The Best Foods for Weaning

Bellamy - Best Foods for Weaning

Weaning is a major milestone for babies – it means that their digestive system is ready to take on solids, and it also represents a time when they are curious enough to be intrigued by what their parents are bringing into their mouths. The minimum age to safely start introducing solids is six months old, and even though the baby’s system may be ready, the weaning process should be taken slowly and step by step. This is especially true when choosing which foods to feed your little one, as not all solids are recommended for tiny babies. Keep reading if you want to know which foods are the best for weaning.

About weaning

Weaning is all about getting babies accustomed to solid food. Even though this should start when babies are at least six months of age, it is a process after all, and it can’t be rushed. The most important thing is that you identify when your own little one is ready to take on solids. It’s not always the same for everyone.

It is also important to note that weaning doesn’t mean breastmilk or formula are to be replaced immediately by solids. It’s all about balancing out the process, as babies still will get most of their necessary nutrients from milk. At six months of age, it’s all about getting them interested in food – but it will take some time before your child can thrive on solid food. At around nine months of age, most babies will be ready to start feeding near exclusively on solids.

General tips

Here are three main things to keep in mind when you begin the process of weaning:

  • Wait until they are ready – As we mentioned before, this is different for every child. Some of the things you should check to see if your child is ready to start weaning are: sitting on a high chair unassisted, have good neck strength, and being able to chew properly (being able to move food from one side of the mouth to the other).
  • Make sure you use a chair – You need to keep engaging your little one during meal times, so make sure you place your child in a chair next to the table where the rest of the family eats.
  • Don’t rush it – It’s important to start picking up on the signs that your baby is full (if there’s food going in every direction, that’s usually a good indicator). Expect mealtime to be around 10 – 15 minutes minimum.

Purées vs solids (baby-led weaning)

Baby-led weaning is a method of weaning that involves giving them soft solids or finger food rather than starting them on purees and soups, as it was mainly done in the past. This weaning method became popular in the UK about ten years ago, and since then, more and more parents have opted for this method.

Some of the benefits behind baby-led weaning are how it improves a baby’s fine motor skill development, helps to establish an early foundation of good eating habits, flavour-exploring, and the ability to self-feed and self-regulate. Self-regulation is actually one of the main benefits, as usually with purées the parents will always try to give children “one more spoon”, which can occasionally result in overfeeding.

If using this method to wean children, be conscious of its name. “Baby-led” means exactly that, it’s a process that can only begin when the child is the one leading the technique. Making sure they are ready and that they themselves show interest in finger food on their own. This interest would probably be the best indicator of when it’s appropriate to start to introduce solids into their diet.

Best foods for weaning

Bellamy - Best Foods for Weaning (2)

As a general rule, always start with easy-to-digest and non-allergenic foods. Also, the more simple the food the better, as their tiny baby stomachs can become upset quite easily. Same goes for processed versus fresh: always choose the less processed meal, steering clear of too much salt, too much sugar, and choking hazards, such as whole nuts, raisins, hard sweets and grapes.

Fruits and veggies

The riper the fruit, the better. Not only will the taste be less sour, but also the consistency will be easier for your baby to chew and swallow.

  • Mango – Rich in vitamin A, and they are very easy for your baby to hold.
  • Banana – Probably the easiest fruit to start on, make sure you cut it in long, thin slices.
  • Broccoli – Highly nutritious, rich in vitamin C and easy to grab, steam it or boil it first, making sure it’s less crunchy and a bit softer than you would normally have it.
  • Carrot – Same with the broccoli, make sure you steam it boil it first so it’s softer. Carrot is high in beta carotene and vitamin A.

Dairy

Dairy products can easily upset the stomach, especially for babies, so be mindful of this when introducing dairy to your child. Keeping a close eye on your child after you start introducing him or her to dairy is key, and keep an eye out for signs of allergies.

  • Cheese – Soft, long pieces of cheese can be introduced while weaning. Just don’t choose a flavour that’s too strong.

Meat and eggs

  • Chicken – Easier to chew and swallow than red meat, chicken is a perfect meat for the weaning process. Not too strong in flavour too, it’s great for your baby to start getting used to high sources of protein.
  • Turkey – Turkey is also a great way to start your baby on protein. A softer meat too, its flavour can be a little bit stronger, so it’s recommendable to start with turkey after chicken has been introduced.
  • Egg – Egg is high in vitamin A and is a great source of protein, just make sure the yolk is completely hard and slice into quarters. Another good way of serving it could be as an omelette, sliced into strips.

Cereals and grains

  • Bread – Soft toast, sliced into thin and long pieces, is the perfect finger food for your little one, as it’s very easy to digest and is appealing in flavour.
  • Rice-based cereals – Unsalted rice cakes, Bellamy’s Organic Rice Pasta Stars, or rice cereals mixed with a little bit of milk are easy to chew and are the perfect way to start introducing solids to your baby’s diet.

Weaning is an important stage in a baby’s life, and their family’s. It can be scary to start introducing solid food to a tiny child that has previously been feeding solely on either formula or breastmilk, however, it’s a completely natural step and a sign of healthy development that’s both exciting and enjoyable. Just make sure you pick the right food, understand what nutrients are important for your child and learn how to read your little one’s cues, so you know when to stop and when he or she is ready for more. If you would like to know more about what’s best for your baby, including great sources of food, don’t hesitate to contact us. At Bellamy’s Organic, it’s our mission to provide parents with uncomplicated food products, that are both wholesome and nutritious.

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At Bellamy's Organic, we believe a pure start to life means providing your little one with uncomplicated nutrition – good food that is straightforward, wholesome & nutritious. Our pursuit will always be to provide pure food that nourishes the gentle tummies of the little ones in our lives.

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