The transition to solid foods marks an important milestone for both you and your baby.
Official guidelines suggest that weaning starts at around six months old – any younger and your baby's digestive system might not cope with new food proteins, any older and they may miss out on vital iron supplies.
But how will you know when your baby is ready?
There are three clear signs to look out for which, together, show your little one is good to go.
1. They can stay in a sitting position and hold the head steady.
2. They can coordinate their hands, eyes and mouth and are able to put things in their mouth on their own.
3. They can swallow food – babies who are not ready will push food back out.
If your baby is ready for that all important first taste of food, here are some top tips from Paul Lindley – creator of Ella’s Kitchen - to get you started…
Wakey wakey! - Choose mealtimes when your baby is relaxed and alert
Sitting up nicely – Try to encourage your baby to sit up and face you to make it easier for them to move solid food from the front to the back of their throat and aid digestion
Little by little – The best time to try is just after or in the middle of a regular milk feed. Start with just a few teaspoons of food, or more if they are still hungry – they will let you know.
One at a time – When starting out, introduce one taste at a time. That way you can see what your baby likes best and discover any allergies
Happy songs – Include lots of silly rhymes as you feed and don't forget big, smiley faces. Challenge yourself to think of songs with fruit and veg in the lyrics, or download Tasty Tunes from ellaskitchen.co.uk if you need inspiration
Playing with food – Encourage your baby to get involved and have fun exploring and touching food
Baby knows best – Most babies know when they have had enough to eat. If they don't want any, just wait and try again later. There's no rush.
Mummy and Daddy cool – Don't worry at this stage if more food ends up the floor than in your baby’s tummy. Mealtimes should be relaxed and most of all, lots of fun!
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