10 May In Conversation about…Weaning
In Conversation about…Weaning
We were privileged to have Liz join us during Weaning Week to discuss all things weaning. Liz is a nutritionist focusing on women’s health and family nutrition. She is also an expert that you will find on our Nuture Newborn and Nurture Baby online offerings.
Here’s what we covered in our live chat together:
How do you know they are ready to start weaning?
WHO guidelines are 6 months but between 4-6 months is the guidance, important to look out for the signs and listen to your baby. They need to be able to sit unsupported, if you hold their hips can they sit up straight? Also need to have some hand eye coordination and be happy to swallow food (at first their tongue may push the food forward and out immediately).
What do you start with first?
You want to start with green vegetables. These have a bitter taste profile and will be something the babies will be unsure about as they will naturally favour sweet tastes. Weaning, especially these first months, is an amazing opportunity to help your baby explore a wide spectrum of tastes and textures as they develop their own taste preferences. A great place to start is letting your baby have fun and play with food, involve them during meals and let them splash, mash and feel foods before there is any pressure for them to eat anything.
How do you know when to cut back on milk feeds?
Weaning is sometimes referred to as complimentary feeding because milk is still the main form of nutrition for your baby under one. The weaning tastes and textures should compliment the milk feeds. Work with your baby to trim down or cut out feeds when they need to.
What kit do you need?
A highchair, bibs, a steamer (if you prefer) and some spoons, plates, cups. A silicon ice cube tray can you be really helpful to freeze purees if you are doing purees.
Baby led vs purees?
Baby led is where you offer your baby whole pieces of foods and you let them explore and eat as much as they want. Purees is where you cook food, puree it and then spoon feed them in their highchair. There is a third option which is a combined approach. For example let them have a floret of broccoli as well as mash broccoli and a spoonful of pureed broccoli.
How do you navigate the baby food aisle?
Pay attention to the ingredient list, some baby snacks even have added sugar in. As sugar is unnecessary for them make sure you look closely at what is in each snack or pouch. Some pouches can be heavily fruit based so avoid those and stick with the vegetables based ones. Pouches can be a great go to option for a quick and healthy meal and provide the babies another taste experience. Baby porridge and rices aren’t necessary to use. Everything you are giving your baby you want to be nutritionally rich and beneficial, they would be better having some porridge made from either blended oats or overcooked oats as this will have a higher nutritional benefit.
What foods should I avoid?
Babies under one should not eat honey due to the bacteria. Also they should have a very minimal amount of salt so avoid adding salt into their meals. If your baby has a known allergy then consult your GP about alternatives or if your family has a history of allergies especially nut allergies then speak with your GP before offering these. If there is no family history then you baby should have nut butters, diary, grains, protein all from 6 months.
If you need any further information about weaning then why not join our Nurture Baby online course where we have a week dedicated to this.
A big thank you to Liz who joined us for this conversation. This blog is not an exact transcript but a paraphrase.