Moving on to solid foods is an exciting stage for both you and your baby. There are lots of new flavours and textures for your little one to try, and it’s important your baby gets a variety of foods. To help you and your baby get the hang of it, we’ve compiled a guide to weaning with tips.
what is weaning?
At around six months, your baby needs more than breast or formula milk to meet their nutritional needs. Weaning isn’t just about new tastes and textures, it also helps:
• Support continued growth and development • Lay the foundations for a healthy, balanced diet • Develop communication and independence • Speech development through chewing and swallowing
when to start weaning babies
The NHS recommends that you should start giving your baby solid foods (weaning) when they are around six months, but all babies are different, so check with your health visitor or public health nurse. Before weaning starts, your baby needs to:
• Have good eye, hand and mouth co-ordination, enabling them to pick up food on their own • Stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady • They need to be able to swallow food Some signs that can be mistaken for a baby being ready for solid foods are: • Sucking and chewing on fists and toys • Waking in the night when they have previously slept through • Wanting extra milk feeds
These are all normal behaviours and are not necessarily a sign of hunger or being ready to start weaning.
stage 1 weaning – veggie fun
Begin with vegetables alongside your baby's usual milk. Weaning with vegetables exclusively for the first two weeks gives the best chance for healthy eating habits in later life.
why should vegetables be the first weaning foods?
Recent evidence highlights the importance of weaning with vegetables first to set up healthy food preferences and eating behaviours later on. We’re all born with an innate preference for sweet flavours, this is why your little one is more likely to accept carrot compared to spinach or broccoli.
the role of milk
Milk should still be the main source of nutrition for your baby as they’re only eating small portions of vegetables, so they still need nutrients from milk.
SMA PRO Follow-on Milk is suitable from six months and is designed to complement the weaning diet. It is fortified with and is fortified with important nutrients such as iron, vitamin D, calcium and Omega 3 & 6.
92% of parents who tried it said that they would recommend SMA PRO Follow-on Milk to their friends and family.*
*Trial conducted by SMA Nutrition among 460 parents, United Kingdom, October 2016.
stage 2 – weaning new taste and texture
By now, you and your baby will have gone through the first stage of weaning, and hopefully, you have won the veggie wars already! Now it’s time to move on to the second stage of weaning; start introducing the other food groups and new textures.
how do I introduce new tastes and textures?
The weaning journey is different for every baby, as every baby will accept new tastes and textures at different paces.
Don’t worry if you’ve been puréeing when others have been on finger foods. The second stage of weaning is the time for everyone to try and start moving towards more solid foods.
Introducing new foods can be a surprise for your little one. They may spit it out at first, or refuse to try it, but don’t give up! Remember it can take up to 8 times for a baby to accept a new taste.
stage 3 – weaning
By the third stage of weaning your baby should be eating a good variety of foods with varying tastes and textures from the different groups. By this point, your family will probably be eating the same foods together, so remember not to add any sugar or salt.
Your little one may have already developed the word ‘no’, and may be more than happy to use it! But don’t be deterred as they are just trying to show their independence.
Eating together will get your little one interested in what you’re eating and wanting to try it too. By stage 3 weaning, they should be having a balanced diet with the appropriate amounts of all the food groups.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The best way to feed a baby is to breastfeed, as breast milk provides the ideal balanced diet and protection against illness for your baby and also many non-nutritional benefits for both baby and mother. We recommend that you speak to your healthcare professional when deciding on your choice of feeding your baby. Professional guidance should also be sought on the preparation for and maintenance of breastfeeding. If you do choose to breastfeed, it's important to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Infant formula is intended to replace breast milk when mothers choose not to breastfeed or if for some reason they are unable to do so. A decision not to breastfeed, or to introduce partial bottle-feeding, will reduce the supply of breast milk. If for any reason you choose not to breastfeed, do remember that such a decision can be difficult to reverse. SMA PRO Follow-on Milk is only suitable for babies over 6 months as part of a mixed diet. It should not be used as a substitute for breast milk during the first six months. The decision to start weaning or to use this product before six months, should be made only on the advice of a doctor, midwife, health visitor, public health nurse, dietitian or pharmacist, based on baby’s individual needs.