then suddenly their world is opened up to new flavours and textures. We are born with an innate preference for sweetness, so it’s important to offer vegetables first and introduce bitter flavours early on during their weaning journey. Foods such as broccoli, cauliflower and spinach are a good choice. It’s also good for them to try small amounts of different foods first, to help them distinguish individual flavours and differences between them all.
- New Textures
These early days are also about trying new textures whether that be from whole cooked or soft raw foods (if following the baby led weaning approach). Or if offering purees first, then your little one will progress from eating runny, thin and thicker purees through to mashed, lumpy, minced and chopped food.
If your baby appears to pull a face when trying out a new food, remember that the whole eating experience is new to them. They are just familiarising themselves with the new tastes, flavours, smells and textures that are being introduced to them. If they continue to be resistant, don’t force them, just wait and try again at the next meal or the following day. Be led by their appetite, they might not be hungry, may be tired or possibly feeling unwell.
These early days are a great time to introduce a wide variety of food, while they are more receptive to it. Just remember it can take multiple attempts – particularly with vegetables – to get your little one to accept, embrace and enjoy them. Repeated exposure is key!
- Learning to use cutlery
Using cutlery is another new skill your little one will be starting to learn. They may start to grab at the spoon when you’re offering them food, so try and encourage their independence and let them have a go at feeding themselves, even if it gets messy! If they aren’t actually feeding themselves much food, you could try feeding them with another spoon in between their attempts.
- Make meals and occasion
The social aspect of eating together at the table is a new event to your little one. They’ll be more likely to enjoy eating their food if they have the opportunity to sit and learn through watching you eat a meal at the same time.
- Keeping hydrated
Finally, around 6 months your little one will start to use a beaker or cup, another skill they will master with their increasing dexterity. Babies need extra fluids in their diet, not just from milk alone. Water is the best drink for this and is an essential accompaniment to food at meal time to help replace fluid lost through urine.
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