Weaning at 6 Months - A Guide
8 min read
It’s an exciting milestone when your budding foodie is ready to start their exploration into the world of food!
But how do you know when they are ready, and what can you expect when introducing those first tastes?
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the weaning journey - every little one will be different. However, here at Babease, we’re big proponents for starting weaning at around six months.
Here, we cover everything you need to know about weaning at around six months!
Why Start Weaning at Around Six Months?
All babies are different and just as some babies will smile, roll over and crawl earlier than others, they may also be ready for solid foods at different times too. We are here to let you know what the guidelines are when it comes to weaning and what signs to look out for that signal your baby might be ready as they approach the 6 month milestone.
Both the NHS and PHE recommend that weaning should start at around six months. Up until this age, your little one can get all the nutrients and energy they need from milk, whether it’s breastmilk or formula.
Waiting until six months also gives your baby time to further develop the skills they need for eating solids, including the ability to move food around in their mouth as well as fine tuning their hand to mouth co-ordination.
The Weaning Signs
Although six months is a good general guide, every little one will be different, so you should also look out for certain developmental signs that show they are ready. The three key signs to look out for include:
- The ability to hold their head steady and sit in an upright position with little or no support.
- The ability to coordinate their eyes, hands and mouth, allowing them to look at food, pick it up and put it in their mouth.
- The ability to swallow food and not push it back out of their mouth with their tongue.
Once you notice these signs, your little one can begin their exploration of solids! Remember, the very earliest age it is safe to introduce any solid food is 17 weeks.
Some budding foodies may take a little longer until they’re ready, so don’t worry if you haven't seen all of these signs at the exact six-month mark. If you are ever unsure about your little one’s development, it is best to speak to a healthcare professional.
Weaning from six months is often referred to as stage 1 of the weaning journey. This first stage is all about introducing new tastes and plenty of variety.
Introducing more textures will come later, in stage 2, which will usually start at around seven months.
As weaning from six months is about ensuring your little one is getting used to eating solids and a wide variety of flavours, they will likely not eat very much, so don’t panic if they seem to refuse a lot of what you’re offering.
In the early days of weaning , the majority of their nutrients will be coming from their usual milk feeds. In those first few weeks, you’ll be sticking to your normal milk feed routine, with the addition of some new solids!
Many will start by offering purees first. However, by six months, some little foodies may be ready for mashed foods and finger foods during those first tastes. Try to gage what you feel is right for your baby and don’t be afraid to experiment with different, soft textures to see how they respond.
In that first week or two, it is recommended to offer a new food every day. This helps to increase the variety of flavours your baby is exposed right from the start.
Babease Top Tip
If you’re having trouble getting your little one to accept their first solids, try adding a little of their usual milk to the purees. This can help to make the flavour a little more familiar and take the edge of the bitterness off any strong veggie flavours.
Remember, all these flavours are totally new to your baby! A refusal or look of disgust may not be because they don’t like the food but because they are surprised by the new experience. Be patient and continue trying new flavours; you never know what’ll become a firm favourite after a couple of tries!
For more advice on introducing solids, take a look at our blog post below.
Starting With Vegetables
So, what kinds of foods should you start introducing at six months?
Here at Babease, we’re big fans of veg-led weaning - offering loads of great veggies from the start is a brilliant way to kick off the weaning journey for several reasons. The main ones are:
- Veggies are packed with nutritional goodness.
- Introducing more bitter veggies early on can help encourage a love of them later in life.
- There are plenty of tasty veggies to introduce, offering lots of variety when it comes to flavour and texture.
It’s a good idea to start veg-led weaning by offering single tastes of bitter green veggies to begin with. Vegetables can be offered as a puree, mash or even in finger food form. As mentioned before, you can also blend your chosen veg with your baby’s usual milk if they are finding the flavour of the bitter vegetables too challenging at first.
When your little one has become accustomed to these single tastes, you can continue introducing more variety by combining them with other veggies and fruits, along with starchy and iron-rich foods too.
First Weaning Foods
There are so many great veggies that make excellent first weaning foods! Some of our favourites for the beginning of the weaning journey include:
- Green beans
- Sweet Potato
Check out our favourite veggie-packed weaning recipes for around six months, when your little one is ready to explore a variety of combinations!
Ultimately, the important thing to remember at the beginning of the weaning journey is to have fun and be patient! Your little one may reject certain foods at first, but don’t be put off - it can take more than eight tries for a new food to be accepted, so keep trying things while offering lots of variety.
From around six months, a whole new world of food is opened up to your little one, so keep them excited and intrigued while letting them take things at their own pace!
For more advice about the weaning journey and everything you can expect, check out our blog, which is full of handy guides on all things weaning.