First Weaning Foods
7 min read
It’s no secret that introducing your weaning baby to their first tastes of solid food is an incredibly exciting time!
After relying on exclusive milk feeds for the first six months or so, there is a whole world of new flavours and textures for budding foodies to explore.
But where is the best place to start?
The First Stage of Weaning
The NHS recommends that weaning starts from around six months, although this is a rough guide. Some babies may take a little longer until they feel ready to start weaning - let your little one guide the process and don’t force things!
Signs that indicate your little one is ready to try their first weaning foods include:
- The ability to stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady.
- Coordination of eyes, hands and mouth to pick up food and put it into their mouth.
- Not pushing food out of their mouth with their tongue.
After your baby starts displaying these main three signs that they are ready to start weaning, you can think about what kinds of foods to introduce!
Babease Top Tip
Remember that your baby will still only need a small amount of solid food, once a day to begin with. Take things slowly and focus on helping your little one get used to swallowing and chewing.
Starting with Vegetables
Here, at Babease we’re big fans of vegetables! They are tasty, versatile, nutritious and make excellent first weaning foods.
Offering a range of veggies from the start helps encourage a good relationship with less sweet, healthier foods earlier in life. Babies are born with a natural preference for sweeter foods, but the first tastes offer an opportunity to set them up with a life-long love of veg!
Weaning with veg from the beginning often means your baby will continue to accept more bitter or sour flavours as they grow.
The beginning of the weaning journey is full of new, exciting flavours and introducing lots of veggies will help build familiarity, making it more likely that your little one will accept and enjoy their veg later on.
The key to veg-led weaning is to offer a wide variety of vegetables, letting your little one taste something new every day for the first two weeks or so.
So, what vegetables should you start on?
There are plenty of options when it comes to introducing your baby’s first veggies. Some great example of more bitter veg include:
During these first tastes, you’ll probably offer these foods in puree form, trying one veggie a day to allow them to get used to swallowing solids and small samples of new flavours.
Babease Top Tip
It’s likely that your little one will be eating very little during these first tastes. It may be that they are rejecting foods, not because they don’t like them, but because they are surprised by all the flavours that are completely new to them.
Persevere with these more bitter veggies over the first few weeks of weaning. It can take up to 8 attempts for your little one to accept new flavours, so don’t be put off by their initial refusals; they may take to certain foods more readily later in the weaning journey!
After your little one has become more accustomed to their first tastes of single veggies, you can start introducing sweeter vegetables to continue offering a variety of flavours and keep the weaning journey interesting.
Sweet vegetables will often be more readily accepted, making them a great option to combine with other foods that have been rejected upon the first try.
Excellent options for this include:
- sweet potato
- butternut squash
After offering a variety of vegetables, you can start introducing a wide range of food types like fruits, starchy carbohydrates and iron-rich foods.
As your little one reaches the weaning age, they will be starting to run out of their natural iron stores. So, it will be important that they start getting these nutrients from food sources.
Luckily, there are plenty of great iron-rich food options that you can start introducing during the first stages of the weaning journey.
Iron-rich foods for your little one to try include:
- fortified cereals
- red meats
Lots of vegetables are also good sources of iron, especially dark leafy greens like spinach and kale.
Introducing Different Textures
As your little one progresses through their first tastes, new textures, as well as flavours, will come into play. After they have become comfortable eating purees, you can move onto mashed foods with bigger lumps and soft finger foods that’ll encourage them to chew and develop the muscles in their mouth.
Always remember that every child and weaning journey is different. Move at your own pace and let your little one steer the progression through their first tastes and the stages.
Finger foods can offer interesting textures during those first tastes. They can also encourage your little one to be more involved in the weaning process as they start getting used to putting food in their own mouth.
The following provides a good place to start with finger foods:
- roasted sweet potato wedges
- steamed broccoli florets
- avocado slices
- cooked pepper sticks
- boiled carrot batons
- banana slices
Babease Top Tip
When first introducing finger foods, you should always make sure they are soft and don’t present any choking hazards. Veggies should be thoroughly cooked or steamed until they are soft and easy to chew.
Always make sure to stay with your little one when they are eating to ensure they don’t choke or have any trouble with their food.
One of the most important things to remember about weaning is to offer lots of variety from the beginning. Introducing a range of great veggies with an initial focus on more bitter flavours is a great place to start!
For more support along the weaning journey, take a look at our weaning advice section that is full of handy tips and tricks for new parents.