You've got bibs, a drawer full of plastic cutlery and are all set to dodge carrot missiles and flying puree. Indeed, the introduction of solid foods into your baby’s diet is an exciting time. Here's how to get your little one used to the idea of eating.
Know when to start
The World Health Organization advises that you can start weaning at 6 months as breast- or formula milk provides adequate nutrition till then. Still, this advice is aimed at developing countries where poor hygiene poses health risks. As we don't have such problems, by around four months (but not before 17 weeks), your baby may be ready for more than just milk. If you're unsure, check with your doctor.
Your baby may pick up on your anxieties so it’s important that you try to relax when introducing him to the different tastes and textures. Staying calm and making mealtimes enjoyable will encourage him to explore and experiment new foods.
Rice is nice
Baby rice makes a great starter food. It has very little flavour, lets your baby experience a change in texture, and can be mixed with other foods. If he's not that into it, make it runnier, so it resembles milk and then thicken it gradually.
Embrace the mess
Weaning is a messy process. If you haven't got a dog to hoover up the mess, put down a clean plastic sheet or a mat, or just accept you'll have to do a good clean-up afterwards.
Take it slow
Successful weaning takes time. Let your baby enjoy touching and holding the food as he’s learning valuable skills at mealtimes, such as picking up and chewing food. Allowing him to explore and eat at his own pace also helps him realise when he's had enough.
Expect portion size to vary
Your baby’s appetite will vary from one feed to the next. Don’t be dismayed if he hasn’t eaten much in a meal or a day. See weaning as a time for learning new skills, not a competition to eat as much food as possible."
Give him a milk starter
It won't help if your baby sits down to try his first food when he's feeling ravenous, so give him a little milk half an hour before. Then he won't get upset if he can't get the hang of swallowing food. The first few weaning sessions are more about getting used to sensations and flavours, rather than eating.