If your child is ready to commence baby led weaning and the time has come to introduce solid food into his or her diet, here are some tips on how to get started:
- Sit your baby upright, facing the table, either on your lap or in a highchair. Make sure she is able to sit steadily and can use her hands and arms freely.
-Offer baby food by putting it in front of him or her, the decision is his or hers to take it or leave it.
- Start with foods that are easy to pick up e.g. thick sticks. New shapes and textures can be introduced gradually.
- Include your baby in your mealtimes. As long as it’s suitable, offer him/her the same food as you are eating so that he/she will learn by copying.
- Offer food when your baby is not tired or hungry, so she can concentrate. In the early stages, mealtimes are for learning through play, he/she be getting all her nourishment from her milk feeds.
- Until your baby reaches 12 months of age, milk is your baby’s main source of nutrition therefore continue offering breast or formula feeds as before. Your baby will gradually reduce their milk feeds themselves.
- Offer your baby water with her meals. Your baby will drink if he/she needs to, if not, they won't.
- Don’t hurry your baby or distract her while she is handling food, allow her to concentrate and take her time.
- Don’t put food into your baby’s mouth for her or try to persuade her to eat more than she wants.