Weaning a baby means gradually changing the babies diet from milk to a mixed diet. There is no set age that a baby should be weaned, as your baby will often let you know! The usual age to begin this transition to solid foods is around 4 – 5 months old. The weaning process takes a matter of months rather than days and weeks, being something that can not be rushed.
Breast fed babies will need to begin weaning at around 4 months. This is because breast fed babies rely upon the iron with which they are born. As breast fed babies do not have this iron supplemented, they require weaning earlier to prevent. Bottle fed babies have the advantage of iron being added to their formulas.
Between the ages of 3 and 4 months, the baby will be waking early for a feed and when this feed no longer satisfies them, then this is the sign to begin introducing other foods into their diet. The baby should not be
given more than 8oz in any one feed.
Methods of weaning vary as parents are told so many different things, however do remember these points:
Here is a quick guide by months:-
3 – 6 Months: All home cooked
food should be pureed or liquidized. Do not add salt. Tins or jars are fine but
they do become expensive and the baby must get used to home cooked food at some
point. The sooner the better!
6 – 8 Months: Now the baby is
chewing, stop liquidizing his meals and mash them instead.
8 Months onwards: Finger foods
are very appealing to your baby now. You can now swap your baby onto cows milk.
Your baby may still be wanting milk mid morning and at bed time. The advice is that if they want it then give it too them. Try giving the mid morning drink in a beaker. Your baby may still want their bed time drink in a bottle as its soothing and gives you the chance for an uninterrupted cuddle.
Ensure that your baby joins you for the family meals as even if they do not eat any significant quantities, the child is given the opportunity to get used to the idea of eating with people and imitating the way they eat.