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City Community Services

Weaning

Weaning is the process for a baby when they change from milk to solid food. It is an ideal opportunity to promote family meals, regular meal routines and home cooking.  

The Food Health Team in Wolverhampton run weaning parties at the Children’s Centres in the city. A meal is cooked and together the family can taste the food. For further information contact the Food Health Team 01902 445496 or your Children’s Centre.

Stages of Weaning

Breast milk or formula is all a baby needs for the first 6 months (26 weeks) of life.

Signs of when to start weaning – look for when your baby:
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  • Can sit up
  • Can pick up food and put in his / her mouth.
  • Wants to chew and may have teeth.
  • Loses tongue thrusting reflex

At around 6 months:

  • Start with small amount of mashed vegetable, fruit or cereal with breast milk or formula milk
  • Continue to give breast milk on demand or give the usual amount of infant formula milk.

After a couple of weeks of starting to wean:

  • Begin to add different foods and tastes.
  • The food doesn’t need to be quite so runny - you can start to leave a few soft lumps.
  • Increase the number of spoon feeds to 2 or 3 times per day.
  • Introduce a cup for drinks.

At around 7 months:

  • Just use a fork to mash food.
  • Encourage finger foods eg toast, pitta bread, chapatti, banana slices, cooked carrots
  • By this stage you should be giving 3 meals a day.
  • Remember to allow plenty of time for feeding, particularly at first.
  • Don’t rush or force feed your baby, go at your babys pace
  • Give your baby plenty of different tastes, the more flavours a baby experiences the less fussy he or she is likely to be later on.
  • Once your baby is on 3 meals a day, you can begin to reduce the amount of milk you give - continue to breast feed on demand or give at least 500 to 600ml (16 to 20fl oz) of formula milk.  
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From 9 months:

  • Continue to give 3 meals a day plus snacks.
  • Move on from mashed to chopped foods.
  • Offer your baby a wide variety of family foods. Give your baby plenty of different foods so that he or she experiences plenty of variety.
  • Continue to breast feed on demand or give at least 500 - 600ml (16 - 20fl oz) of formula milk.

After One Year

  • Most one year olds are eating family meals with a couple of snacks between meals.
  • Give less than 1 pint or 500mls milk per day.

Remember
Always stay with the baby when giving food
Do not add salt or sugar to the baby’s food

Weaning Myths

  • Baby seems hungrier - before 26 weeks this is not a helpful sign. It may be a growth spurt and it is usually best to increase the amount of milk given for a few days
  • Baby is not sleeping through. There is no evidence that giving solids increases sleep
  • Baby seems unsettled and is putting their fist in their mouth. This may be a development stage or teething rather than a sign of hunger
  • The Department of Health also emphasises the importance of not introducing solid food before 4 months at the earliest as baby’s kidneys and digestive system are too immature to cope with solids.

What to feed your baby

The baby needs to be given food from the four food groups shown below:

  • Fruit and Vegetables
    Fruit and vegetables can be given fresh, frozen or tinned in water or juice.
    Vegetables and hard fruit should be boiled in a little water (no salt or sugar) until they can be mashed easily with a fork
  • Starchy Foods
    Examples of these are:
    Potato
    Cornmeal
    Sweet potato
    Semolina
    Baby rice
    Oats
    Rice
  • Meat and Alternatives
    Examples of these are:
    Chicken
    Lamb
    Turkey
    Beef
    Pork
    Cod
    Tuna
    Salmon
    Peas
    Lentils
    Beans
    Dhal
  • Dairy Foods
    Examples of these are:
    Custard
    Full fat yoghurt or fromage frais
    Cheese or cheese sauce

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Finger Foods
Do not give any hard foods (e.g. raw carrot, raw apple) to a baby as they can choke. Remove any peel or pips before giving the food to your baby. Fruit can be fresh, tinned or dried.

  • Examples of these are:
    Cooked vegetables
    Yams
    Plantain
    Cucumber
    Toast
    Breadsticks
    Rice cakes
    Low sugar rusks
    Chapatti
    Cooked pasta
    Cooked potato
    Mango
    Banana
    Pear
    Plum
    Peach
    Apricot
    Kiwi                                                                                                                                           
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Useful Resources

Information has been produced to help parents / carers ensure that they are providing the correct foods for a baby when introducing them to solids. These can be downloaded via the links below.

PDF Document Starting Solids - A menu plan for weaning using the recipe booklets
PDF Document Starting weaning - family recipes for starting weaning
PDF Document Feeding frenzy - family recipes for 7 months onwards

For further help contact your Health Visitor, Community Nursery Nurse or Children’s Centre.

Go to the Food Standards Agency website - provides information on weaning

Your Birth Book, by the Department of Health and given to all first time mothers, will have more information.