Weaning can be a fantastic journey to go on with your little one but it can also be a scary time, especially for first time parents. Add to this the new(ish) hype about baby led weaning (BLW) and it can feel very daunting as you prepare to go from giving your baby nothing but milk to all of a sudden allowing them to chow down on pretty much everything (within reason). Despite Layla being my third child I still felt a little overwhelmed at the process of weaning and was very grateful for the opportunity to ask Paediatrician Dr. Sophie Niedermaier Patramani from Little Tummy for her top 5 tips on how to start weaning.
How to start weaning
1) Start Simple
In the first few weeks of the weaning journey when you start introducing solids, start with single vegetables. You can offer them pureed, mashed or as soft finger foods. It really depends on your own and your baby’s preference, which they prefer. Start with dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, kale or courgette, as they are relatively rich in iron and the sooner our little ones get used to more bitter flavours, the easier they will accept them later on.
2) Eat The Rainbow
After having offered green vegetables for a few days, try vegetables and fruit of all colours. This will not only expose your little one to a variety of colours, tastes and textures but also provide an abundance of micronutrients.
3) Be Courageous
A lot of parents are hesitant to try finger foods as they are afraid of choking. Start with very soft bites, such as softly steamed broccoli florets, slices of avocado or peeled cucumber. These will melt in your little one’s mouth and give you the confidence to try a wider variety. Make sure to cut anything with a skin (e.g. grapes or cocktail tomatoes) into smaller pieces.
4) Embrace The Veg Face
Babies have an inborn reaction to bitter tastes and like to make a funny face, almost as if they just bit into a slice of lemon. This is a natural reflex which will get softer every time and eventually vanish. It can take between 10 to 15 tries until a baby accepts a new taste, especially bitter ones. If they reject a new food, wait a few days and try again. You will see that they will grow to like it.
5) Small Bites Matter
Even if your little one tries only one spoonful or two, their brain will be bursting with activity from the new experience. The first weeks of introducing solids are really about trying new tastes and textures. Your baby still gets all calories and nutrients from breastmilk or formula so you don’t have to worry if the plate is not emptied.