Congratulations! You’ve hit the six month milestone with your baby which likely means you will be ready to start your weaning journey. Your baby may have also begun making more communicative sounds to express their emotions, as well as being tuned into familiar faces and what is going on around them. It’s probably worth starting to get ready for a mobile child too, as crawling won’t be far off…(but that is for another blog post!)
Include your baby in family meal times before they even begin weaning!
One of the main things you may be noticing at six months old is your baby’s peaked interest in food. Many families come together during meal time, which is a great learning opportunity from a very young age. Allowing your baby to join in with family meal times will encourage them to be curious about food, learn about the social side of sharing a meal, in addition to picking up good meal time etiquette!
Paediatric Dietician Jo Lenz says, “Opt for a well supported high chair with a foot rest – and before you start introducing solids, get baby used to sitting in the high chair when you are eating. Role model eating in front of your baby is so important!”
We recommend the newborn attachment for the Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair, which means even your tiny ones can be the same height as the family during meals in the lead up to weaning. This high chair has been incredibly popular with families in team Bloss, including Binky Felstead for her second child Wolfie, and is suitable for all stages of your child’s development. The main benefit is that it comes with a variety of adaptations as they grow.
When you begin weaning your baby, try and approach it as a fun, experimental activity with the aim of introducing them to a variety of flavours and textures. It’s more about trying things out than how much they eat – so don’t worry if the vast majority of food ends up on the floor, high chair, or around their mouth as opposed to in it!
This can initially feel a bit discouraging for parents if hours have been spent painstakingly peeling, prepping and cooking nutritious and delicious mini meals – but nothing is lost as it’s all a fantastic adventure for them into the world of taste.
Where to start when beginning your weaning journey?
There is SO much information out there about weaning your six month old – so we have compiled a list of top tips from our Bloss experts to get you started.
What equipment do you need for weaning?
Bloss Experts Sally (Paediatric Occupational Therapist) and Kirsty (Paediatric Physiotherapist) of The Practical Child suggest you have the following in place before getting started:
- “Bibs – Starting with a bib early on not only helps reduce washing but also helps stop the refusal when your child starts becoming a little more vocal as to what they like and do not like to wear
- Spoons – Soft shallow weaning spoons are a good start for your baby
- Bowls and plates – Suctioned bowls/plates can save a lot of thrown food
- Ice cube trays – Fantastic way to store your first batch recipes
- Blender – to blend food together if you’re feeding your soft foods.”
Frosty Baby Boutique is an online baby shop selling a wide range of baby products from newborn bibs, swaddles, headbands and teethers to everything you need for starting the milestone weaning journey with your little ones. The shop sells a wide range of silicone weaning products which are all BPA free, chemical free, plastic free and microwave, oven and dishwasher safe (we got you parents!)
Most recently, the shop launched its own range of long sleeve waterproof cape bibs which are not only perfect for weaning but can be used for messy/water play, colouring etc. The designs are exclusive to Frosty Baby Boutique and are already a big hit with parents due to the four popular prints, soft material and popper fastening.
As a bloss subscriber, you can get 15% off your Frosty Baby Boutique purchases with this exclusive discount, so when your weaning journey starts – you’ll be ready for anything!
Which foods should I introduce first?
“Try bitter tastes before sweeter ones if possible,” advises Nutritionist Rebecca Stevens. “Recent research highlights the importance of starting with vegetables, ideally those that are the most bitter – think green varieties rather than orange ones – before trying sweeter vegetables and then onto fruits. This is to encourage the acceptance of vegetables over sweeter choices, which is our natural preference. However, not all babies will enjoy guzzling the bitter-tasting veg so don’t let this worry you if your baby isn’t taking to it like your best friend’s is. There are plenty of other ways to encourage babies and children to enjoy vegetables.”
Food safety when weaning
Food safety expert, Jenna Brown, highlights the importance of food safety when weaning. “Beginning the weaning journey is such an exciting time, but in amongst the excitement of all the new flavours your baby is ready to explore, it’s normal to feel a bit anxious! Babies and young children don’t have the same immune system as adults or older children, so we need to make sure we are extra careful with their little tummies!’
Jenna offers a 1:1 Food Safety when Weaning Consultation to give you all the confidence and reassurance you need to get started!
Perseverance is key!
“Babies have to try something more than ten times before deciding whether they like a food or not. If they spit it out and pull a funny face, it doesn’t mean they do not like it! It’s definitely worth offering your baby a variety of foods frequently to encourage them to try flavours and textures and to avoid the risk of them becoming fussy eaters,” says Lucy Gregory, Norland Nanny and founder of NEST
How do I know when my baby is hungry or full?
“Once your baby has started weaning, the following guide can be used to get to grips with understanding babies’ common hunger and fullness cues (signals) – allowing you to respond appropriately with continuing and encouraging or discontinuing feeding/the mealtime respectively,” says Dietician Lucy Upton.
Hunger cues* in babies include:
- Fussing or crying
- Leaning towards or opening mouth towards a spoon or food
- Opening mouth and hands
- Gazing at foods
- Exaggerated or expressive facial expressions, smiling, noise or cooing around food
- Gets excited around food
- Reaches or points for food
- Shows or expresses wish for certain food or mealtime with sounds or words (older baby)
*These are not developmental signs of readiness for feeding
Fullness cues in babies include:
- Closing mouth or clamping it shut
- Pushing food, your hand or the spoon away
- Turning head and/or body away from food
- Crying or showing stress signals
- Slowing pace of feeding or gets distracted more easily by surroundings
- Holding food in their mouth
- Fussing as you bring food towards them
- Signalling a clear no e.g. head shake
- Throwing food
- Crying or ‘meltdown’
Want to know more? You can read Lucy’s full article on Responsive Feeding here.
Weaning a baby with allergies
If you have concerns about allergens, consult your healthcare provider prior to starting your weaning journey.
Paediatric Consultant and Allergy Specialist Dr Jose Costa advises, “you should not introduce more than one new allergen at a time. As there is a potential risk (though extremely small) that a delayed reaction can occur more than 24 hours later, it would be safe to say that a new allergen can be safely introduced 3 days after the previous one.
If at any point you suspect an allergic reaction, stop giving that food immediately, give anti-histamines and/or call the emergency services. In this case, your child needs a referral to the allergy services so he/she can be tested. Eventually, you may need to do either a food challenge or a careful reintroduction of the allergen at home again.”
Prepare for mess, but lots of fun!
Try not to be put off by the amount of mess involved in weaning a baby. It’s all part and parcel of their development. In fact, the more a baby is able to experiment with food and the art of self-feeding, the quicker they will learn! In the meantime, get the camera ready for all those messy moments and priceless weaning faces!
Have fun on your weaning journey, and know that bloss is with you every step of the way with expert advice, top tips, products and resources to make the process smoother and more enjoyable for the whole family.