As a parent you want the best start for your baby. What your baby eats and drinks is important for her health now and in the future. Weaning means introducing a variety of foods gradually to your baby alongside her usual milk until she is eating the same healthy foods as the rest of the family. Sometimes this is called 'starting solids'.
When is the best time to introduce solid foods?
Health experts now recommend that babies should start eating solid foods from around the age of six months. For the first six months, all the nourishment your baby needs comes from breast milk (or infant formula), but after six months she will need more nutrients than milk alone can provide, for example, iron. You should aim to gradually increase the variety and amount of solid foods so that, by 12 months, food rather than milk is the main part of her diet. This will help your baby to grow and develop properly.
What are the advantages of weaning at six months?
Before six months your baby's digestive system and kidneys are still developing. Weaning too soon may increase the risk of asthma, eczema, digestive problems, allergies, and obesity in later life. Weaning is easier at six months because you can use finger foods or mash the foods - there is no need to puree. Also, bowls and spoons do not need to be sterilised.
How do I know when my baby is ready to start solid foods?
Every baby is different but there are some signs that can siggest your baby is ready to move on to solid foods. These are:
- she can sit up
- her hand/eye coordination has developed so that she can reach out and grab things accurately
- she takes things into her mouth and chews them rather than automatically pushing them out.
There are many useful resources for further nutritional information for you and your child. For comprehensive eating well advice fro early years including advice on fussy eaters and alternative diets such as vegan diets, see the http://firststepsnutrition.org/. We have selected a few recipe ideas below for you to try.
Local Weaning Groups
From time to time local weaning groups such as the popular Lunch Bunch in Dalgety Bay are available. Usually if there is such a group availble you will be invited by your Health Visitor around the time you'd be due to start weaning your child. Alternatively you can contact your local Health Visitor to find out if any groups are running in your area.
Baby Led Eating Recipes
|Creamy Chicken and Leek Hotpot|
|Green Macaroni and Cheese|
|Jacket Potato with Beef Stir Fry|
|Mexican Bean and Cheese Wrap|
For simple cost effective recipe ideas fro the whole familiy, see the Eating Well recipe book
For information on Vitamins for children under five and mums-to be see Free Healthy Start vitamins in Fife . You will also find information on help in the form of vouchers for milk, fresh and frozen vegetables and formula from the Healthy Start website.
You can also watch a weaning video produced by NHS Lothian and East Lothian Council on weaning.
For more information contactGina Graham, Breastfeeding Support Co-ordinator
Tel: 01383 565331 Contact Gina Graham online