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When & How to Start Weaning

Hey all, today I’ve got something a bit different. Leo is now 4 months old so we’ve started thinking about weaning. Charlotte Stirling-Reed, author of…

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Hey all, today I’ve got something a bit different. Leo is now 4 months old so we’ve started thinking about weaning. Charlotte Stirling-Reed, author of the new book “How to wean your baby” has written the following article for you (well, mostly for me!) if you at the same stage as me – just about to start weaning and not quite sure where to start. There’s also a free webinar that you can attend to learn more, the details are at the bottom of the post. 

how and when to start weaning text with image of vegetables and food in a bowl

Ideally weaning should begin at “around 6 months of age”, but all babies are different and won’t always meet milestones at exactly the same time. That’s why the NHS recommend some clear signs to look out for to show that baby is ready for weaning. These include:

  1. Stay in a sitting position, holding their head steady
  2. Coordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at their food, pick it up and put it in their mouth
  3. Swallow food (rather than spit it back out) – babies who aren’t ready will push more food back out with their tongue than they actually swallow.

It’s important to look out for these signs happening together, rather than one at a time and baby should ideally be close to 6 months of age. If you think your baby is ready sooner than “around 6 months” always check with a health care professional.

How to start weaning?

I recommend a Veg Led approach to weaning, you can read more about this approach here, but ultimately it’s where you kick off the weaning journey with single tastes of veggies, to allow baby’s palate to get used to new flavours that they’ve never tried before. Ideally offer single veggies for around 10 days – and you can offer finger foods or foods from a spoon, whichever you prefer and feel most confident with.

Once you’ve offered those 10 days or so of single veggies (try to opt for some savoury and bitter varieties in there such as broccoli, spinach, potato, cauliflower), then it’s all about combining foods together and gradually moving your baby onto “family meals”. This ultimately means offering similar foods to what you eat as a family and gradually building up a baby’s food repertoire until they are eating what you are, just less the sugar and salt!

In my book How to Wean Your Baby I actually have a 30-day planner to kick start the first month of weaning with all the details you need, including shopping lists, tips and recipes.

child in highchair looking at camera sat at a table with food

Here are some of my top tips for getting started:

1.) Eat with your baby – they learn SO much from watching you eat so bring them to the table early as much as you can and let them observe. This is why I love the Tripp Trapp set so much as it allows baby to join you at the table EVEN before they’ve begun their own food journey.

2.) Think VARIETY – research shows that variety, even from a young age, really matters and can encourage your little one to eat a variety when they are older too

3.) Try not to stress – there aren’t really many rights or wrongs with weaning, as long as you’re offering appropriate, healthy, family foods to baby and avoiding salt, sugar, honey and choking hazards. See here for a list of what not to feed your baby.

4.) Think of weaning as a bit of a journey, there will be ups and downs, good days and bad days and that’s completely normal!

5.) Have fun with it. Messy, unpredictable fun!

Expert nutritional advice from Charlotte Stirling-Reed, author of new book “How to Wean Your Baby”, that publishes on 29th April but available for pre-order. www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1785043242 @sr_nutrition

Stokke is a leading high end baby brand in Scandinavia whose ethos is to nurture family bonding, having your baby closer to you and the importance of eye contact. The iconic Tripp Trapp® highchair was launched in 1972 and has since sold more than 12 million worldwide. www.stokke.com @stokkebaby

 

14 comments

  1. I don’t have children at the moment but these will be really helpful tips to any parent who is New to weaning.

  2. This is perfect timing, as I’m in the midst of weaning my little one right now. My daughter had a tough time with it, and my son seems even less excited haha. This is great info. Thank you!

  3. I think we started weaning around about 5 months. Looking back now I put WAY too much unnecessary pressure on myself. As I think we all do as parents. I’m going to be going into things way more chill second time around. We always ate at the same time as A & gave her lots of variety. She’s generally quite a good eater now however still very much has her moments. Ha. It’s all part of it!

    Claire.X
    http://www.clairemac.co.uk

    1. I’m quite excited and nervous about it! I hope he’s a good eater and will eat what we eat. I read they tend to be good to start with and get get fussy when they’re a bit older!

  4. My nephew has started weaning but I remember thinking: he’s so small. How wrong was I? He’ll eat anything! I don’t have any babies yet but I know I’ll be coming back to this in the future for ideas!

    Rosie

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