Whether you’re taking a spoon-fed or baby-led approach, weaning onto solid foods is an exciting moment in an infant’s life, and a great opportunity for bonding between parent and child! While some guidelines for babycare can be quite strict, weaning is based on the individual experience and relies on good communication between child and guardian as well as a variation of stimuli. But when should you start, and how? Read on for our top tips and guidance on starting your child on solids…
When to start?
The introduction of solids in your baby’s diet tends to start at around the 5-6 month mark, but can be as early as 4 months! To know when is the right time for your child, look out for the following signs:
- Your baby is able to sit in a high chair and hold their own head up independently.
- Your baby is starting to put objects in their mouth and gnawing.
- Your baby’s weight is approximately double their birth weight.
What to start with?
Babies naturally gravitate to sweet and starchy foods as these are the most similar in flavour to breast milk, however it’s important to make sure that they are experiencing a wide range of flavours and textures, including more bitter and fibrous foods, to give them an expanded taste palette.
Start with purees, with low or no sugar and salt, and introduce new foods one at a time - this is helpful for parents to see how their child reacts to different foods, not just in terms of preference but also looking out for any allergies or intolerances.
For more tips on what foods to introduce at the beginning of your child’s solid diet, check out our previous blog on vegetable-first weaning!
What is the ideal timeline?
4 - 6 months: Solid foods should make up the smallest portion of your baby’s daily food intake, with the rest being primarily breastmilk or formula. As you start introducing your child to pureed or softened solid foods, you should include around four tablespoon’s worth of solids per day, spread over one or two mealtimes.
7 - 9 months: Babies should continue to be fed with breastmilk or formula at the same frequency, however they can now also begin sitting for three meals a day containing solid foods.
9 - 12 months: At this stage, your baby should be on a diet of around 50% solids and 50% breastmilk or formula. At around this age, infants begin taking an interest in what others are eating around them, and are ready to start eating finger foods and trying small pieces of their parent’s foods!
From around the 12 month mark, your child will be on a majority solid diet, and you will have experience from a few months of weaning to know what their taste preferences are. Check out our Mealtime range for further inspiration on how to serve your child’s food to help their motor skill development and independence while they eat!