First steps to weaning – a dodging tigers guide.

Weaning your baby is a major step for any parent. The difficulty of breast vs bottle seems to fade away when faced with the reality of a finding real food that is healthy, nutritious and that isn’t flatly rejected by your baby.

And that’s before you realise you now have to start bringing food with you everywhere. For those of us who breastfed this is a major revelation! It was much easier just to bring your boobs with you!

Food with a view, in the ubiquitous Antiplop high chair.
Food with a view, in the ubiquitous Antiplop high chair.

So to help, we here at Dodging Tigers will be doing a range of posts related to food.

We are a group of mums, not paediatric experts so these are ideas to inspire you. We are not here to tell you when or how to wean just to give our experiences and ideas. If you have any doubts you should always speak to a health professional.

When to start?

The NHS site has lots of good information but broadly speaking, unless advised otherwise by a health professional, babies only need milk until 6 months old. If you want to start earlier the NHS advises the following: ‘if after checking with your health visitor or doctor, you decide to introduce solid foods before six months, you should avoid giving your baby certain foods as they may cause food allergies or make your baby ill. These include foods that contain wheat, gluten, nuts, peanuts, peanut products, seeds, liver, eggs, fish, shellfish, cows’ milk and soft or unpasteurised cheese.’

One reason we chose to wait until 6 months (with some fruit and vegetable tastes in the previous week) is that it becomes more simple. After 6 months the foods to avoid are honey, whole nuts, marlin, swordfish, cow’s milk as a drink (small amounts cooked in food are ok), minimise salt and sugar.


What do I need?

Technically just an adult, a baby and some food. However most of us use some or all of the equipment below:

Wipe clean mat under chair eg metre vinyl from Dunelm Mill
Plastic spoons, bowls
Ice trays, weaning trays
Mini blender
Storage pots
Sippy/doidy cup for water

Reviews of these items are planned – so come back if there isn’t a link yet for each item. We get sidetracked by babies!

Baby Led or Pureed food?

You then need to think about whether you and your baby do spoon feeding (often purees) or baby led weaning where you let your lo crack on. There are extensive arguments for both. Neither is right or wrong, you can swap between, do a mix of each at meals. You can always change depending on you and your baby’s needs. In many ways the baby will decide for you – some hate spoon feeding and some refuse to self feed. So listen to your baby as well as the ‘experts’.

Toast is a good easy starter food.
Toast is a good easy starter food.

The most important thing is to do what you feel comfortable and confident with. I started with purees as I was nervous about how baby E would take to food and at the start he gagged quite a lot, which is pretty nerve shredding! But we tried to leave him to it as much as possible and most of the time he would be able to get whatever was in his mouth to the front easily enough. Then within a few weeks he stopped gagging entirely – it’s a development thing they have to do. But it can be a bit scary.

Now I do purees for breakfast and dinner with a bit of toast in the morning, lunch is more snacky and baby led. I find that he is more tired at the end of the day and if I leave him with pieces of food it just ends up rubbed into his eyes.

This section will include a range of reviews, recipes and tips. We hope it helps! The Weaning section will be linked to at the top of the page.

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