Baby Weaning - Getting Started With Solids/First Foods

Feeling overwhelmed? Confused? Not sure how to begin? You have come to the right place! Transitioning your baby from formula or breast milk doesn’t need to be stressful. Starting the solids journey should be fun and allow your baby to love food and become a happy and healthy eater for life. Keep reading the following advice, if you want to master when the right time is to start solids with your baby, top tips to get you started, and know how to progress on this exciting adventure.

Client Testimonials

How can Dr Kirsty help me with weaning?

Dr. Kirsty Porter is an award winning Nutritionist, NHS Paediatric Dietitian who has carried out extensive research on topics related to weaning.

Dr. Kirsty is an empathetic professional who genuinely cares about making your baby’s transition to solid foods easier and more enjoyable. Her passion lies in supporting families and their babies through a range of services designed to provide practical steps for confident weaning. Dr. Kirsty’s goal is to ensure that mealtimes are a positive, stress-free experience for both you and your baby.

If you are a parent who is worried about your baby starting weaning, how to introduce food allergens or are struggling with the weaning journey, take the first step and ‘reach out’ today. Kirsty is here to support you.

Let Dr. Kirsty support you and your baby

Initial Consultation £100

Weaning Masterclass £40

Dr. Kirsty provides a comprehensive and bespoke one-to-one package for parents seeking thorough support and guidance to make weaning a positive, stress-free experience. Kirsty will work with you to address your baby’s weaning challenges.

This will be determined after the initial consultation.

The Initial Consultation is a one-hour appointment with one or both parents/caregivers to discuss your baby’s current challenges, medical history including allergies and medications, and will include a full nutritional and growth assessment. This assessment is crucial in developing an evidence-based, tailored package to effectively address and overcome the challenges you are facing. The bespoke package will include personalised one to one consultations, online support, and digital products to support your journey.

If you are struggling and are keen to get instant access to support for your baby, Kirsty’s webinars are the ideal solution.

This weaning webinar is 90 minutes and provides instant access to a pre-recorded webinar hosted by Dr. Kirsty that is guaranteed to take the stress out of the weaning journey for you, based on her years of private and NHS experience.

You will receive:

  • A downloadable webinar file that you can save to your computer and watch again at any time.
  • A digital PDF to support your ongoing journey.

Dr Kirsty on Weaning

Your little one’s weaning journey does not have to be stressful. Learn how to embrace the mess, and create an enjoyable experience for both of you!

This Nutrition4Kids page will answer the most frequently asked questions about starting solid food and your baby’s weaning journey.

Dr Kirsty Porter shares some of her top weaning tips – such as recognising when your baby is ready for their first foods and the various weaning options available.

Dr Kirsty emphasizes that weaning is an essential step in helping your baby’s growth and development and helps support their nutritional needs. There is no right or wrong way and it should be a fun experience for you and your baby!

At what age should I begin the weaning process for my baby?

One of the most common questions parents ask about weaning is when to start introducing solid foods to their baby.

There is no specific natural age that a baby should start weaning. However, according to current NHS guidelines, it’s recommended that babies are around four to six months old when they start weaning. By this time your baby should be able to sit up, their swallow is working well and their kidneys and digestive systems have had time to be fully developed to break down and use the food that they eat.

Weaning foods can be introduced anytime between 18-26 weeks (4 – 6 months) for babies. Starting at the right time means your baby is ready to progress with a range of textures and your baby is more likely to be able to feed themselves.

How do I know if my baby is ready for Weaning?

Readiness for baby weaning for solids includes physical, developmental, and digestive readiness.

These are the three key signs to look out for. Your baby:

  • Is able to sit upright and keep their head in place.
  • Has the ability to coordinate their hands, eyes, and mouth in order to look at food, pick it up, and put it into their mouth.
  • Is able to safely swallow food and manipulate solid food to the back of their mouth to swallow (this is called the diminished tongue reflex). Babies that are not yet ready to eat will often push their food away. This results in more food on their face than in their mouth when they attempt to swallow.

Often, we can mistake other normal infant behaviour as signs of readiness for weaning such as:

  • Chewing their fists
  • Waking up more at night
  • Wanting extra milk feeds

Unfortunately, there is no data to suggest that introducing solids will help your baby sleep better.

How Do I Know if I am ready for weaning my baby?

Do you see weaning as an exciting experience for your baby?

Do you have mixed emotions about weaning?

Are you worried about your lack of knowledge to do this?

How will you fit it into your daily routine? We’ve got you covered to wean your wee one well!

Discover Dr Kirsty's Weaning Box

Looking to start your baby’s weaning journey off on the right foot? Our specially curated weaning box has got you covered! Developed in collaboration with expert children’s dietitians, this box includes all the essential items you need to introduce your little one to the wonderful world of solid foods.

But that’s not all – our weaning box is perfect for busy parents who want to stay ahead of the game when it comes to meal prep. With the included items, you can easily whip up delicious meals for your baby, while also batch cooking and freezing any leftovers for later.

Invest in our weaning box today and make mealtime a breeze for you and your little one!

What are the main types of weaning?

The three weaning approaches include traditional, baby-led, and mixed.

The traditional spoon-feeding method of weaning a baby involves pureeing foods initially and progressing up to textures over time.

Mixed is where you give your baby finger foods and spoon feeds together at the same time.

Baby-led weaning (BLW), encourages your baby to feed themselves with finger foods from the start. In a more responsive eating feeding environment the baby eats when they’re hungry and stops when they’re satisfied. Learn more about BLW today.

Kirsty advises that the key for a baby to practice Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) is the full development of his/her fine motor skills. Sometimes the pincer grip required for grabbing and holding finger foods may not develop until a baby is seven months old.

It’s entirely your decision about what approach you use; there’s no definitive proof that one is superior to the other. As there is no right or wrong way when you are baby weaning, generally, most end up using a combination of both methods.

What are the three stages of weaning?

The three weaning approaches include traditional, baby-led, and mixed.

The traditional spoon-feeding method of weaning a baby involves pureeing foods initially and progressing up to textures over time.

Mixed is where you give your baby finger foods and spoon feeds together at the same time.

Baby-led weaning (BLW), encourages your baby to feed themselves with finger foods from the start. In a more responsive eating feeding environment the baby eats when they’re hungry and stops when they’re satisfied. Learn more about BLW today.

Kirsty advises that the key for a baby to practice Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) is the full development of his/her fine motor skills. Sometimes the pincer grip required for grabbing and holding finger foods may not develop until a baby is seven months old.

It’s entirely your decision about what approach you use; there’s no definitive proof that one is superior to the other. As there is no right or wrong way when you are baby weaning, generally, most end up using a combination of both methods.

What are the first foods suitable for my baby to eat?

The key to remember – food should be fun!!!

When introducing solids to your baby, it’s recommended to start with single soft cooked vegetables or fruits like carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, apples, and pears. These should be steamed until soft and then either blended, mashed, or cut into finger-sized pieces. As a weaning tip, you can use frozen or tinned foods, where fresh foods are out of season. This also keeps the cost down and reduces wastage.

Some soft fruits and vegetables don’t require any cooking—think ripe melon, avocado, banana, and peach which can easily be cut into sticks for a teething baby to gum.

Combining foods and allowing your baby to practice self-feeding with a spoon, or just their hands, is a great way to let them explore flavours. Kirsty weaning tip – incorporate herbs and spices to maximise their taste palate.

Refer to our weaning chart for the first food ideas for your baby beginning at six months or find more mealtime inspiration in our baby recipes. This helps as a guide to ensure that your baby is getting all the nutrients necessary for growth and development.

Any round-shaped food is considered a choking risk. Wait until closer to nine months to feed these to your baby such as grapes or cherry tomatoes, and make sure to cut them in half lengthwise to reduce the risk of choking.

How many times a day should I feed my baby?

Begin with one to two teaspoons or finger pieces once a day to get them used to solids.

Once your baby gets used to solid food, you can begin introducing three meals a day between 7-9 months and gradually increase the quantity. As your baby’s variety and quantity increase, they will naturally drop their milk intake.

Getting the balance between solids and milk can seem daunting but trust your baby as they have an innate awareness of their appetite and how much they need to eat and drink to be satisfied. It can also vary on a daily basis as well!

Dr Kirsty suggests looking out for key signs that your baby has had enough such as when they turn their head away, get more agitated, and close their mouth; at this point, it’s best not to force them to eat more since they will stop when they are full.

 

What items are necessary for weaning?

To start the little one’s weaning journey, you’ll need some key essentials.

Safe Weaning

Keeping your baby safe, while eating, involves taking a variety of steps including food preparation and hygiene. These are the usual steps that mothers and parents should be doing anyway for all family food preparation.

Gagging and choking

Recent research indicates that the primary concern parents have when introducing solids to their baby is the risk of choking. Gagging is a normal reflex as your baby learns to chew and swallow solid foods. Gagging is a safety mechanism to prevent choking and at the start of weaning the gag reflex is very sensitive, triggering often. The key is not to panic!

The NHS advises how to distinguish choking from gagging in infants

Signs of gagging in babies

What are the signs of a choking baby

The NHS warns that if your child is choking, something is blocking their airway and they may display the following symptoms

There is a number of first aid courses throughout the UK and online if you want more information on how to prevent choking.

Cooking safety tips

There is a number of first aid courses throughout the UK and online if you want more information on how to prevent choking.

Follow these food preparation and storage guidelines to ensure your food is safe and of the highest quality possible

For babies under six months, it is important to be extra careful when sterilizing feeding utensils like spoons and bowls. This isn’t required after six months.

Reinforcing the importance of cleanliness, it’s imperative to thoroughly wash your hands as well as your baby’s prior to meal preparation and before offering any finger foods.

Foods to avoid in the first year

Weaning a baby from breast milk or formula to solid food is an exciting milestone in a baby’s development. However, it is essential to be mindful of the foods that should be avoided to ensure the baby’s health and safety. Here is a list of foods to avoid when weaning a baby:

There is a number of first aid courses throughout the UK and online if you want more information on how to prevent choking.

Strategies for a stress-free transition to solid food for your baby

Here are some strategies for a stress-free transition to solid food for your baby:

  1. Start when your baby is developmentally ready. HAVE FUN! Start with a smile on your face, and enjoy the experience of teaching your baby about tasty food.

  2. Offer a variety of foods. Offer a variety of both fruit and vegetables from the very start. You can then start to mix food together to create meals. You can then add iron, protein, and carbohydrate rich foods to create a balanced weaning meal. You can try something new every day! This will help your baby get used to different textures and flavors.

  3. Be patient. Your baby may need time to adjust to solid foods, so be patient and offer the same food multiple times and change up how you offer this before excluding it from their diet.

  4. Encourage self-feeding. As your baby becomes more comfortable with solids, encourage self-feeding with fingers or a soft-tipped spoon. This can help develop their fine motor skills and independence.

  5. Let them explore. Avoid putting lots of pressure on them to ‘eat up’ and instead allow them to play with and explore the foods in front of them. All of this helps to build familiarity with food. From research, we know that familiarity with foods increases the baby’s acceptance of that food.

  6. Keep mealtime relaxed. Avoid stressful mealtimes by creating a relaxed atmosphere, without distractions such as television or toys. If feed time coincides with the family meal times, let other members help with the meals.

  7. Listen to your baby’s cues. Your baby will let you know when they are hungry or full. Pay attention to their cues and stop when they indicate that they are full.

  8. Be a good role model. Children learn by example, so make sure to enjoy various healthy foods in front of and with your baby.

Remember, every baby is different and will develop at their own pace, so be patient and trust that your baby will let you know when they are ready for solid foods.

How do I know if my baby is ready for Weaning?

It is important to remember that the majority of babies will not develop a food allergy. Only around 5% of children under 3 will have an allergy and the most common allergens are milk, egg, and peanut.

There is no evidence to support delaying the introduction of these foods beyond six months of age. Delaying their introduction past 12 months may actually increase a child’s risk of developing an allergy to that food.

Recent research has found that babies who are at a higher risk of food allergy (severe eczema or existing food allergy) may benefit from an earlier introduction of egg and then peanut to prevent allergies to these foods from developing.

Allergy UK recommends that the best way to introduce food allergens to your baby is;

Monitoring

Symptoms of food allergy can commonly cause your baby to have diarrhoea/constipation, vomit, become breathless, or have a rash on their skin or swollen eyes.

If you think your child has a food allergy, you should speak to your GP/Health Visitor and seek a professional diagnosis.