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Advice on weaningCreated by Charlotte in Feeding & Sleeping
Weaning is one of the most important milestones for mums and dads during the early months of parenthood. Introducing your baby to solid foods are not a fixed set of steps, apoplectic with some babies progressing more quickly or slowly than others. Not every day will be the same and sometimes they might not want to try food at all but have their usual milk.
Weaning is a gentle process, you have a window of opportunity between 6 and 12 months of age when your baby will tend to eat pretty well, so take advantage of this to introduce a variety of new flavours that will hopefully set them on a path of healthy eating for life.
From around 6 months, your baby’s regular milk will no longer provide them with all the nutrients they need – in particular, vitamin D and iron. However it is important to remember that your baby’s milk will continue to form a significant part of her nutrition for many months to come.
- Sucking is a natural reflex, but swallowing solids is something babies need to learn. When a baby sucks, she pushes her tongue forward, so it’s normal for food to be spat out.
- In the first week of weaning, give babies solids at lunchtime, as in the morning they may be too hungry and in the evening too tired.
- It’s a good idea to give a little milk before introducing solids so that your baby’s not frantically hungry.
- Cows’ milk contains very little iron or vitamins C and D and shouldn’t be given as your baby’s main drink in the first year. From 6 months you can use it in cooking or in your baby’s cereal.
- The most common nutritional deficiencies among babies are iron. Include red meat and oily fish, such as salmon, in your baby’s diet. However it is worth mentioning that you should not include over two portions of oily fish a week as there is a concern that oily fish can contain levels of mercury , this rule should also apply to pregnant mothers. If you are following a vegetarian diet include pulses and green leafy vegetables from an early age, but make sure they are consumed with a source of vitamin C, as these sources of iron are not as easily absorbed in the body.
- Honey shouldn’t be given to babies under 12 months, as in very rare cases it can cause infant botulism.
- Eggs can be given from 6 months but must be thoroughly cooked until both the white and yolk are solid.
- No salt should be added to food for babies less than 12 months – their kidneys are too immature to cope.
Best First Food Recipe
Trio of Root Vegetables from ‘Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner’
Orange fleshed sweet potato is a good source of vitamins C, and betacarotene and is richer in nutrients than ordinary potatoes. You can also substitute other vegetables when weaning your baby like swede or pumpkin for the sweet potato. Root vegetables have a naturally sweet taste, they puree to a smooth consistency and are unlikely to cause allergies so they make a good first food.
• 200g sweet potato, peeled and chopped
• 200g carrots , peeled and chopped
• 100g parsnips, peeled and chopped
- Steam the root vegetables for about 20 minutes or until tender. Blend the vegetables to a puree adding a little of the boiled water at the bottom of the steamer (about 75ml) or some of your baby’s usual milk to make a good consistency for your baby.
- Steaming is the best way to preserve nutrients but if you don’t have a steamer, put the vegetables into a saucepan and just cover with boiling water. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over a medium heat until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain the vegetables and blend to a puree using a little of the cooking liquid or you could add a little of your baby’s usual milk.
From 6 months
Suitable for freezing
MAKES 6 PORTIONS