How to wean your baby off the bottle

Introducing solids to your baby’s diet

Introducing babies to solid foods or weaning, usually takes place when the baby is between four and six months old. There are differing schools of thought on this subject however. Some organizations say weaning should be held back until a baby is six months old and others that it can be started from around four months old. NEVER give anything other than milk to babies under four months of age.

Weaning, whenever you choose to start this process is a gradual one which should not be forced upon the baby if they are not interested. Weaning means a gradual transition from a liquid diet to eating solid foods. Your baby will still need their milk feeds during the weaning process but as it progresses their milk intake will gradually lessen. A six month old baby should still be having around 600mls of milk per day.

Eventually your baby may only need one or two milk feeds per day. Water or weakened fruit juice can be given to babies between meals if they are thirsty.

Seek medical advice if you are unsure about weaning.


Step 1

Baby food

A baby’s first taste of food should be something simple and quite bland. Baby rice or porridge is a good starter food. As you start to introduce more foods into your baby’s diet you can begin to vary the flavours.

Home made food is preferable to manufactured baby food but jars or tins of baby food can be convenient and are handy to have in to make life a bit easier. They are also good for transporting when you are on the move.

Bananas are good nutricious food for babies. They can be mashed through a sieve quite easily and do not require warming first. Any soft fruit can be prepared this way. Avocados can also be mashed and you could add breastmilk or formula to thin down the consistency of the food to suit your baby’s needs.

A food processor is a good way to puree foods and means that after a while you can give your baby more or less the same food that you eat yourself. This way they will get the goodness from the meat, fish and vegatables that you yourself eat.

Just make sure not to add salt and sugar or concentrated stock cubes to your baby’s food as their kidneys are not yet able to process these things and could be damaged by them.

Step 2

High chair

Your baby will need a high chair in which to comfortably sit. Do not try to sit a baby in a high chair if they cannot support themselves. Baby should be strapped in and never left alone whilst in the high chair.

There are many types of high chair on the market ones to suite all tastes and price ranges. Some chairs are adjustable and can be used as small toddler chairs when the child grows.

Step 3

Finger foods

As your baby becomes familiar with different foods you will be able to introduce finger foods. Carrot sticks, cook by boiling or steaming so they are not too hard. Only give your baby finger foods when you are sure that they can chew and swallow small pieces of food without choking. Babies like to hold and eat things like toast too.

Step 4

Baby feeding him/herself

Soon your baby will want to feed themselves. This is an important step in their development leading to their increasing independence. Although messy your baby should be encouraged to feed themselves as this is how they learn. Let them touch and become familiar with how foods feel. Be prepared for a messy mealtime by putting newspaper or plastic sheeting under and around your baby’s highchair. This is the start of your baby learning how to use utensils. Eventually they will master the art of feeding themselves with a plastic spoon. (Do not give babies a fork or knife)

When your baby is starting to feed themselves they will most likely end up with food everywhere even in their hair!

NEVER leave a baby on their own while they are eating.

Things Needed
• Plastic feeding spoon
• Suitable bowl
• Baby rice or other baby food with NO bits in it
• Bib or baby apron with sleeves
• High chair
• Tissues or wet wipes
• Newspaper/plastic sheeting for under highchair

Tips & Warnings
• Your baby will only need a couple of spoonfuls the first few times you feed him/her
• He/she will probably pull some funny faces at their first tasting of food other than milk
• Remember weaning should be taken slowly.
• If your baby does not seem to want the food stop feeding them
• Do not start giving them too much food too soon
• Your baby should set the pace of weaning. They may not be ready or they may show interest
• NEVER leave a baby on its own when eating it could choke
• NEVER add sugar or salt to baby food their kidneys are not developed to cope with this
• Honey should NOT be given to children under one year of age due to certain bacteria that can be present in it.
• Cows milk unless used in cooking should NOT be given to babies under one year old.
• Test the foood yourself to make sure it is not too hot for your baby.


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