Weaning can be an exciting time for you and your baby. Introducing solids is a big step! So it is quite normal to feel unsure about what foods to offer and when.
Over the next few months your baby will be introduced to many exciting tastes and textures. As experts in baby feeding, we have put together a few tell-tale signs that your baby is ready for solids.
How do I know my baby is ready for weaning?
Weaning should begin at around 6 months of age and not before 17 weeks
The Department of Health and Children recommend exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life. Latest National guidelines (FSAI, 2012) recommend that solid foods are introduced at around 6 months (26 weeks) and not before 17 weeks.
Here are some signs that you baby may be ready for weaning:
- Baby does not seem satisfied after feeding or is feeding more frequently for longer than a week (if less than a week it may be a growth spurt so hold off for now).
- Showing an interest in food – may be watching you while eating or reaching out for food.
- If baby is chewing and dribbling more frequently and putting their hands in their mouth (this can also be caused by teething so look out for other signs too!).
- They are able to sit up with support and have head control.
There are 3 stages of weaning:
Stage 1: First tastes and first 2 weeks of weaning (from about 4-6 months)
Stage 2: From about 6-9 months of age
Stage 3: From about 9-12 months of age
Baby’s first tastes may be anywhere between 4-6 months depending on their nutritional needs and when they are ready to begin solids. If a baby began weaning earlier than 6 months they may move to Stage 2 of weaning at an earlier age than a baby who begins weaning at 6 months. A baby who begins weaning at 6 months may move through the stages of weaning faster than a baby who begins earlier than 6 months and this is perfectly fine. The stages, portion sizes and textures in this section are just a guide and can vary depending on the individual baby and when they began weaning. Always take into account your baby’s requirements when making up recipes and if you have any concerns about your baby’s feeding speak to your healthcare professional or contact our careline.
Here are a few things that will come in handy when your baby is ready for weaning:
- Bright plastic spoons to catch your baby’s attention
- Plastic bowls preferably in bright colours and dishwasher safe
- Liquidiser or blender for mixing baby food
- Ice-cube trays – ideal for freezing for later use
- Highchair – Put your baby in an upright position and safely secured
- Bibs and clean cloths
- A messy mat for the floor, they are available in most baby shops
More weaning information
For some tips on getting started click here
We have developed a handy guide to weaning portion sizes click here to download
Remember to always clean your baby’s teeth, especially before bedtime. As soon as their first tooth appears, you can use a soft cloth to clean gums. You can use a soft toothbrush shortly afterwards. You can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste when your toddler is 2 years of age.
To receive more advice on weaning contact our Careline.