Weaning your baby: The best first foods
If you're considering which first foods to try your baby on after breastfeeding, find out which foods are appropriate for your baby at each stage of his or her development.
The official World Health Organisation and government guidelines recommend introducing solid food when your baby is six months (26 weeks) old. Some babies will need complementary foods before 6 months in addition to breast milk or formula milk, others don't. But babies under 17 weeks are not developed enough for weaning, and should not be fed anything other than their usual milk. Mashed avocadoes or bananas are great first foods to try. In addition, try your baby with sweet potatoes, carrots, sweet apples or pears. Just cook until soft and then puree in a blender. Baby rice mixed with expressed breast milk or formula can also be a good starter food.
With all the best intentions in the world, it will not always possible to whip up incredible, well-prepared, organic food for your precious infant, at the drop of a hat. There may be times when you are caught short somewhere and you need to use some prepared baby food. This is not the end of the world, and like anything, moderation is the key!
However, the more you can manage to make at home yourself, the better. Using fresh ingredients will have a higher nutritional value than food from a packet and is probably going to taste better too.
Baby weaning before six months:
Whether breastfeeding or otherwise you'll need to be aware that certain foods can cause an allergic reaction in babies and therefore should not be given before the age of six months after which point the immune system is a little more established.
Foods that may cause an allergic reaction in young children include;
- Fish and Shellfish
- Nuts and Seeds
- Wheat, Barley, Rye and Oats which contain a protein called gluten.
- Citrus Fruits
- Dairy Products
Foods to try after six months:
- Cereals like baby rice, millet and maize (all gluten free).
- Pureed fruit and vegetables. Try: sweet potato, avocado pears, carrot, swede, butternut squash, apples, pears or banana
- Cooled, boiled water.
- Breast (or formula) milk
Weaning foods at seven to nine months:
- Cereals like the gluten free ones above.
- Introduce wheat-based products slowly: wheat biscuits, porridge, rusks etc.
- Leafy green vegetables as well as other fruit and vegetables.
- Lentil purees.
- Mashed potato.
- Pureed meats mixed with vegetables.
- Pureed fish mixed with vegetables. (Watch out for bones!)
Weaning baby at nine to twelve months:
Your baby will be developing a real appetite for solid food now and it will be likely that you will have progressed from the initial one meal a day. Probably, your baby will be eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. She will enjoy holding her food in her hands and will particularly delight in making a great mess everywhere. Teeth might help with the foods that are less pureed now and as well as all the other delicious foods you have been experimenting with, now you can try some new things:
- Well-cooked eggs.
- Finger food, like: baby rice cakes and breadsticks.
- Fromage frais.
- Red Meat.
- Strawberries and Kiwis (although monitor carefully as some babies are allergic)