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Mother and Baby

Weaning: the key stages for success

Those first fews steps towards big girl's food can be a little trial and error. Our experts give some failsafe guidelines for weaning your tot in this short video...

Simon, Cow & Gate nutritionist says: There are three key stages I suppose. One is probably around 4-6 months and that’s what we kind of describe stage one as it’s generally a nice, smooth texture.

Mum 1 says: "We use the baby rice and baby porridge for breakfast and she still has that now. And then during the rest of the day she’ll have purees – things like carrot or sweet potato. I cook all those up, I steam them for her and then I whizz them in the processor and put them in ice cube trays, which I find a lot easier. Because when I get them out I can just get out one or two and I know exactly how much portion wise she’s getting during the day."

Simon says: At around about 7-9 months, normally the food is quite mashed. And it’s quite gradual going from quite a smooth puree to a more lumpy texture.

Mum 2 says: "Obviously he’s eating a lot slower now because he’s got to chew it, not like before when it was very liquidy and he just swallowed it down without any chewing. Like yesterday lunch, he hardly had anything and I’m talking to my friend saying, ‘He hasn’t really eaten so I’ve got to feed him, he needs his food’. But he’ll tell you when he doesn’t want anything but he’ll also tell you when he’s hungry. So the best thing is not to get stressed about it."

Simon says: And about 10-12 months is when the baby should almost have tiny pieces and it should start looking like adult food but a smaller, mini version.

Mum 3 says: "We’re trying peas and carrots here and I know he loves these foods because he’s had them in stage one and two when they’ve been pureed and mashed up. But it’s a thing he’s got to learn, that these things that he’s picking up and putting in his mouth are exactly the same. So, we’ve got to first got to get past the texture and then the skill of actually putting it in his mouth before he can even learn.

Simon says: The reason why we don’t just give babies adult food is that they need a really vitamin and mineral rich diet. They need lots more fat than an adult would and a lot less fibre. So that means that the food that they need and the diet that they need needs to be a lot more tailored for them. Salt and sugar are obviously two key things that adults have a lot of in their diet but you want to really avoid in an infant’s diet.

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