We held a live Q&A on the Mothercare Facebook page where our infant nutrition specialist, Alice, shared her expertise about when and how to wean. We loved hearing about all your experiences of introducing your little ones to solids. Here are your top five most frequently asked questions and our responses!
When should you start weaning?
Weaning refers to the introduction of foods other than breast milk (or infant formula) to a baby. The World Health Organisation and UK Government recommended that this process starts at about 6 months of age, which is what we believe at Piccolo. In the first 6 months of life, infants can get all the fluid and nutrients they need from breast or infant formula milk, with no need to introduce other foods before a baby’s digestive system is ready and the baby’s swallow reflexes are developed.
Signs of readiness include:
• Your baby can hold their head up and maintain a sturdy, upright position, able to sit up well.
• Able to make chewing motion. Your baby should be able to move food to the back of their mouth and swallow.
• Has good coordination. They should be able to look at food, grab it and put it in their mouth.
What are the best first foods to start with?
There really is no one best food to start with, however, simple single fruits or vegetables are a good place to begin.
Good examples include:
• steamed apple or ripe pear
• no cook foods: mashed banana or avocado
• steamed or baked root vegetables such as carrot, sweet potato, butternut squash or parsnip.
These can all either be steamed or baked and either pureed or even just given in chunks to gum on.
Should you be worried about your baby choking?
Babies have a natural gag reflex that pushes food forward when they have bitten off more than they can chew, this is very normal and a good way for them to learn what they can and cannot handle. Even so, always be in the same room as your baby when they are eating.
If you are worried about choking the Red Cross have brilliant courses that they run throughout the UK, they also have some great videos.
Not sure whether to give finger food or purees?
Giving finger food is an important part of the weaning journey and your baby’s development, but you don’t have to follow one way or the other. You can do whatever you feel most comfortable with. Combining them is a lovely way to do it, it just doesn’t have a title!
It totally depends on what you find easiest and what works best for your family and your baby. The most important thing is being responsive to your baby’s hunger. For example, not distracting your baby to take a spoonful of food if they turn their head away or appear uninterested. It may be they are not hungry – respond to your baby’s cues.