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Common Weaning Questions & Concerns

Weaning your baby is an exciting time, but its also a very big change for you and your baby! Switching from breast milk or infant formula to solids will open up a world of new experiences for your baby, but it can also be a challenging time. Below are some common concerns and questions that you may come across when weaning your baby:

 

cherry tomatoes cut into quarters

  • Choking can happen with hard foods, bones and small round foods that can easily get stuck in the throat. Remember, you should:

    • cut small round foods, like grapes and cherry tomatoes, into small pieces.
    • peel the skin off fruit, vegetables and sausages (though remember that sausages can be high in salt).
    • remove hard pips or stones from fruit.
    • remove bones from meat or fish.
    • soften hard fruit and vegetables (such as carrot and apple) when first given to your baby from around 6 months.
    • whole nuts and peanuts should not be given to children under 5 years old.
    • never give them raw jelly cubes, they can get stuck in the throat.

    Make sure your little one is sitting up properly in their high chair, and never leave them while they're eating.

  • Your baby may gag when you introduce solid foods. This is completely normal. They are learning to control the amount of food they can chew and swallow at one time. If your baby is gagging, this is what may happen:

    • Their eyes may water.
    • they might push their tongue forward (or out of their mouth).
    • To bring the food forward in their mouth — they might make a retching movement, or they may vomit.
  • To begin with, babies are just having tastes of food so they can learn about:

    • Flavours
    • Textures
    • Chewing and swallowing.

    Keep feeding your baby breast milk or formula alongside food as this will still be their main source of nutrition. At about 10 months, babies start to eat more and drink less milk. Follow your baby’s lead – if they turn away and are not interested in food, try again later. Sometimes, letting your baby be in control helps them to get started. Let them play with their food and have their own spoon so they can explore eating in their own time.

  • It's important to know which foods are safe for your little one. Here's a list of which ones to avoid and why: 

    Foods to avoid

    • Don’t add salt to your baby’s food – it can damage their kidneys
    • Don’t add sugar to your baby’s food as this can increase their risk of tooth decay and contribute to obesity in later life
    • Honey should not be given to babies until they are a year old as it can put a toxin in their tummy leading to a serious illness called botulism
    • Avoid giving babies shellfish as this can increase the risk of food poisoning.

    Bought Baby Foods

    Bought baby foods are more expensive, often have added sugar or salt, and mainly contain sweet flavours. Bought baby food can be very useful out and about or in emergencies, but homemade foods are better for your baby for everyday meals.

  • If you baby doesn't seem to like lumpy foods, don't panic. Keep offering your baby lumpy food in the coming weeks. They may take a while to get used to it because its a brand new experience to them. 

    Try and be as patient as possible. It can take babies 10 tries or more until they decide they like a food or not. To help your baby get some practice, offer them a variety of textures, such as well-mashed vegetables and fruit, as well as smooth purees.

  • Let your baby guide you. They will let you know they are full by turning away from the spoon. Try not to worry as in the first year they are getting most of their nutrition from their milk. As long as they are well and have regular wet and dirty nappies they are doing well.

    If you’re worried though, ask your health visitor to monitor your baby’s growth and weight gain to make sure they’re thriving.

  • 6-9 Months

    If you’re breastfeeding, continue to breastfeed your baby on demand. If you’re bottle-feeding, aim to offer your baby around 500-600ml of infant formula a day.

    10+ months

    If you’re breastfeeding, continue to breastfeed your baby on demand. If you’re bottle-feeding, aim to offer your baby around 400ml of infant formula a day.

    12+ months

    When your baby is 1 year old they will get most of their nutrition from food. Even though milk isn't as important as it used to be, they still need it for a balanced diet. From 12 months, the recommended amount of milk or dairy is 360ml (around three portions) each day.

  • During meal times you can offer your baby sips of water from an open or free-flow cup. Using an open cup, or a free-flow cup without a valve, will help your baby learn to sip and is better for your baby’s teeth. 

    When offering water to babies under 6 months, tap water is not suitable as it’s not sterile. It should be boiled first and then allowed to cool before offering to baby.

     

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum.

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