Regular Parent Weaning

Weaning

Weaning can be a nervous time for any new parent, but it can also be a lot of fun! With lot’s of experimenting with different veggies it can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your baby and the nerves will soon disappear into a pile of mush! Weaning teaches your baby how to move solid food around their mouth and how to chew and swallow solid foods.

The most common method used to give babies their first solids has long been to make sure babies receive adequate energy and nutrients for their development. 

More recently, baby-led weaning has gained popularity. This method involves babies selecting finger foods and feeding themselves.

While there have been lots of claims that this method can stop babies being less fussy with their food, there is little evidence to support this being better than puree foods, which when offered in a variety of of tastes and textures, can also avoid fussy eating habits.

There are pro’s and cons with both methods, but in my experiences, I find a bit of both works well towards making a little one enjoy their mealtimes. Making the choice is entirely up to you – you can of course combine the two – it really is a personal choice. Do your research and make an informed choice. 

When should I introduce solids? 

Some experts suggest weaning shouldn’t start until after six months old, but in my experiences both as a professional and as a mum, I’ve found little ones in my care, including my own son and daughter were hungry and more than ready to make a start around 5 months old. Babies under four months (17 weeks) should not be given solid foods.

Some parents think that starting solid foods before six months will help a baby sleep, but there is no evidence to support this. Go by your own baby, as you as a parent will know when your child is ready. It is important to mention here that if your baby was premature you should talk to your health visitor or GP about the right age to start your baby on solid foods.

There are 3 clear signs that show that your baby is ready for their first solid foods.

  1. They can hold their head steady and sit well in a supported highchair
  2. They can swallow food easily and like having it in their mouth without spitting it all out. 
  3. They are using hand-eye-coordination to pick up food, look at it and put it to their mouth. swallow food (rather than spit it back out)

 What solid foods can I feed my baby?

Start with simple foods like single vegetables and fruits or try mixing the two together like blended apple and potato. Baby rice is a popular weaning food mixed with baby’s usual milk but it’s a little bland and many baby’s reject it. 

I’ve shared some really simple recipes below that have been favourites with the little ones in my care and my own children over the years. Always ensure your baby’s food has cooled right down before feeding.

What food should I avoid?

If you are introducing solid foods before 6 months, there are foods you should avoid including soft and unpasteurised cheeses, liver, and foods that are most likely to cause allergies, such as nuts, seeds, cow’s milk, wheat, eggs, fish and shellfish.

As your little one gets used to eating solid food you can experiment with new food tastes and textures, but be mindful when offering certain new foods that could trigger allergic reactions, and offer them only one at a time and in very small amounts, so that you can spot any reaction right away.

Once introduced and if tolerated, keep offering those foods as part of your baby’s usual diet (to minimise the risk of allergy). Read more about food allergies are on the NHS website for signs to look out for.

How much will they eat?

This will depend on your baby’s appetite, so let your baby guide you on how much food they need. Never force your baby to eat – it takes time getting used to textures and tastes, so learn to follow your baby’s cues in the same way you follow when they are hungry for their milk. A routine will help with this, so gradually introduce solid foods into set mealtimes.

A good time to start is breakfast when your baby will likely be most hungry. Try a small about of baby-porridge mixed with their usual milk and once they are used to the taste and texture – add a little mushed banana.

What do I need to start weaning?

You don’t need to go overboard with eating equipment, but a few key items will make mealtimes a nd food prep a little easier. 

High chair: Always use straps to keep them safe – highchairs that pull up to the table are ideal and set the course for great mealtime manners and socialising from a young age. 

Spoons: Soft weaning spoons are better than metal teaspoons as they are kinder to your baby’s gums.

Baby bowls: These are helpful when your little one starts to feed themselves, especially ones that have suction to avoid meals up the walls – but in the early days of experimenting with food they are not essential. 

Ice-cube trays: These are super helpful when bulk cooking! Weaning pots and packs are available to buy too, but an ice-cube tray is perfectly fine. Once you’ve made your puree – put into the tray, freeze, then turn out into labelled and dated bags to store in the freezer! Having a selection makes weaning life so much easier and you won’t have to prepare meals everyday! 

Bibs: Easy to clean or washable bibs are much needed as weaning gets pretty messy! The bibs with sleeves are practical and save on a lot of clothes washing!

Weaning can be a nervous time for any new parent, but it can also be a lot of fun! With lot’s of experimenting with different veggies it can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your baby and the nerves will soon disappear into a pile of mush! Weaning teaches your baby how to move solid food around their mouth and how to chew and swallow solid foods.

When should I start weaning? 

Some experts suggest weaning shouldn’t start until after six months old, but in my experiences both as a professional and as a mum, I’ve found little ones in my care, including my own son and daughter were hungry and more than ready to make a start around 5 months old. Babies under four months (17 weeks) should not be given solid foods.

Some parents think that starting solid foods before six months will help a baby sleep, but there is no evidence to support this. Go by your own baby, as you as a parent will know when your child is ready. It is important to mention here that if your baby was premature you should talk to your health visitor or GP about the right age to start your baby on solid foods.

There are 3 clear signs that show that your baby is ready for their first solid foods.

  1. They can hold their head steady and sit well in a supported highchair
  2. They can swallow food easily and like having it in their mouth without spitting it all out. 
  3. They are using hand-eye-coordination to pick up food, look at it and put it to their mouth. swallow food (rather than spit it back out)

 What solid foods can I feed my baby?

Start with simple foods like single vegetables and fruits or try mixing the two together like blended apple and potato. Baby rice is a popular weaning food mixed with baby’s usual milk but it’s a little bland and many baby’s reject it. 

I’ve shared some really simple recipes below that have been favourites with the little ones in my care and my own children over the years. Always ensure your baby’s food has cooled right down before feeding.

What food should I avoid?

If you are weaning before 6 months, there are foods you should avoid including soft and unpasteurised cheeses, liver, and foods that are most likely to cause allergies, such as nuts, seeds, cow’s milk, wheat, eggs, fish and shellfish.

As your little one gets used to eating solid food you can experiment with new food tastes and textures, but be mindful when offering certain new foods that could trigger allergic reactions, and offer them only one at a time and in very small amounts, so that you can spot any reaction right away.

Once introduced and if tolerated, keep offering those foods as part of your baby’s usual diet (to minimise the risk of allergy). Read more about food allergies on the NHS website, for signs to look out for.

How much will they eat?

This will depend on your baby’s appetite, so let your baby guide you on how much food they need. Never force your baby to eat – it takes time getting used to textures and tastes, so learn to follow your baby’s cues in the same way you follow when they are hungry for their milk. A routine will help with this, so gradually introduce solid foods into set mealtimes.

A good time to start is breakfast when your baby will likely be most hungry. Try a small about of baby-porridge mixed with their usual milk and once they are used to the taste and texture – add a little mushed banana.

What things do I need to start weaning?

You don’t need to go overboard with weaning equipment, but a few key items will make mealtimes and food prep a little easier. 

High chair: Always use straps to keep them safe – highchairs that pull up to the table are ideal and set the course for great mealtime manners and socialising from a young age. 

Blender: This can be a super fancy machine or a handheld blender. If it blends – it’s fine! You really don’t need to invest in fancy weaning blending machines

Spoons: Soft weaning spoons are better than metal teaspoons as they are kinder to your baby’s gums.

Baby bowls: These are helpful when your little one starts to feed themselves, especially ones that have suction to avoid meals up the walls – but in the early days of experimenting with food they are not essential. 

Ice-cube trays: These are super helpful when bulk cooking! Weaning pots and packs are available to buy too, but an ice-cube tray is perfectly fine. Once you’ve made your puree – put into the tray, freeze, then turn out into labelled and dated bags to store in the freezer! Having a selection makes weaning life so much easier and you won’t have to prepare meals everyday! 

Bibs: Easy to clean or washable bibs are much needed as weaning gets pretty messy! The bibs with sleeves are practical and save on a lot of clothes washing!

Weaning recipes

Here are a few of my super-easy weaning recipes to make, that have been enjoyed by little ones over the years.

Weaning | Baby solid foods | Weaning foods | Introducing solids

Bugs Bunny Puree

Carrots are rich in betacarotene (the plant form of vitamin A) and make excellent weaning food because of their naturally sweet taste.

Interestingly, carrots are more nutritious when cooked with a little fat, such as a knob of unsalted butter, so you can add a knob of butter to the drained carrots if you wish before you puree them.

Ingredients

  • 350g carrots, washed peeled and chopped
  • A little of your baby’s usual milk
  • A tiny teaspoon of unsalted butter

Method

Put the carrots into a steamer set over boiling water and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until tender.

Drain the carrots and place in a blender, adding some of the water from the bottom of the steamer or some of the cooking liquid, then puree until very smooth. The amount of liquid you add really depends on your baby, you may need to add a little more if he finds the puree difficult to swallow.

Spoon some of the puree into your baby’s bowl and serve lukewarm not hot (check a little of the puree on your lip before serving.)

You can freeze the remainder in an ice cube tray or small plastic containers to use for another day.

Weaning | Baby solid foods | Weaning foods | Introducing solids

Benjamin Bunny’s Allotment Puree

Named after a special (not so little anymore,) boy who loved this puree! This weaning recipe is super easy to make and a favourite with little ones due to the sweet taste the combination of the veggies brings.

Carrots are rich in betacarotene (the plant form of vitamin A) and Parsnips are a good source of vitamin C, so this is a healthy little duo for your baby.

Ingredients

  • 3 carrots, washed, peeled and diced
  • 3 parsnips, washed peeled and diced

Method

Steam the vegetables until they’re tender. Purée with a blender and adjust the texture with boiled cooled water or baby’s usual milk.

Spoon some of the puree into your baby’s bowl and serve lukewarm not hot (check a little of the puree on your lip before serving.)

You can freeze the remainder in an ice cube tray or small plastic containers to use for another day.

Weaning | Baby solid foods | Weaning foods | Introducing solids

Betsy’s Butternut Puree

Named after happy little weaning girl who loved this recipe! Now age 10 we make this into a soup – a firm favourite that has served well over the years.

Red lentils are suitable for babies 6 months+ and are a fantastic source of protein and iron, which babies need increasing amounts of starting around 6 months old, when their iron reserves become depleted. 

Butternut squash is a great source of fibre, as well as vitamins including A, C, E and B, along with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

Ingredients

50g split red lentils (red lentils don’t need soaking overnight)

120g butternut squash, peeled and diced

Method

Boil the lentils in water until soft and steam the squash until tender.

Drain the lentils using a sieve, then add the squash to the sieve and place over a bowl. Using a wooden spoon press through the mixture, stir and serve! you can use a blender – but the sieve makes it super smooth for the early days of weaning.

Method

Steam the vegetables until they’re tender. Purée with a blender and adjust the texture with boiled cooled water or baby’s usual milk.

Spoon some of the puree into your baby’s bowl and serve lukewarm not hot (check a little of the puree on your lip before serving.)

You can freeze the remainder in an ice cube tray or small plastic containers to use for another day.

Weaning | Baby solid foods | Weaning foods | Introducing solids

Halloween Chicken Puree

This yummy recipe also makes a delicious soup for kids and grown-ups so you can double up the recipe to bulk make puree for the freezer and soup for tea!

Pumpkin is a great source of potassium and beta-carotene, which is a carotenoid that converts to vitamin A. It also contains some minerals including calcium and magnesium, as well as vitamins E, C and some B vitamins.

Chicken is packed with protein and vitamin B6, which is used to help the body extract energy from food. It’s important that babies start regularly eating foods containing adequate amounts of protein to support their rapid growth.

Ingredients

  • 2 fillets organic or free range chicken
  • 1 pumpkin
  • 20g butter plus baby’s usual milk to blend

Method

Chop the chicken into small pieces.

Chop and cut away the skin of the pumpkin. Cut in half (if not making into a lantern) and remove the seeds and chop into small pieces. Save the seeds and plant in April for awesome pumpkins for next year!

Place the pumpkin in a saucepan with the chicken, cover with water and bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes.

Drain reserving the water and mash until a suitable consistency, add some reserved cooking liquid to soften the mix, add the butter and serve, checking the temperature first.

You can also slow-cook this recipe for a couple of hours in a slow cooker to make it super soft and easier to blend.

You can freeze the remainder in an ice cube tray or small plastic containers to use for another day.

There are more super-easy weaning recipes like these in my new baby puree book out this Winter. Follow my author page for regular updates or follow me on the socials below for daily tips and more!

Newborn tips | newborn baby advice | Pregnancy advice

“Weaning is messy, a little stressy but always the adventure! There’s nothing more wonderful than watching your little one try new tastes and textures and join in with family mealtimes!”

Fi Star-Stone


Let’s make something beautiful together.

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