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Weaning Your Baby

Weaning is when you slowly introduce your baby to solid foods. It usually starts when your baby is around 6 months old. They should be introduced to a varied healthy diet alongside their usual breastmilk and formula.

Deciding when to start to wean your baby, how to wean them and giving them the right foods can be a little confusing! But don't worry, you and your baby will learn together over time.

Weaning can be lots of fun and also very messy! Its a time for your baby to discover new tastes and textures and is an important milestone in their development. 

 

  • When you begin, your baby only needs very small amounts of solid food, once a day, at a time that suits you both. This is just to get them used to the new tastes and textures that they have never experienced before.

    You can start with single vegetables and fruits – try blended, mashed, or soft cooked sticks of parsnip, broccoli, potato, sweet potato, carrot, apple or pear.  Make sure any cooked food has cooled right down before offering it to your baby.

    It's important to introduce foods that can cause allergic reactions one at a time, in very small amounts, so that you can spot any reaction. These foods can be introduced from around 6 months as part of your baby's diet, just like any other foods:

    • Cows’ milk (in cooking or mixed with food)
    • Eggs (eggs without a red lion stamp should not be eaten raw or lightly cooked)
    • Foods that contain gluten, including wheat, barley and rye
    • Nuts and peanuts (serve them crushed or ground)
    • Seeds (serve them crushed or ground)
    • Soya
    • Shellfish (don't serve raw or lightly cooked)
    • Fish

    If you are serving any food that needs milk added you can use any excess breastmilk you have frozen/expressed in place of cows milk to mix food if you prefer.

    If you click on this link you will find a useful recipe selection where you can select recipes by age. *Click here* to find out more.

  • Your baby should now have started to get used to the new flavours and textures you have been giving them everyday. They should also have had some good practice learning how to eat food! 

    They should start to gradually move onto three meals a day. Try and let them eat when you eat, as they learn from watching other people eat. Try and offer them a variety of different foods so they can get all the nutrients they need. Babies don't need salt or sugar added to their food. Salty food isn't good for their kidneys and sugar can cause tooth decay.

    Try not to worry if your baby refuses some food. It can take up to 10 tries or even more for your baby to get used to new foods, flavours and textures. There'll be days when they eat more, some when they eat less, and then days when they reject everything! Be as patient as you can and keep offering them a variety of different healthy foods.

    If you click on this link you will find a useful recipe selection where you can select recipes by age. *Click here* to find out more.

     

  • Your baby should now be used to having 3 meals a day – breakfast, lunch and tea – in addition to their milk feeds.

    Lunch and tea can include a main course and a pudding (such as fruit or unsweetened yoghurt). Try to eat together as much as possible, babies learn from watching you eat.

    Remember, your baby does not need salt or sugar added to their food or cooking water. Babies shouldn't eat salt as it isn't good for their kidneys and sugar can cause tooth decay.

    If you click on this link you will find a useful recipe selection where you can select recipes by age.*Click here*to find out more.

  • Now your toddler is 12 months old, they should be having 3 meals a day. They may also need 2 healthy weaning snacks in between (for example fruit, vegetable sticks, toast, bread or plain yoghurt).

    Remember, they don't need salt or sugar added to their food or cooking water. Children shouldn't eat salty foods as it isn't good for their kidneys and sugar can cause tooth decay.

    If you click on this link you will find a useful recipe selection where you can select recipes by age. *Click here* to find out more.

  • Eating as a family can be challenging so this fantastic guide and recipe book will help you to see what size portions need to be, offer lots of choices for family meals and give you guidance on what is healthy for all your family.

    *Click here* to open the recipe book.

     

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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