08/12/2020

Signs & Signals your baby is ready to wean 

 

  1. Has your baby lost the tongue thrust reflex? This is important as the absence of this early reflex means your baby is developmentally ready to move food other than milk to the back of their mouth for swallowing. However if your baby still has this reflex at 6 months of age it is essential that you still begin weaning. Food before one is NOT just for fun!!!!
  2. Can your baby hold their head up? This is also an important part of your baby’s development that you want to see before beginning weaning. Babies need to have good head and neck control to feed in an upright position so they can swallow easily and also gag if need be.
  3. Is your baby watching you or others when eating? Typically babies become very interested food and will often be engrossed at mealtimes.
  4. Is your baby constantly chewing on their hands or putting other objects in their mouths. This is often mistaken for teething alone, however it is also important practice for chewing and biting food. An important part of oral development.
  5. Is your baby who was previously sleeping through started to waken for night feeds again? Or has night feeding increased? Are they still hungry after daytime feeds? Not getting enough calories in is one of the strongest signals to needing solid foods your baby can give you. Sometimes the 4 month sleep regression is simply down to hunger.
  6. Is your baby’s growth static or decreasing. Babies grow at an incredible rate in the first year of life and calorie intake needs to continuously increase to keep up with their energy demands or they simply won’t continue to grow on the same healthy trajectory. NEVER limit your baby’s calorie intake they don’t eat for pleasure like adults do, they eat because their brain and body is demanding it.

 

If you baby is showing you a few or most of the above signs and signals they are probably ready to start weaning.

Every baby’s growth and development timeline is slightly different. Some babies will happily wait until the 6 month stage and other babies need those extra calories and nutrients from as early as 17 weeks. It is perfectly safe to wean a baby from 17 weeks but never before. Your babies entire digestive and renal system is mature and ready for first foods at this age.

After 6 months of age milk feeds are no longer enough to meet your baby’s nutritional needs. At this stage  it is also vital to add vitamin c into your baby’s diet to aid that all important iron absorption. A little pure orange mixed with cooled boiled once a day is all that is required. Add 5mls of pure orange diluted in 50mls of water. This is complementary to the vitamin c rich foods included in your baby’s daily diet. If you are breastfeeding vitamin A & D supplements should be continued with. You will also need to include at least two iron rich meals per day. For example a fortified baby breakfast porridge plus green vegetables at lunch or dinner.

If your baby is ready to wean but you don’t know where to start we have an easy step by step weaning guide in our online courses section that makes it really simple and straightforward (and enjoyable!) for parents.

 

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