I remember when I first started weaning my boys. It can be tricky introducing solid foods and you do worry about getting it right. It is a stressful time feeding babies. I was always worried my boys would choke unless everything was completely pureed! But I soon learnt that wasn’t the case. They quickly advanced from smooth purees to chunks of food as the months progressed and their gums got stronger and their teeth made an appearance.
Of my two children my youngest is the better eater. He is happy with most meals and eats a variety of foods. My eldest is much fussier. I think I didn’t always preserve with the foods he turned away from when he was a baby. Babies have preferences when it comes to food so although they may initially refuse new foods it’s important to continue to encourage your child to try different foods. This helps them get used to various tastes and flavours. If something didn’t go down well one day try the next. Even better show them how much you are enjoying your food. Often, they will want to steal a bit of what you have right off your plate!
It’s a shame your baby doesn’t come with a user guide when they are born. Instead you must learn what to do through experience and the knowledge of others. Thankfully there are lots of useful resources online like the Infant & Toddler Forum Ten Steps for Feeding Babies so you see there really is no reason to be anxious anymore.
Follow Your Babies Cues
I especially liked tip 7 so you learn to look for cues that your baby has had enough to eat. I think that’s well worth noting as you can often overestimate how much children need to eat and want them to finish everything that is on the bowl or on the plate. If they turn away or keep closing their mouth they may well have had enough.
Take Your Time
It can take time to adjust your baby to any changes, so introduce them gradually. But its important to get it right so that babies develop a healthy attitude to food that lasts into later life.
Watching Out for Allergies
I didn’t realize it is advisable to introduce allergenic foods one at a time, things like yogurt, cheese, egg, nut butters, fish, wheat-based foods and foods with soya or sesame. So even with two boys now 9 and 11 I have learnt something new thanks to the Infant & Toddler Forum. If you introduce these foods over time you can note if your baby has a reaction to anything and adjust their diet according. This post about food allergies in children might also be useful.
Introduce Finger Foods
You need to make sure you also give finger foods from around nine months, so they can learn the skills required to feed themselves and get used to different textures. It can be a messy time watching your baby feed themselves but its all valuable skills for them.
Coping with the Pressure
Please don’t be worried about weaning it is an exciting time for your baby and the help of the Infant & Toddler Forum will always give you a nudge in the right direction if you want some advice! There can be lots of pressure on us parents to get it right. However there is always help out there when you need it!
The infographic from Infant & Toddler Forum shows how you feel is perfectly normal! 70% of parents feel pressured and 60% are anxious. So resources like the Ten Steps for Feeding Babies are an ideal way to soothe parents worries. I would much prefer to use an online resource like that than approach my health visitor. I found her to be very judgmental and it didn’t help me build up my confidence as a parent.
Good luck on your weaning journeys. You have got this!