From:  Jemma O’Hare

Tip:  How much food is too much?

Babies are not babies for very long, before too long, it’s already time to wean.

Weaning can be a really enjoyable milestone for any baby and their family, but it can also be a stressful time too. A lot of parents are worried about how much food their child is consuming and what is the right food to try. Here we give a few tips, tricks and guidance on how to wean.

Responsive Feeding

Here at First Steps, we follow a ‘Responsive Feeding’ way to weaning and early foods with babies. Never heard of this before – here is a little more detail:

Stop when your baby signals they have had enough food or milk by:

  • keeping their mouth shut
  • turning away from, or pushing away, a spoon, or teat
  • holding food in their mouth

Feeding skills take time to learn and perfect

Babies develop them at different rates and practice really does make perfect. We would suggest parents start with a little each day and see how you get on before ramping up food against milk ratio.

We would suggest you ensure you are finding the experience fun and feel happy – a smiling encouraging face will help. Start by offering both spoon feeding and finger foods and please don’t panic if your child gags or coughs back lumps – it is all part of learning.

We also suggest that offering water from a lidded cup without a valve will help teach babies from a young age how to sip. We use simple and cost-effective Tommie Tippee cups as these are great. And it sounds a silly tip, but make sure you stay with your baby whilst they eat and drink – to ensure safety at all times.

What do I start with?!

Have a go at combining:

  • 1/3 high iron foods: meat/fish/eggs/nut butter/pulses (lentils, hummus, starchy beans)
  • 1/3 starchy food: potato/rice/pasta/bread
  • 1/3 vegetables

Keep the sweet tastes of fruit and yoghurt for a second course – don’t mix them into the savoury course and always begin with savoury tastes that are high in iron and energy.

My baby is preterm

Discuss when to begin with your baby’s medical team or if they are fit and well your health visitor. It is usually around four to six months after their EDD. We would suggest you introduce foods in the same way as full-term babies but some preterm babies may need extra support for sitting and keeping their head upright.

Introducing known allergens

We have lots of children at First Steps that have allergies – so just be careful when introducing known allergen foods.

We have heard some parents placing known allergens on their child’s arms before asking them to consume it. For instance, placing a small amount of peanut butter on the arm a day or so before introducing it. As if a child is allergic, they will often react.

We always suggest introducing allergen food one at a time and give it to a child for a few days before introducing another. This way if there is any form of reaction you can clearly pinpoint which food this is.

Making it fun

From creating faces with your meals, to brightly coloured plates and utensils with their favourite characters on (when they’re a bit older) can make mealtimes fun.

Make sure you remain calm, give a variety of food – and you will be set for a happy little eater.

We really would love to hear if you find our tips and advice useful, and/or you would like a certain topic covered – just let us know, please contact Ian on hello@firststepspoynton.co.uk or call 01625 859867.