Moving your baby onto solids is a big step that cannot be rushed. Your little one needs to be completely ready to be weaned off breastmilk or formula, and it is a process that takes time. Your baby will have only ever tasted, digested and had the sensation of milk in their mouths, so you can imagine the textures and flavour sensations they’ll experience when they move onto mashed vegetables and soft fruits. When Katie was moving onto solids, she loved all the new foods she put in her mouth, but this doesn’t mean she always swallowed them!
Katie was six months old when I started weaning her onto solids. This is the age suggested by the NHS, and is the age at which your baby’s digestive system is developed enough to be able to handle solid foods. Now, I know parents that started weaning their babies earlier than this, but I think it’s really important to visit a GP if you are considering doing this. Your baby can safely live off breastmilk for the first six months, so there’s really no rush for solids.
Spot the signs
When your baby is ready to move onto solid foods, you will start to notice some changes. For example, they will be able to sit up and support the weight of their head. They will also be able to swallow their food properly, rather than pushing it out with their tongue, and pick up food and put it in their mouth by themselves. Be mindful though: Katie started chewing her fists at around five months, and I was convinced this meant she was ready for solids, but my GP said this is commonly misinterpreted as a warning sign – along with your baby waking up more frequently and demanding food from you more regularly.
Weaning your baby
Once your baby is ready for solids, you can start to wean them off breastmilk or formula. You will probably still feed them milk (like I did) during the weaning process, to keep up their nutrition intake – at this stage, solid food is more about exploration than nourishment. You could start them out on cooled mashed potato or puréed carrots, or try giving them bits of soft peach or banana. Your baby is likely to get messy when they first start eating solid foods, but you can always use a muslin square to keep your clothes nice and clean!
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