Baby Weaning Plan

Mother feeding baby food to babyOnce you’re beginning to move your baby from milk to solids, it can be difficult to figure out what to feed them to give them a varied diet and to expose them to different tastes and flavors. Below are some ideas for what you can feed your baby through weaning and beyond.

Starting Solids

You shouldn’t really be feeding your child solid food before the age of six months old. If they seem hungrier or that they need more food, give them extra milk feeds. After the age of six months, you can start to introduce solids but keep them bland; a few teaspoons of mashed potato or vegetables or fruit mashed with formula or breast milk. Do this after a milk feed or during a feed if that works better for you. Ask your midwife team or district nurse for more information on how to feed your baby if you’re unsure of how to do it.

Foods that you should avoid if you do start your child on solids before six months are eggs, fish, nuts, cheese and seeds. This is because eating these foods could cause a food allergy. When you do introduce these foods, do it slowly, one by one over a period of weeks or months and if you spot any allergic reactions, seek urgent medical attention.

First Foods

Your child’s first foods should be foods that are easily digestible and not too strong in flavor. Try some of the following:

  • Mashed or pureed rice or baby rice mixed with formula or breast milk, mashed or pureed banana, cooked apple, cooked pear or avocado, mashed or pureed cooked parsnip, potato, yam, sweet potato or carrot
  • Small pieces of fruit and vegetables that are soft and small enough for your child to pick up and put into their mouths

Once your child has gotten used to fruit, vegetables and baby rice, you can start to introduce them to other foods, some of which are listed below.

  • Cooked lentils, pulses or hummus
  • Mashed or pureed cooked chicken, fish and ham (no salt)
  • Very small pieces of toast that they could pick up with their hands
  • Yoghurt, custard, fromage frais or full fat milk – a few teaspoons of this will work well

The majority of babies can chew soft food even if they haven’t got teeth yet. Try them on cottage cheese to get them used to dairy and having to chew, and vary up the textures of the food that they’re eating so that they get used to using their mouth in different ways. Further on in the weaning process when they are used to pureed food, you can begin to get them eating finger foods. Some ideas for tasty finger foods are below:

  • Cooked and cooled crudité sticks – courgette, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, celery etc.
  • Small rice cakes
  • Cooked pasta shapes
  • Small pieces of apple or pear that baby can chew on
  • Small fingers of toast, bread or pitta
  • Small cubes of cheese

Keep away from sweet treats like rusks or biscuits at this stage as you don’t want your child to begin to expect sweet snacks. This also sets them up with healthy eating habits for life.

Below are some more meal ideas that you can rotate if you find that you’re getting stuck in a bit of a rut with what you’re feeding your child. Make up a big batch of each meal and put what you don’t use into the freezer, freezing it in individual portions so that there is no waste and no fuss.

Breakfast

  • Porridge or cereal mashed with milk and a cooked pear
  • Wholegrain biscuit mashed with milk and a banana
  • Toast fingers with mashed banana
  • Toast fingers with slices of hard-boiled egg

Lunch

  • Cauliflower cheese with cooked pasta shapes, no added salt
  • Cooked fruit and custard
  • Cottage cheese and crudités
  • Baked beans and toast, reduced salt and sugar

Dinner

  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Mashed sweet potato and chick peas
  • Chicken and vegetable casserole made with minced chicken
  • Mashed tinned salmon with cous-cous

For more information, speak to your local midwife or midwife team.