Introducing your baby to solid foods can be overwhelming.
When to start.
Which foods to give.
How to prepare them.
How much to give them.
To give you some ideas of the kinds of foods that are safe for babies during weaning, here is my handy A-Z guide to weaning foods!
A - avocado. Brilliant for pureeing or offering as a finger food. It's slippy, so try keeping the skin on part of the fruit.
B - breadsticks. Something for slightly older babies who have mastered finger foods as they are a bit crunchy. You can also soften them in a bit of milk.
C - cheese. Soft cheese dips, grated cheddar, goats cheese on toast. Most cheese is fine for any stage of weaning, but it can have a high salt content, so offer small amounts.
D - dahl. A delicious way to serve lentils and introduce your baby to some mild spices.
E - eggs. Super versatile. Boiled egg, scrambled, omelette fingers - the options are endless. Eggs are an allergen so offer them alone to begin with.
F - fish. Oily fish, like salmon or sardines, are a great source of those brilliant omega 3s perfect for baby brain development. Watch for bones!
G - green veggies. A brilliant first weaning food for many - broccoli, courgette, kale, spinach, peas, french beans. The more bitter tasting veggies will take a few goes for your baby to get used to, which is why it's good to start early.
H - hummus. Homemade or shop-bought, it's perfect for spreading on toast, dipping cucumber sticks in, or just eating with a spoon.
I - ice lollies. A bit of fruit, plus some yoghurt or milk, and you have a hydrating summer snack, or an ice-cold teething aid!
J - (chia) jam. Something that didn't exist even 10 years ago but has taken baby recipes by storm. Mix together chia seeds, squashed fruit (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries), a splash of water and some lemon juice, then heat it all in a pan until it thickens. Once cooled, it can be spread onto toast, stirred into porridge or used to top pancakes.
K - kale. This dark green veg is a good source of iron, and is extra tasty when tossed in a little oil and then cooked until slightly crispy. A good finger food.
L - lamb. Representing the red meats, which are also good sources of iron. If offering as a finger food, avoid any fatty pieces, cook until soft and cut into long lengths.
M - milk. Still a critical part of a baby's diet when introducing food. Cows' milk can be used in cooking from 6 months, but shouldn't be given as a drink before 1 year.
N - nuts. All nuts are potential allergens but this doesn't mean they should be avoided. Introduce one at a time and in small amounts from around 6 months. Make sure to either grind them or offer as a nut butter, not as a whole nut.
O - oats. Whether in porridge, flapjacks, porridge fingers, or added to a smoothie, oats are an essential staple food for weaning.
P - pancakes. Who doesn't like a pancake? From the traditional thin pancake, to the thicker baby led weaning style pancake, try adding some greek yoghurt and a handful of fruit.
Q - quesadillas. A perfect way to use up that last tortilla wrap - fill with chopped veggies, like peppers and mushrooms, add in some grated cheese, and fry in a pan until both sides are crispy. Let them cool before serving to your baby.
R - rice. Many people will be familiar with starting with baby rice. There's nothing wrong with that, but try to choose one that is well fortified. From 6 months your baby can have regular rice - it can be good for learning that pincer grip as they try to pick up the grains.
S - sesame. Another allergen to introduce from around 6 months. You can either add these seeds into your cooking (in a stir fry for example) or check the label of your hummus! Tahini, usually used in hummus, is a paste made from sesame seeds. You can buy jars of tahini - it makes a good toast topper too!
T - tofu. Choose firm tofu so that the texture is slightly less slippy. And for those avoiding dairy, calcium-set tofu is a good source of calcium!
U - udon noodles. (or any noodles really) Make a really good finger food, great for exploring different textures. They can be tricky to eat to begin with, so cut them into shorter pieces until your baby is able to cope with them.
V - vitamins. From 6 months, all babies in the UK are recommended to take a daily vitamin supplement of A, C and D. Babies who are having more than 500ml formula milk don't need to take vitamins.
W - watermelon. A summer classic. Great for hydration, a brilliant finger food, and can be chilled really cold for those teething days. Remove the seed before giving to smaller babies.
X - eXcitement. Ok there's no obvious food beginning with X. But weaning should be exciting. And if it's not, then reach out for help.
Y - yoghurt. Another staple for weaning babies, that can be the source of lots of mess! Avoid yoghurts with added sugar or sweeteners, instead stick to plain natural yoghurt (greek yoghurt is thicker and easier for babies to manage themselves on a spoon).
Z - zest. Babies love strong flavours - lemon, lime, orange, any citrus fruit! Add a bit of zest into porridge fingers, pancakes, or even just let them have a chew (supervised of course).
So there you have some ideas for different foods you could start to offer your baby. Like anything, it can take time for babies to learn to like and accept some foods - don't expect them to be eating well after the first few tries. Stay positive, and keep trying again another day.
Planning on introducing solids soon? Come and join my online workshop, where I will take you through everything you need to get started and feel excited about doing so! You can read more about the workshop and book your place here.
I also have some 1:1 slots available for anyone needing a little bit more support with their weaning experience.
These can fill up fast, so book yours by sending me an email firstname.lastname@example.org