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Is my baby ready to wean?

5 min read

Our childcare experts have put together some helpful weaning tips to guide you through the journey and what it all means. So, here’s our guide into the wonderful world of weaning!

What is weaning?

Starting your baby on solid foods, also known as weaning, is a natural step for little tummies. However, it can be confusing knowing how and when to start introducing new foods.

Weaning teaches your baby how to move solid food around their mouth, chew and swallow solid foods. The weaning process begins when your baby is around 6 months old. This is when you should start to introduce a varied diet, alongside infant formula or breast milk.

When should I start weaning?

Every child is different, but usually, your baby will be around 6 months old. If you’re not sure, here are the main signs that your baby is ready to start weaning:

  • Your baby is able to stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady
  • Your baby can coordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at their food, pick it up and put it in their mouth

National Nursery Manager, Heidi explains:“Remember, some signs are easily mistaken for being ready to wean. Don’t be fooled by chewing fists, walking up more than usual in the night and wanting extra milk feeds.”

What is baby-led weaning?

Baby-led weaning is when parents give their children a range of small, finger-sized foods, allowing babies to feed themselves from day one. This is opposed to handing feeding them spoon puréed or mashed foods.

There’s a heated debate among some parents on which method is more beneficial. Please remember there is no right way or wrong way. Some parents favour baby-led weaning to spoon-feeding, while others combine a bit of both. The most important thing is that your baby enjoys a wide variety of food and gets all the nutrients they need.

Nursery Manager, Sam said: “It may take lots of tries before your baby gets used to new foods, flavours and textures. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. Be patient and let them get used to it in their own time.”

Baby weaning checklist

It’s important you feel prepared to take on these next steps, so the process can go smoothly for both you and your baby. We’ve put together our top 10 checklists for baby weaning:

(All we can say is be prepared, things are about to get messy!)

  • Use a highchair. Your baby will need to be strapped into a comfy, safe and secure upright position. This is to avoid any choking hazards, so they can swallow properly. We recommend highchairs that also have footrests, this will improve your child’s stability, posture and concentration.
  • First cup. Try helping your baby to sip water from a cup with a lid on and handles with their meals instead of using a bottle. We recommend open cups or free-flow cups without a valve, which will support your baby learning to sip.
  • Spoons. Soft weaning spoons, usually made of rubber or plastic, are easier on your baby’s sensitive gums. Try using shallow ones with long handles. This will encourage them to develop their utensil shills from an easy age. Your baby may bite the spoon so be gentle when taking it out of their mouth.
  • Plastic bowls. As we all know, babies love to play with their food. So, we recommend durable bowls with a suction base, otherwise, they’re likely to end up on the floor or being throw around like a frisbee!
  • Ice cube trays. These are very useful for batch cooking and freezing small portions. Alternatively, you can use BPA free containers to store your baby food to avoid any nasty chemicals.
  • Flavours and textures. Our experts recommend that a good place to start is with vegetables and soft fruits.

Those first few mouthfuls of food mark an exciting milestone for you and your baby. If you have any questions, please get in touch with a member of our team as we’re happy to help.

Common challenges

Common challenges may arise during the weaning journey, but with patience and some troubleshooting, they can be overcome. One common challenge is food refusal, where your baby may show disinterest or refuse certain foods. In such cases, try offering the food in different forms or textures, or mix it with familiar foods they enjoy.

Gagging is another challenge that can occur as babies learn to manage different textures. It’s important to distinguish between gagging, which is a normal protective reflex, and choking. Ensure foods are appropriately sized and supervise your baby closely during meals. Some babies may struggle with transitioning to certain textures. Gradually introduce thicker textures and encourage chewing with appropriate finger foods.

If you encounter persistent challenges or concerns, consult with a paediatrician or a feeding specialist who can provide guidance tailored to your baby’s needs. Remember, each baby is unique, and it may take time for them to adjust to new tastes, textures, and feeding experiences.

If you have any further questions or need assistance, you can reach out to the childcare experts at the nurseries located in Maidstone, Chatham & Walton on Thames.

Book a personal tour today!

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