Some people might have the temptation to start introducing solids for hungry babies from a really early age. However unless you have medical advice to the contrary, breastmilk (or formula) is all they need for the first 6 months. I practised baby-led weaning with my youngest fella and it was the least stressful of our weaning experiences. The older boy was introduced to solids at just 4 months under medical supervision because he had chronic reflux.
Once your baby reaches 6 months you can start slowly introducing solid food to their diet. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds.
For more, qualified, information on what to feed your baby as they start weaning visit this HSE resource: https://www.breastfeeding.ie/As-baby-grows/Introducing-family-foods/
Signs that your baby is ready for solids
- They’re starting to develop a ‘pincer’ grasp. This is where they start to pick up items with their thumb and forefinger. Holding things in their hands isn’t enough.
- They can sit up unaided, also known as ‘without support’.
- The baby is seriously interested in your meals, tries to grab your food and put it into their mouth.
- They’ve lost the reflex which pushes food back out of their mouth when they chew. This is called the tongue-thrust reflex.
If you wait until your baby is beyond 6 months of age and can tick the list above, the good news is that they are the perfect candidate for baby led weaning. The beauty of baby led weaning is that you can basically feed the baby what you eat, providing you take care not to introduce too much refined sugar, or salt, to their diet.
My favourite weaning foods:
- Chopped fruit – make sure you chop your grapes lengthways to prevent choking risk.
- Steamed vegetables cut into batons – carrots, potatoes, broccoli
- Fresh Sweetcorn and peas are great to exercise that pincer grasp
- Breadsticks and crackers
- Cooked and cooled pasta such as fusilli or penne
Remember: Weaning is going to make a mess! Sit a high chair on top of an old table cloth for easy clean up after meal times.
Top Tip: Feed the baby from your own plate by sitting them on your knee and giving them a soft spoon to feed themselves.
Disclosure: I am not a dietician or medical expert, these are my personal tips from weaning my babies. I’ve linked to the HSE advice above for anybody who wants to check up on what I’ve said here.