As with many things in parenthood, weaning our bundles of joy onto solid food is another milestone we all all look forward to and dread with equal measure! There is so much fun to be had with the introduction of food to our kids, but without a little insider information it can be fraught with milestones.
Fortunately, for you moms and dads out there who are gearing up for the main event (armed with your Babycup First Cups at the ready!), we’re here to help. Following guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), we’ve put together an easy-to-read list of some essential weaning dos and don’ts to help you embark on another wonderful journey with your baby.
When should I start weaning?
The AAP recommends breastfeeding or formula feeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby until 6 months of age, but beyond that point, your little one is ready to start trying their first foods!
Babies are very good at letting us know that they’re interested in food, so look for (pretty unsubtle and darn cute) cues of grabbing at your lunch and mimicking chomping motions. Hold out for that 6-month mark though, as offering food younger than this can be very harmful.
Should I stop offering milk when my baby starts on solids?
The short answer to this is, no. Expert advice is to continue breast of formula feeds as normal, alongside solid food, until 1 year of age. Beyond this you may of course continue to breastfeed your baby as long as you both wish, but it’s not a bad idea to start trying to limit the use of bottles. This is not so much about the milk, but about the motion of sucking damaging oral development.
Our Babycup First Cups are designed with this in mind, as open tops that encourage sipping is best you’re your baby’s oral health. Any receptacle that requires sucking can (and eventually will) cause problems.
Which food should I offer first?
The bit you’ve all been waiting for – the menu!
There are so many wonderful, healthy options when it comes to choosing your baby’s first foods. Traditionally, single-grain cereals (such as rice cereal or porridge made with breast, formula or other non-dairy milk) were the first step, but there is no evidence to suggest that this (or any other) foods first offer an advantage for your baby. Soft, pureed food will certainly be easiest for your baby to learn on as don’t forget, your baby does have to learn the process of chewing and swallowing food. It’s a big deal! And mild, creamy flavours offer a gentle introduction to a world of new taste!
Mashed or pureed avocado, sweet potato, banana and carrot are firm favourites. Try one food at a time and offer the same for a few days running to help spot any intolerances right off the bat. Always offer water in your Babycup First Cup when eating food, as the introduction of solids can make babies a little constipated if they’re not getting just a little extra liquid.
When can I start Baby-Led Weaning?
Mess is all part of the fun when it comes to discovering food! Your little one will be desperate to grab hold of, squish, pull apart and taste all sorts of things and you can start offering soft finger foods as soon as your baby is confident sitting upright (and beyond 6 months of age).
Choking is of course always a hazard, but no more so with Baby-Led Weaning than Spoon-Fed Weaning, so just make sure you’re taking the right precautionary measures.
- First finger food should be soft and easy to swallow (think banana, scrambled egg, peas or sticks of vegetables cooked until tender)
- Never leave your baby alone with food.
- As with Spoon-Fed Weaning, always be sure to offer sips of water from your Babycup First Cup alongside food.
What changes can I expect after weaning onto solids?
Which parent doesn’t have a life that revolves around poop? From birth, nappies and their contents are fair game for conversation and quite rightly too, as it tells you a lot about your baby’s health and wellbeing.
The main thing that is going to change with the introduction of solid food is of course, their poop, which will inevitably become more solid and stinky than you’re used to! Loose, mucousy or green stools are also possible, but these are indicators that your baby is struggling with something they’re eating, so try and identify and eliminate the problem food to avoid any further symptoms such as reflux and tummy aches.
Constipation is another problem that can occur when starting on solids and this is usually down to not getting quite enough water. Again, have that Babycup First Cup to hand for little sips and this won’t be an issue.