From four to six months old, your baby can try a range of foods. They will cope best with one new food at a time, introducing small amounts which you gradually increase as your baby learns to master the skill of eating. As you baby gets older and is eating happily you can begin to introduce even more
variety to their diet.
It is not recommended to wean babies by introducing solid food at an earlier age unless they were premature and under the supervision of a Paediatrician or Medical Professional. Introducing solid food earlier than approximately six months is not recommended as a baby’s stomach and kidneys are not mature enough to cope with the waste products from solid food. If, however, you do have a baby who has suffered with reflux, is larger than the average baby, or is just plan outright hungry, it is sometimes recommended by a health professional to introduce solids as early as 4 months.
Some ideas for first foods for your baby include:
- Iron-fortified infant cereal or baby rice
- Pureed fruit
- Cooked and pureed vegetables
Mix foods as soon as your baby is used to the new tastes and flavours already in his diet:
- Cooked and pureed meat and spinach
- Cooked and pureed chicken and pumpkin
- Cooked and pureed lentils and carrot
Weaning from Breast to Bottle
If you are planning on weaning your baby from breast to bottle, for any particular reason, at an earlier age than four to six months, it is preferable to have a pre-plan in advance of the event. This is to enable you to avoid the discomfort of engorgement, which is when your breasts become full of milk and are uncomfortable, hard and heavy. Weaning slowly helps to avoid this scenario. Weaning slowly, at any stage will ensure there is less likelihood of your suffering any significant discomfort. Dropping one feed a day over a period of several weeks will allow your baby to get used to the bottle and your breasts
accustomed to producing less milk.
Babies are creatures of habit and the slower and more sensitively weaning is carried out the less impact this will have on your little ones daily routine.
The intimacy that comes with breast feeding is what your baby will miss most, especially if you are returning to work and leaving your baby with a partner or carer. Therefore, establishing bottle feeding in advance will be beneficial to all concerned.
It is impossible to predict how your baby will react at first but aim to establish weaning well in advance of any major change i.e. moving house, going back to work, going away where you can no longer breast feed.
Breast milk or infant formula is still your baby’s main source of nutrition until 8 – 9 months of age. Babies learn and develop food preferences from a very early age. To help them develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime endeavour to introduce a variety of food from the start i.e. trying one new food every 3 days. If your baby does not like a food the first time, try again with a smaller amount in a few days.
Babies are used to one flavour breast or formula milk. It takes time and patience for them to become
familiar with new flavours.