4 to 6 months

First small steps

The current advice from the World Health Organisation is that you should wait until 6 months before you start weaning your baby onto solid food. However some babies are ready before this, so if they are showing some of the “ready to wean” signs you might like to read on.

When you begin weaning, it’s important to remember that this first step in the process is simply to introduce your baby to the idea of solid foods rather than for any nutritional gain. By following some of the below steps, the first venture into solids, for your baby and for you, should be relatively stress free – if a little messy!

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  • Before 6 months, you should start with very pureed, almost liquid, food and gradually thicken it over time (but keep it lump free at this point).
  • To help discover if there are any foods your baby is allergic or intolerant to, it’s good to introduce different types of food on their own slowly, before starting to mix them together. (Some parents find it helpful to keep a food diary of what foods your baby likes/dislikes/doesn’t tolerate etc).
  • Don’t force a food on your baby if they don’t seem to like it, just for nutritional means. Try something else, and go back to the rejected food a few weeks later – babies are fickle and he’ll probably love it then.
  • Start by offering small amounts (one-two tsp) of pureed vegetables or fruit or baby rice mixed with breast or infant milk. Pear and apple are good fruits to start with, and carrot or sweet potato are good vegetables – it’s best to leave the green veggies until they’re used to the other foods.
  • The best time to give the food is either after or in the middle of a milk feed – middle of the day is probably the best meal to start with. Though make sure your baby isn’t too sleepy to enjoy or learn from their first experience of food!
  • Make sure you and your baby are sitting comfortably and relaxed. Babies should be sitting upright to avoid choking and foods should be slightly warm
  • Food should always be offered on a spoon not from a bottle.
  • If they keep spitting the food out it could mean they don’t have the tongue to back of mouth movement yet for taking in food. Leave it and try again in a couple of weeks.
  • Milk should still form the main basis of the diet, but with solid food being offered once a day slowly increasing the quantity over a period of several weeks.
  • Salt and sugar should be avoided in all weaning foods.
  • After the first week or so you might like to increase the one meal to two, but keep feeding the same amount of milk – 4-5 feeds a day.
  • By 6 months you could think about dropping the lunchtime bottle feed and giving your baby water or VERY diluted juice at the lunchtime meal instead but keep it for longer if you think your baby needs it or isn’t taking enough solid to replace that bottle feed.
  • Some babies can get constipated when just starting on solids – if this happens try keeping to just fruit and veg instead of baby rice and offer boiled water with a squeeze of fresh orange in during one of the meals.
  • Drinks for this ages: as well as regular milk you can offer cooled boiled water at and between meals. It’s good to get your baby used to the taste of water and not juice.

Click here for recipes for this stage

Best food for this stage

  • Most fruit (particularly bananas, apples, pears and papayas)
  • Most vegetables (the orange ones such as sweet potato, carrots, butternut squash are good to start with followed by the green ones)
  • Baby rice
Foods to avoid

  • Citrus fruit, Strawberries and raspberries, and kiwi fruit
  • All gluten foods (Oats, wheat, barley and rye)
  • Eggs
  • Sesame seeds
  • All fish and meat
  • Nuts
  • Honey
  • Salt and sugar
  • Cow, goat and sheep dairy

Tip

Many parents find it easiest to make up a batch of pureed food in one go freeze and make ready to go portions by filling ice cube makers. There are special baby containers you can buy but standard ice makers will do.

Related links

Cooking baby food

Allergies

Equipement

Blog

More information on the day to day troubles of weaning.
The Baby Meals blog

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