When and how to start weaning your baby

Weaning is a big step in your child’s development and it’s normal to feel a little worried about it. It can seem daunting to move from just milk onto solids, but it’s important to remember it’s also a fun and exciting time. Babies have to get used to new flavours and textures so this journey can be a long process, but it is wonderful to see your little ones growing up and exploring through food.

It is recommended to begin the transition to solids at 6 months but it’s appropriate to start at 4 months as some babies develop differently to others. Starting any younger than this can be dangerous as their kidneys are not strong enough to handle milk and solids together because their digestive system isn’t fully developed.

How to know when they’re ready

Look out for signs that they're ready to start the transition from milk to solid food. If your baby can support and control their head or shows an interest in food by putting it up to their mouth themselves, these can be signs they’re ready for weaning. According to the latest recommendation by WHO, babies should be exclusively breastfed until 6 months before starting complementary feeding. Don’t rush the process, but it is also not recommended to wait longer than 6 months old because milk on its own doesn't give them the nutrition they need past that point.


How much food to give them

Every child will have a different interest in food and a different level of hunger so introduce foods slowly and one at a time, rather than overwhelming them with lots of different foods at once. Start off with as little as a teaspoon of solid puréed foods for one meal, followed by their milk. After about two to three weeks, start to give them more and more. Introduce a second meal during the day if they are able to eat roughly 6 teaspoons for one meal.

What food to start them on

Pick one new food a day to let them try. If you give them multiple in the one go, it can be too much for them and scare them away from trying more solid food. Puréed solid foods such as fruits and veggies are great starter foods. Apples are considered a brilliant fruit to let weaning babies try from the beginning of their journey as it can be enjoyed in many different ways and comes in a wide range to suit different tastes. Stewed or puréed apples are ideal to begin with, in particular, sweet apples such as Biosüdtirol’s Fuji, Golden Delicious or Gala. Some nutrition experts tend to recommend Granny Smith apples as they naturally contain less sugar than other apples. As Biosüdtirol apples are organically grown with no synthetic chemical treatments or fertilisers, you know you’re giving your baby purely natural fruit.


How to encourage them

Children learn through play and by copying others around them, so taking the time to sit with your child and eat your food with them as they try new foods will encourage them to have an interest in trying what you're eating. It’ll get messy, but let your baby look at, touch and smell the food as they try to eat it. Keep them involved in the process by letting them hold the spoon or bowl as they try to feed themselves. This helps them get used to it and become more independent with their eating. Be patient with your little one as everything is so new to them. It can take eight to ten tries of the same food for a baby to adapt to the flavour and texture in order to enjoy it, but if you keep trying, you’ll both get there in the end!

Important to remember

Never leave a child alone when they are eating as they could easily choke when getting used to new textures and mastering how to chew. Don’t reheat food that has already been reheated as this could make your baby ill. Don’t add extra sugar or salt to your little one’s food.

For more information, visit http://www.biosuedtirol.com


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