Weaning is the transition from milk to solid food. At around six months of age, your baby will start to need nutrients that aren’t available in adequate amounts in their milk alone. It’s important they’re introduced to solid food that starts to meet these additional nutritional needs while breast or bottle feeding continues up to two years of age or beyond.

Once your little one reaches this milestone, it’s natural to have lots of questions, so explore the weaning sections and look out for top tips from our Expert Panel and other families.

There are a number of things to consider as you approach the weaning or complementary feeding stage, for example:

  • Can your little one sit up? (It’s ok if they need a little extra support from you)
  • Can they grasp objects and bring them to their mouths?
  • Are they interested in your food and perhaps try to grab from your plate?
  • Can they hold their head steady and move around from side to side?

Kiddylicious Wafers are a great starting point – as little ones can learn to gum, chew, swallow and practice self-feeding.

If weaning with purees, start with thin purees and build up to ones with a thicker consistency and eventually minced or chopped foods. Then try larger pieces of food from protein and carbohydrate groups, like fish, chicken and potato.

Going down the puree route? Start with single flavours based on a range of vegetables. Try and focus on vegetables over fruit, as little ones have a preference for sweeter tastes so it’s good for them to become accustomed to savoury flavours early on.

Good first vegetables to include early on:

Spinach

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Kale

Once you’ve offered single flavours you can move onto blends, combining protein with vegetables, like salmon and sweet potato or chicken and broccoli.

Great first finger foods

Try soft vegetable batons, and as your little ones eating skills improve, these can be introduced as raw batons alongside other easy to handle foods, such as pasta spirals or cooked and cooled broccoli florets.

Ideal for practicing pincer grip

Grated foods such as carrot or cheese are great, and this usually happens between 9 and 12 months.

Products for each stage of weaning

Kiddylicious have specially developed products for each stage, so your little ones are soon eating healthy, balanced meals with the rest of the family.

Over time your little one will progress from purees to first finger foods to moving food and soft lumps around their mouth as well as using their lips to clear food from a spoon. Soon enough they’ll be accepting a wide range of food, as eaten by the entire family.

The Importance of chewing

Chewing improves the strength and coordination of the jaw area, which is essential for speech development. The more texture and shapes they are given in food at a younger age, the more receptive they will be to a wide range of food later in life. If you keep your little one on the puree stage for too long, it may be more difficult for them to accept lumps and finger foods.

Great finger foods

Cubes of hard cheese

Flaked fish

Hard boiled egg wedges

Soft cooked pasta

Soft cooked vegetables

Try to relax

Don’t delay introducing these types of foods for fear of choking, as your little one may become hesitant to trying new textures as time goes on.

Foods that should be avoided in the first year:

Honey – as it may lead to infant botulism. This is because honey contains bacteria which can cause this illness in little ones under 12 months.

Fruit juice – due to its high sugar content which can lead to tooth decay.

Processed meat – where possible, due to its high salt content.

Whole nuts – due to the possible choking risk.

If you have any concerns regarding your little one’s diet, we recommend you consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Top tips

Halve foods such as grapes and cherry tomatoes to minimise the risk of choking and you should always check for any bones in fish or meat before cooking and serving.

From 6 months it’s fine to use crushed nuts or nut butters in meals, however try and choose those with no added salt or sugar.

How much food should I give my little one?

The complementary feeding or weaning stage provides new tastes, textures and nutrients as well as introducing your little one to the social element of eating with family.

This varies so much, depending on how they feel each day. Every day is different: factors like if they are teething or feeling tired, as well as how much they’ve moved around, can all affect how much they eat. For more information on portion sizes for your little ones, go to our Portion Control page.

To begin with it may only be a few teaspoons, but as they grow, more will be eaten at each meal. Be led by your baby and let them regulate their own appetite. Allowing them some control is key. If they are curious and attempt to grab the spoon too, then don’t stop them – be prepared for the fact that it will get messy!

Aim to recognise signs when your little one has eaten enough. They might refuse to open their mouth, or they turn their head away to avoid further food. It’s useful to note that all babies are different, and they can differ in the amount they eat, so persistence is vital.

If you have any concerns regarding your little one’s diet, we recommend you consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Weaning FAQs

Babies are likely to show signs of readiness at around 6 months of age for the introduction of first foods. This may be through sitting upright and holding their head steady, showing interest in your food and starting to pick up and move food to their mouth.

Around 6 months of age milk is still important in the diet, but it no longer provides all the iron and zinc your baby needs and this is where protein foods such as lentils, beans, eggs and fish are especially important.

If you are concerned that your little one has a food allergy or an intolerance then you should first get professional advice from your GP. Don’t just eliminate foods from your child’s diet, as they may become deficient in important nutrients. Depending on the severity and urgency, make notes of symptoms and the reactions and talk to your GP.

The first year is vital to exposing little ones to new foods, flavours and textures. These early days are also about trying new textures whether that be from whole cooked or soft raw foods (if following the baby led weaning approach). Or if offering purees first, then your little one will progress from eating runny, thin and thicker purees through to mashed, lumpy, minced and chopped food.

These early days of offering first foods can be really apprehensive and scary for us as parents. However it’s good to remember that gagging is a natural reflex that happens when there’s a risk of choking. They are learning lots of new skills, particularly how to chew, swallow, and how much food to take into their mouth in one go. To minimise risk of choking, ensure to cook food well so it’s a soft texture and cut into suitable sized pieces (e.g. halve grapes and cherry tomatoes) and always stay with your baby at meal times whilst they’re eating.

Also I’d recommend doing a first aid course for babies and children to further put your mind at rest at this time.

The first year of life (so up to 12 months) is all about exposing them to a wide variety of foods and increasing their familiarity to them. It’s also important to introduce protein based foods at 6 months as their iron stores are depleted at this point.

Don’t be driven by calories, rather offer a variety of foods including starchy carbs (e.g. rice, pasta and bread), protein rich foods (e.g. eggs, beans, lentils, fish and poultry) and a range of fruit and vegetables for a balanced meal. Children are good at self-regulating and they will eat to their appetite.

Where you can try and sit as a whole family and eat and enjoy your meal (and vegetables!) all together, so your child can see you enjoy all the foods on your plate.

Children need to try foods such as vegetables many times until they are familiar and accept them. This is tough to witness as a parent, but don’t give up and try offering it again!

In the meantime make sure to include some vegetables within meals (e.g. grated courgette or carrot in a pasta sauce) so you know they are getting some vegetables into their diet.

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