Welcome to our step by step guide on how and when to introduce your little piccolo to solids in the first few weeks.
Weaning is an exciting time in your little one’s development but can also throw up a lot of questions! That's why our resident infant nutrition specialist, Alice, has drawn up some helpful tips to get your started! If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our weaning guide is great for you to note down the different vegetables and fruit you have given to your little one and for noting down their responses. Use the guide to remember what you have given and to enable you to keep offering new foods in those first few weeks.
We follow the World Health Guidelines on introducing solids around 6 months, for more detail on when to start and the signs to look out for, see our 'When to Introduce Solids' article here.
Before you start: The importance of milk
It is really important to remember that breast or formula milk is still giving your baby the majority of their nutrients, and will continue to be an important part of their diet for the first year. Those first tastes are really about introducing exciting new flavours and textures. The majority of their nutrients will be coming from their milk, so do not worry about the amount of food you are giving, it really is about experiencing tastes over quantity.
Relax about the what and when
There is no evidence to show that one food is better than another to introduce first. The general advice is to go for single vegetables and fruit that are unlikely to cause a reaction, which is what we would also recommend.
To purée or not to purée
You can either start with a soft finger food or a puree, or even go for a combination of the two. Finger foods are an important part of the weaning journey, but you can do either to start with - it is totally up to you and whatever you feel most comfortable with.
Great first foods to start with
Vegetables: Broccoli, Butternut squash, Carrot, Cauliflower, Courgette, Peas, Parsnip, Potato, Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Turnip
Fruit: Avocado, Apple, Banana, Mango, Melon, Peach, Pear
Introducing Protein: Beef, Chicken, Legumes (e.g. peas, beans), Fish, Lamb, Turkey, Pulses (e.g. Lentils)
For those ingredients that need cooking (all of the above apart from avocado, banana, mango, ripe pear or peach) you can either peel, chop in chunks and steam for a few minutes until soft, or bake the sweet potato or butternut squash and scoop out the cooked flesh. If pureeing, you can add a little breast or formula milk and mix until you get the texture of yoghurt.
Those first few tastes
It doesn’t matter what time of day you offer food. You need to have time and not be in a rush and it is also a good idea to introduce food in between milk feeds, so they are not starving, or full from a feed. Either sit them in a high chair at the table with you, or feed them on your knee – whatever feels more comfortable for both of you.
They may only take a teaspoon of food to begin with or maybe even less. Don’t worry. Neither should you worry if they don’t seem interested, they may not be ready, or not hungry. Just take the food away, and try another time. It can take up to 12 times for a new food to be accepted. Be responsive to their reactions, and simply try another time.
Your baby knows when they are hungry, and when they are full, but at this stage it is hard for them to communicate this to you. Just remember that at this early stage of weaning, most of their nutrients and calories are coming from their milk, so if your baby is not interested in food, or is turning their head away from the spoon, it may mean they are not hungry. Respond to this and avoid using distractions to give them more food as they may not need it. Just try again another time.