When to Wean?

One of the big milestones in your baby?s young life is when they have their first taste of solid foods. Knowing when to wean can be difficult; when is your baby ready to leave a milk diet behind and begin their adventure into the world of solids?

Professional Opinion

It is recommended that you wait until your baby is 6 months old before you introduce solids. This advice is often contradicted by other Mothers because in the past the advice was very different. Don?t be surprised if you are told that another Mother introduced solids when their baby was as young as just a few months. Current advice is based on the latest research so it is advisable that you follow the most recent guidelines. However, every child is different and if you feel your baby is ready for solids before the 6 month mark then speak to your doctor or other healthcare professional; they will be able to give you advice tailored to your unique situation. It is generally always advised that solids are not given before 4 months, so if your baby seems hungry before this stage, it is especially important you seek professional advice.

Signs your Baby is Ready to Wean

How do you know when your baby is getting ready for the exciting move to solid foods? There a number of signs you can look out for?

? Sitting up unaided and holding the heady steady ? until your baby can do this, it is too early to introduce solids.

? Interest in food ? does your baby watch you eating or look at your plate with interest? They may move their mouth when you are eating or even drool! Showing an interest in food is one of the first indications that your little one is ready for solids.

? Co-ordination ? does your baby have the ability to lift a piece of food and put it in their own mouth? If so, are they doing this often, exploring the shape and feel of toys and whatever they can get their hands on with their mouth? This is a sign they are ready to explore new tastes.

? Can your baby actually swallow? If you try solids with your baby and they push the food out of the mouth, they may not be quite ready to swallow just yet.

Waiting until your baby is truly ready to begin eating solids will mean they are much more receptive to new foods. This could mean you don?t have to spend as long spoon-feeding them as they will be more keen to feed themselves finger foods and quicker to experiment with the spoon themselves. They will be more likely to enjoy the range of flavours you offer them and this could mean they are less fussy with food when they are older. Starting your baby off with a healthy appreciation of lots of different foods can set them up with a good appetite and a healthy relationship with food.

Family mealtimes are a time when the whole family can sit o=down together without the distractions that are usually all around us. It can be an ideal time to talk about what is happening in everyone?s lives, even if your child is very young, you can chat while you eat together. Eating together will encourage your little one to try new foods and will teach them about how to eat, as well as allowing you all to have fun together (even when things get messy!).

Author: Arlene Copeland

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