Mark Salter, founder of For Aisha baby food, gives you his guide to the wonderful weaning adventure...
Why is weaning important?
During the first year your baby grows more quickly than any other period of their life. At around six months-old, they need more than just milk to satisfy their growing appetite, so this is the time to begin weaning. The first stage of weaning lays the foundations for happy, healthy eating habits and teaches your baby how to eat from a spoon, swallow and eventually chew.
Weaning is important so your baby can get all the right nutrients from the food they eat. The different textures offered enable biting and chewing to help develop the muscles needed for speech development. Weaning isn’t just about filling their tummies up; it helps to lay the foundations for healthy balanced eating for the years ahead.
Introducing variety to your weaning adventure
A baby’s tummy is small, making it vitally important that every spoonful your baby eats is packed full of the right nutrients and goodness. This is the main reason that babies eat little and often throughout the day. It is important to introduce and keep offering different tastes and textures throughout your baby’s first year.
When to begin your weaning journey
Current NHS guidelines recommend that you start weaning your baby at around six months, however all babies are different so please ask your health advisor with any questions. All babies are different so it’s important to let them set their own pace.
Is it ok to use commercial baby food in the weaning journey?
Yes. As a parent you may find them convenient and an excellent way of introducing different tastes and textures.Try and avoid relying too much on sweet baby foods, as this can lead to a poor diet. There are great savoury weaning baby foods available which you can introduce.
Our Top Tips
Our number one tip is to have fun at this exciting time in your baby’s development
- Let your baby play with their food. Expect and plan for mess (especially as they start to explore the food in their bowl) Messy is good! It helps your baby learn and explore the new textures.
- Always smile – this will show you are enthusiastic and your baby will be excited and will want to try the food you are giving them
- Start with small spoonfuls and work your way up. Gradually you’ll be able to increase the amount and variety of food your baby eats until they can eventually eat the same as the rest of the family, in smaller portions
- Try to off er variety – even if they refuse a new food the first time. It can take a number of tries before they get used to a new taste and texture
- Don’t worry if the food comes back out after the initial spoonful, it’s a new experience for your baby
- Never leave your baby unattended when feeding because of the risk of choking