When and how to wean!

The weaning process is key to a child’s potential development of allergies and digestive difficulties in later life and the below give you some handy hints:

Having talked about how to deal with Picky Eaters last week, a number of people brought up the issue to weaning.  Knowing when to wean a baby on to solids, as well as at what age to introduce certain foods are the key areas in question. So what is the best advice?

Generally, babies start being weaned at around 6 months. The right time will vary from baby to baby, so there are signs to watch out for. They may start becoming interested in what you are eating and seem to want to try some. They may also have lost their tongue thrusting reflex, a reflex which automatically pushes solids out of their mouth. In addition, they might start becoming more interested in the texture and shape of their toys in their mouths. Appearing hungry may not necessarily be a sign that they are ready to be weaned.

Using a variety of pureed and mashed up foods is important for the baby as chewing can help with the development of their jaws and helps with speech development.  Babies often don’t like the texture of lumpy foods so try feeding the baby on your lap for extra comfort, and make feeding time with fun with loads of smiles and singing.

Generally, it is advised to cook all the ingredients and then mash up. With regard to what to introduce first, vegetables are the best (except for tomatoes, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes), gluten free grains such as rice, quinoa, as well as fruits (except citrus) and fish, beans and pulses. At nine months, introduce meats, grains such as oats, corn or rye, yogurt, eggs and the other vegetables. At 12 months, introduce wheat, dairy, citrus (these 3 can be high allergy foods),citrus fruits and nuts/seeds (ground or chopped up).

Make sure you notice the effects of these foods as you introduce them. If the baby start developing eczema, runny nose, ear infections, wheezing or colic etc, stop giving these foods and then re-introduce when reaction dies down.

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