What, and how, you feed your child is crucial to their development and health including developing speech and social skills. However, with so much conflicting information out there it can seem like an incredibly daunting process.
Jo is a registered dietitian and works with us at Peasy ensuring all our recipes, information and products are ideal for your little ones.
You can see her bio for more information about her and most months you will see her on our monthly Q&A video (use the contact forms to send in your questions).
If you would like more detailed weaning advice, simply sign up to the Peasy Pods mailing list and you will receive a Peasy weaning timetable and Peasy recipes that you can use as your child grows. Over to Jo!
When to start
The official recommendations, as set out by the Department of Health, state that the process of introducing solids should begin at around six months and definitely not before four months*.
At around six months, most babies will be able to support their own heads, sit up by themselves and have the co-ordination to pick something up and put it in their mouths. Additionally, their gut and other organs begin to mature meaning that they are able to digest food well.
Before they are born, babies build up stores of some nutrients, such as iron and zinc, to see them through the early stages of life. These stores begin to run low at about six months and at this time they will need to get these nutrients through food. However, the majority of their nutrient needs will still be met from milk feeds at this point, which is why weaning has actually been renamed ‘complementary feeding’: the solid food complements the milk.
The ultimate goal of complementary feeding is to have a child (and later on an adult) who eats a wide variety of healthy foods and has good eating habits. It can be difficult and frustrating but trying to lay good foundations now, like including baby at mealtimes and building a good routine, can be really beneficial in the long term.
more blog articles
Your baby needs the same range of nutrients as you do although it’s important to remember that general healthy eating advice doesn’t apply to children under two years. They are growing rapidly so need lots of energy meaning that you should avoid low fat and reduced calorie products.
Ultimately, weaning is about building up to a balanced diet containing protein (meat, fish, beans, tofu), fat (oily fish, oils, butter), starchy carbohydrate (bread, potatoes, rice, pasta), dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese) and fruit and vegetables. For a week by week guide on weaning, please sign up to the Peasy mailing list.
If you do decide to start complementary feeding before six months, the Department of Health recommends that you should avoid giving eggs, wheat, fish & shellfish, nuts & seeds, unpasteurised cheeses and soya as these foods could increase risk of developing allergies. From 6 months these foods are fine. Honey should be avoided until 12months. Salt, added sugar and low-fat products should be avoided also.