Updated: Aug 13, 2020
When I worked in the NHS I ran weaning workshops for parents, and when I worked with Cow & Gate, I provided weaning information for their website, parent helpline and 5 Step Weaning Plan. All of these things were hugely popular with parents (especially first time parents) for one main reason - people WORRY!
What should I start with?
When should I start?
What if they are allergic?
What if they choke?
If I start with the wrong thing will it mess up my baby’s relationship with food?
What if I get it wrong?
My friends are doing baby-led, should I be?
My mum is telling to start now but I don’t want to?
Where do I even begin?
I don’t have the right equipment!
I can’t cook!
When we get bombarded with information and questions, it’s easy to freeze and be caught in indecision, and really weaning should be an enjoyable and memorable stage in your baby’s first year. Yes there are some recommendations to bear in mind, and yes there are a few things to try and steer clear of, but it really isn’t as complex or as scary as it can be built up to be.
You can always read more, but if there are only 5 points you remember for starting weaning, then let it be these:
1. Wait until around 6 months
It’s a guide, a couple of weeks either side will be fine, just not before 17 weeks (4 months), and not too much beyond 7 months.
2. Look for ALL the signs together
Sitting & holding head steady, good hand-eye-mouth coordination, and food stays in the mouth when offered. If only one sign is there, they aren't ready!
3. Start with veg & keep it varied
Bring in the sweeter stuff later on, they won’t say no. Offering stronger bitter tastes early on might help them to be more accepting of new foods.
4. Follow baby’s lead
Whether you choose puree or finger foods, traditional or baby led weaning, go at your baby’s pace and don’t force it.
5. R E L A X
Breathe, smile, take a photo and enjoy it. There’s a lifetime to stress about the mess, enjoy the moment.
Think your baby is ready to start weaning? Have a read of the 3 key signs to look out for in my more detailed post here.
Still unsure about starting weaning? My online weaning workshop is the ideal place to change that. We will talk about identifying the signs that your baby is ready to start weaning, how to introduce foods safely, what to consider in deciding if baby led weaning is the right approach for you, how to offer allergens, and much much more. You can book a place on my next workshop here.