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When Should I Start To Wean My Baby?

Weaning your baby onto solid foods is a learning experience for both mother and baby. Some babies are ready earlier than others, and a good guide to the weaning process is when your baby can sit up, with or without support, and can hold their head up. Babies who are taking an interest in family mealtimes are often ready to be introduced to some solid food.

If a baby can hold an object and put it to their mouth, then this is a sure sign they are ready to be weaned. This does not mean they no longer need their milk intake, and weaning is a process of combining solid food with their milk feed, gradually lessening the bottle or breast, but letting baby lead the way.

Most parents start off the weaning process by introducing baby to a baby porridge which is easily digested. Initially it's best to give baby the milk feed before making the introduction, as a hungry baby will automatically reject any attempt to feed on anything other than milk.

The very first feeds are usually messy. Baby is likely to pull a face, and spit out the first mouthful. Don't be deterred, give him/her the chance to taste the contents, and then try again. The idea of accepting a spoonful of food which tastes ‘quite nice' may well make baby happy to accept the next mouthful. 

Don't be disappointed if your first attempts are unsuccessful. Return to the bottle or breast and try again later.

Once baby has accepted having some porridge either with the morning or evening feed of milk, then it's time to introduce other flavors. This can be done by mixing them with the porridge or if baby is enjoying the food offered, then different flavors can be brought into the diet separately to ascertain likes and dislikes.

Remember babies only have small stomachs so don't try to keep feeding when baby refuses to take the food.

Try to develop good eating habits by feeding baby mashed up fruit and vegetables. If baby shows a dislike for a certain food don't try to force it, just introduce it again at a later stage. Gradually bread, rice and pasta can be combined with favorite dishes, and eventually of course meat, fish, eggs and beans.

Try to get baby to start drinking water from a cup. You can add some diluted fruit juice for extra flavor, but do be aware that many juices contain high concentrations of sugar which are not good for baby's teeth or general health. Also avoid giving baby foods high in salt content, fatty or highly spiced foods.

By seven months your baby is probably ready to take finger foods. These can include soft cooked carrots, sweet potato, pasta, bread etc. Never leave your baby alone whilst eating these foods, but make sure they are foods that encourage baby to chew so as to strengthen the gums and teeth as they form.

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