Solid Advice: How To Start Your Baby's Weaning Adventure
Is your little one showing signs of being ready to complement his milk-based diet with solids? He might be showing an interest in what you’re eating, or be hungry and restless after a milk feed. If he’s showing these signs of readiness, and he’s also able to hold his head up, the chances are that he’s ready for solids.
Weaning – the period of transition from milk to solid foods, is a really exciting step to take as your baby gets to experience new flavours and textures. The Food Safety Authority (FSAI) recommends that weaning should begin at approximately six months – no sooner than 17 weeks and no later than 26 weeks.
But it’s not just about getting your baby used to eating solids, it’s also about teaching him to enjoy nutritious and tasty foods, to help set him up with healthy eating habits for life.
Offer Baby Lots Of Flavours
Did you know that our sense of taste is developed while in the womb? By four months old, babies are able to tell the difference between sweet, salty, sour and bitter flavours.
So when you start weaning, encourage your little one to be adventurous with foods. Variety is key here, so do offer a wide range of different tastes and textures as it will help unleash his taste buds and avoid fussiness later in life. Ideal first foods for baby include baby rice cereals, pureed fruit and vegetables, and natural or fruit yogurts. Just remember not to add salt or sugar to your baby’s food.
Embrace The Mess And Have Fun
Let your baby squish and splat the pureed carrot all over himself, watch him smear yogurt all over his face with glee. Making a mess is a major part of the learning process for babies, as it helps them to develop their hand-eye coordination, which is a crucial development milestone.
And don’t be tempted to wipe his face every time he eats – encourage him to lick the food from around his mouth, as this helps his tongue and mouth muscles to develop, which is beneficial for speech development.
Take Your Time
Start slow, there is no rush. Begin with just one or two spoons of food. Weaning can be a daunting time for your baby, as he is learning how to swallow and about new tastes and textures. Remember that all he had to do up until now was suck, so take your time.
Give your baby a plastic spoon to hold and play with while you feed him. You can gradually make his meals thicker in consistency and start to include a few lumpier ingredients to help him get used to chewing and swallowing different textures of food.
Some parents try baby-led weaning, which is where you skip the puree stage, and go straight to the finger food stage. Your baby can pick up, touch and play, smell, and taste foods such as a piece of cooked chicken, a piece of soft vegetable or fruit.
Whichever option you choose, have fun and don’t give up. It can take up to 14 times before a baby learns to like a new food.
Try Some New Recipes
It's easy to get stuck in a bit of a recipe rut and stick to the same tried and tested purees/foods when you start your little one on solids, but as mentioned above, it’s so important to offer your baby lots of different flavours.
If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration for homemade baby food, check out Glenisk's fantastic free to download new weaning e-book Adventures in Weaning Recipes for First Eaters.
A must-read for mums who are just beginning to wean their babies, the book is packed with useful and simple recipes and is free to download from Glenisk.com. All of the delicious and easy to make recipes in this booklet are for babies aged six months plus.
With nutritious, simple to make and delicious recipes such as Veggie Muffins, Beetroot Soup, and Yogurt Bark, it's a truly helpful and informative guide for parents who are just starting to introduce their baby to solid foods.
Glenisk Organic No Added Sugar Baby Yogurts are used in each recipe. These organic yogurts are ideal weaning foods as they contain absolutely no added sugar, no artificial ingredients (just milk and fruit) and have a smooth texture with no bits.
The book also features nutritional advice for busy families from dietitian Aveen Bannon who provides practical tips and helpful facts for each recipe.
Most mums will agree that there’s nothing like tried and tested advice from a parent who's been there and done it. As well as the tasty recipes and expert nutritional advice, Adventures in Weaning Recipes for First Eaters also features brilliant tips, and honest, real-life parenting and weaning stories from Truzees/blogger mums. Make sure you read blogger Emma Lou Harris' hilarious and very relatable story of the first time she fed her baby solids, and get motivated with fitness blogger Orla Hopkins' post natal exercise tips, plus much more.
Go to Glenisk.com to find out more about the Glenisk Organic range of yogurts and download your free Adventures in Weaning Recipes for First Eaters e-book.
This article is kindly sponsored by Glenisk.