10 Tips for Successful Baby Weaning
Baby weaning refers to starting your baby on solid foods, generally between the ages of 4 and 6 months. It’s an exciting time in your baby’s life—they are finally learning to eat! But it can also be confusing and stressful to determine the best way to get started, especially if you want to avoid the pitfalls that can arise when introducing solids too early or too late. These 10 tips will help you successfully start your baby on solid foods and make the transition as smooth as possible.
1) Visit the Doctor
Baby weaning is a great step towards independence. It’s important to talk to your baby’s pediatrician about his or her readiness for solid foods, and what you should expect from their development in their first year.
2) Prepare Your Child
A healthy meal is an important part of every child’s day, and baby weaning can seem like a daunting prospect. To help ensure your child learns to feed themselves healthy foods, it’s important to prepare them ahead of time.
3) Select Easy-to-Use Baby Bowls
Babies are prone to spilling their food, which means you’ll have to clean up a lot of messes. Keep your baby and you happy by choosing baby bowls that are easy to hold, easy to grip, and won’t slip out of baby’s hands. Choose simple plastic or silicone bowls instead of flashy designer ones—the more effort it takes your child to make a mess, the more likely they will eat without a problem.
4) Choose a Baby Food Maker
The best baby food makers will help you create homemade baby food that is nutritious and healthy. To start, read up on 10 tips to successful baby weaning and then check out our shortlist of 5 great baby food makers! And while you’re at it, follow some of these expert tips: don’t overwhelm yourself with reading labels, don’t use honey until after 12 months old, replace creamy pastes with smooth purees.
5) Add Variety to Baby’s Diet
Healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are great additions to baby’s diet. By adding more variety to your baby’s diet you can ensure that your child is getting all of the nutrients she needs. Infants should have a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods in their diets rather than eating only one or two types of food day after day.
6) Avoid Salt in Baby Food
Babies don’t need much sodium, and a high-salt diet can lead to hypertension. When your baby is weaned from breast milk or formula, avoid adding extra salt to their food; plain water and healthful eating will provide plenty of necessary minerals.
7) Use the Right Spoons
High-quality spoons, designed with non-slip grips and comfortable handles, can be a great help when trying to teach baby to feed themselves. Make sure you have plenty of different styles on hand so baby isn’t set in their ways – they should learn that a spoon is not just a mini version of your spoon! Pick up one or two sets at most stores and then check online if you need more.
8) Incorporate Finger Foods From An Early Age
Babies are surprisingly capable of eating finger foods from an early age (my son started trying at 4 months, though my daughter was a little older before she showed interest). Even if your baby is self-feeding with fingers before solid foods, it’s still important to continue giving them milk and/or formula. Babies should be getting half their calories from milk and formula in their first year, as they need additional nutrients during growth spurts.
9) Start with Homemade Meals First
When weaning your baby, avoid packaged, commercial baby food and make meals at home that you can freeze in ice cube trays or store in Ziplocs. These meals will give you a base to add variety later as your baby’s palate expands.
10) Take Notes During Weaning Process
During weaning, it’s important to keep a log of what baby ate and how he reacted to each food. This will give you a good idea of which foods work well and which don’t, and you can adjust your own diet accordingly. But if baby is acting up or getting sick after trying new foods, it might be best to back off on introducing new foods for a little while until his gut has had time to heal from any adverse reactions.