Weaning is a big deal! This gigantic leap will lay the foundations of your little one’s diet and will determine their eating habits – so, it’s very important that your child is ready. So, how did I know when my boys were ready?
Both of the boys started on solids around the 4 month mark. Both Jasper and Mylo had always been VERY hungry babies. So, how did I know when they were ready for solids? I simply just noticed the tell tale signs;
- they were both putting things to their mouths (if they’re doing this on its own it can also be a sign of teething)
- they could both hold their heads when sitting, and sat well when supported
- they would constantly follow the food with their eyes and reach for it
- when given food they didn’t spit it back out
- they made chewing motions
- they had good coordination
- they were also a very healthy weight
Normally a child won’t do all these till about the 6 month mark, however, I am a firm believer that all babies are different and as such they will all go through milestones at their own pace. So, if your child isn’t showing signs that they are ready – DON’T PANIC – let hem take their time. Trust me, it’s the best way!
Now, please don’t take my advice as scripture. I’m not a midwife, health visitor, or nutritionist. I am simply a mum that follows instinct. My advice to every mum is always the same – follow your instinct and when in doubt always consult a healthcare professional. Every decision we mums make is taking a small calculated risk when it comes to our children and there will be times when instinct will trump everything else and other times when it will land you on your bottom feeling very sheepish and guilty!
This aside here is my weaning routine that I used with both of the boys… much improved after Mylo!
Must haves/ dos:
- Always use a plastic spoon. I find that this Nuby one worked the best for me, you don’t need anything fancy and expensive. I went through so many of these – I lost some and I also liked to chuck them once they became too stained and worn (usually every 2 months).
- Invest in some plastic bibs, plastic backed bibs and some soft kitchen towels. Personally I liked these Mothercare bibs the most. They’re soft enough for sensitive skin, waterproof (stops the spit out from soaking down to your baby’s clothes), and they are easy to bleach and wash (meaning you will always have lovely white bibs!)
- Make sure your baby has a comfortable seat. Jasper used the Chicco Poly Magic 2in1 highchair from the off, however I tend to let Mylo sit in his Joie Serena swing. You should always make sure that your baby is sitting as upright as possible to prevent choking.
- Have a beaker of water or milk at hand – always – this can prevent choking on thicker purees. The basic Tommee Tippee ones with the folding spout are absolutely fine, however with Jasper I used a Nuby Grip and Sip Cup and Mylo uses a MAM Trainer Bottle.
- Patience and perseverence. Don’t give up, it’s not easy to get babies to eat solids, in fact at first some of the food gets pushed back out of their mouths. However, with a little practice they get the hang of it!
What I feed baby:
Personally, I tend to stick to the Hipp Organic jars and cereals at first. I think that it is important to stick to the organic ready made jars if you’re going down that route as you know for certain that there aren’t any additives or preservatives that are going to have adverse effects on your little one. However, on occasion I will make my own purees, especially if I make soups and when we have a roast – this is because I like to introduce some of the flavours we have in our house from quite early on. On these occasions I will always stick to my trusty chart…
How I feed baby:
As both of my boys started weaning at the 4 month mark I did a 2 month process. I took it all really nice and slow, so that they only really started having heavier flavours after 6 months. I always say that if you go in gentle they won’t feel threatened or scared by the change and it means that they are more likely to relax and enjoy the experience. Oh, and remember that you should never wait till baby is really hungry as it can distress them having to work for the food.
- Week 1, I will always just offer one or two spoonfuls once or twice a day, and at this stage I will only ever use baby rice. Yes, it may seem boring but the truth is that to a baby’s palette it is like a tango on the tongue. As I use Aptamil formula, I also use the Aptamil Baby Rice. You don’t have to stick to the same brand, as baby rice goes it is pretty much all the same!
- Week 2, I will do the same but with a baby breakfast cereal, these will have subtle flavours like banana and apricot. So you see there is a build up to the full on flavour. The boys really enjoyed the Aptamil and Hipp Organic Cereals.
- Week 3, I will start to introduce single fruit and veg purees. I find that Hipp’s Simply range is fantastic. They do Apple, Pear, Carrot and Squash Purees that are meant to introduce some mild flavours to little ones. During this week I will feed baby 3 spoonfuls three times a day before a bottle of milk. One jar will normally do about 4-5 rounds. What I would suggest is that you do not feed straight from the jar to avoid bacteria build up and that way you can refrigerate it for 24 hours. Once I finish one jar, I will move on to another flavour.
- Week 4, I repeat exactly what I did for week 3, however I try to increase the amount to 4-5 spoonfuls.
- Week 5, I will still stick to just the simple flavours, however I will feed baby as much as they can stomach. Normally once they are full they will start to spit the food out completely.
- Week 6, depending on how confident baby is with the flavours I will normally start introducing simple combos like: carrots and potato, apple and pear, parsnips and potato, apple and banana, carrots and parsnips, apricot and pear, squash and carrots, etc… I also try to feed the baby a veggie puree and will then give them a little fruity treat.
- Week 7, I will start to introduce poultry and rice with the veg and rice and milk with the fruit purees. The boys favourite jars were Hipp’s Sweet Squash and chicken, Vegetables with rice and chicken, My First Sunday Dinner, Banana Yoghurt Breakfast, Creamy Rice Breakfast, Banana and Peach dessert and the William Christ Pears with rice.
- Week 8, I will repeat week 7, however, I will introduce red meat. Hipp only do one jar with beef, that I am aware of, and that is the Cottage pie.
- Week 9 onwards, baby will normally be having a whole jar of savoury and almost a whole jar of sweet too for every meal. At this point I will introduce all flavours suitable for baby’s age and by this time they will be having breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 snacks throughout the day with a warm bedtime bottle of milk, I gave the boys Hipp’s Good Night Milk.
I like to do a weekly meal plan so that I don’t leave abything off my food delivery. Here is an example 7 day menu and a blank printable 7 day planner;
My 7 day menu consists mainly of Hipp jars, but you can substitute any meal for your own homemade food, or if you are more of a baby led weaner you can just use finger foods appropriate for your child’s age.
Please please please, always remember that you should NEVER under any circumstance leave your child unattended whilst eating. Also, try and keep a diary of your child’s meals in case of adverse effects and if so, seek urgent medical assistance!
I hope this post is of use and helps create an enjoyable and easy weaning experience. Feel free to let me know, in the comments below, if you believe I am doing something wrong or want any information on any of products I use.