Ready, Steady, Wean: Top tips on how to wean your baby
This week is National Weaning Week.
Parents can find themselves overwhelmed by a wealth of information and well-meaning advice when it comes to introducing their little one to their first foods.
When to start, what to feed, how to feed, there can be so many questions.
This National Weaning Week, Parenting Expert, Laura Erskine shares some of the advice and tips she has gleaned from working with child development, nutrition and feeding experts, not to mention her own experience with three little ones.
The HSE recommend that you start to introduce your baby to their first foods between 20 weeks and
6 months. Signs that they are ready include interest in your food and starting to wake during the
night for additional milk feeds.
2. Root Vegetables
Start your weaning journey with pureed root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut
squash and parsnip which are all rich in vitamins and easy to digest. Try to stick with vegetables first
rather than fruit. This will help your baby to develop a broader taste for food and help create
healthier eating habits.
From six months, always try to offer some sort of finger food with each mealtime. You should be able to easily mash the finger food between your thumb and forefinger. Soft chunks of roasted vegetables or pieces of soft fruit like raspberry and banana slice lengthways are great finger foods.
4. Get Messy
Don’t be afraid to let your child really explore their food.
Save on the mess by investing in a good coverall bib like the BabyBoo.ie waterproof cotton feeding bib developed by two Irish mums.
Getting messy allows your baby to fully embrace the sensory food experience, so that you can raise a happier healthy eater.
Do not delay moving on with textures and flavours when weaning.
Your baby has a natural gag reflex and will regurgitate any lumps they're not able for. You can always revisit a food if your baby is not ready for a certain food or texture.
6. Keeping Trying
Try giving food several times before you decide that they don't like a particular flavour or texture.
Experts say you need to try a food at least ten times before you can safely say a child doesn't like it.
Reintroduce the food again in different forms or at different times of the day, giving a break of a few days before trying again.