Top tips for parents going through the weaning journey
Weaning is an adventure for both parent and baby, and that’s not an understatement! Every weaning journey will be totally unique to your little one and their preferences, but leading baby brand Nuby has some top weaning tips to guide you through those messy months.
When should I start the weaning process?
The NHS advises that babies are ready for weaning when they’re around six months old – with emphasis on the “around” part! Instead of getting hung up on their age, look for the three key signs that show your baby is ready for solid food:- They can hold their head steady in a sitting position- They have enough hand-eye co-ordination to see, pick up and put the food in their mouth by themselves – but remember this is all new to them, so they won’t be perfect!- They’re able to swallow food safely, not spit it out – although this is different to the gag reflex.
Where should I start?
For many parents, one of the real challenges can be choosing between purees or baby led weaning, where you let baby hold solid safe food and feed themselves.
There are many benefits to both approaches. For example, spoon led feeding with purees can allow you to introduce food early if your baby is ready to start weaning before they reach six months old, something you can’t do with baby led weaning, and it may also be slightly less messy! Baby led weaning allows them to select and explore food on their own, and it means your baby can be offered small pieces of family meals and eat together with you.
But a lot of parents prefer to use a combination of both methods, which brings its own advantages too. It can ease the transition from purees to lumpy foods by introducing new tastes and textures by getting used to chewing finger food while also spoon feeding.
At the end of the day, it’s a process of trial and error!
How much food will baby need?
To start off with, not a lot! The very beginning is all about introducing the sensations and mechanics of eating food.
Section plates are very useful for the weaning phase, giving baby a few little individual options to explore! Check out Nuby’s cute eco-friendly tableware range with section plate here.
It is worth pointing out that if they’re spitting all of their food out, it may be a sign that they’re simply not ready, and you can give it some more time before trying it again.
Once your baby is eating comfortably, the advice can get a little confusing in terms of the correct portion sizes. Again, it’s just knowing what’s right for your baby, so let their appetite be your guide. Most babies have an instinctual ability to self-regulate their own needs, so they’ll let you know when they’ve had enough. Although you will find some babies who are ‘pleasers’ and will eat more because that’s what they think you want them to do!
If you’re ever unsure, use your baby’s health visitor checks as a chance to raise any concerns, and monitor your baby’s growth and weight gain.
What about introducing drinks too?
From six months, your little one will be ready to drink water with their meals. As well as keeping them hydrated, it should help them digest their food, get used to drinking from a cup and ease any constipation they may experience.
Just a small amount is needed – maybe a couple of inches of tap water in a sippy cup (not bottled water, which may have too much sodium). And choose water over fruit juice, which babies should only be introduced to once they’re at least 12 months.
And while we’re on the subject of… well, bottoms, let’s just say that changing what goes in will definitely change what comes out, so try not to be too alarmed at any differences as you’re changing nappies! As we say, it’s also quite common for babies to experience constipation at first as their digestive system adjusts to regular solid foods.
As with many things, weaning might not be a walk in the park, but staying happy, smiling and positive will go such a long way!
Best of luck on your weaning journey, from all of us at Nuby.