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How to wean your baby – and 10 stylish accessories!

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By the time they’re 6 months old, you can start introducing a varied diet of delicious, nutritious solid foods to your baby, along with milk or formula.

Baby-led weaning means offering finger foods and letting your baby feed themselves, rather than spoon-feeding puréed or mashed foods. There’s no right or wrong way to wean your baby, with some parents preferring baby-led weaning over spoon feeding, or a combination.

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1. How to start weaning your baby

  • At 6 months, your baby should be comfortable in a sitting position with a steady head, and able to coordinate feeding themselves by looking at food, picking it up, and putting it in their mouth.
  • Premature babies may not quite be ready at 6 months, but your health visitor or GP can advise on weaning.
  • Once a day, your baby can start enjoying small, cooled amounts of blended, mashed, lumpy, or softly cooked vegetables and fruits.
  • Some veg, including carrots and sweet potato, are sweeter than others, so mix up their diet with vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and spinach to help them get used to a range of flavours, and prevent having a fussy eater!
  • Wash and remove any pips, stones and hard skin. Cook to soften, then mash or blend veg and fruit, or offer as finger food sticks.
  • Babies don't need salt or sugar added to food (or cooking water) as salty foods are bad for their kidneys and sugar could cause tooth decay.

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2. From 7-to-9 months

  • Your baby will be working up towards three meals a day, sampling different foods which provide the energy and nutrients they need.
  • Each day will be different from the last as they explore new flavours and textures, and some days they’ll be hungrier and more enthusiastic than others!
  • Eat together as much as you can, as they will learn their eating habits from watching you enjoy your food.
  • If you think your baby is hungry in between meals, offer extra milk feeds, not extra food.

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3. From 10-12 months

  • Your baby be having breakfast, lunch and dinner along with milk feeds.
  • And lunch and dinner can now include a fruit or unsweetened yoghurt dessert.

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4. At 12 Months and over

  • By 12 months, your baby should be having 3 meals a day, and possibly a couple of healthy weaning snacks including fruit, vegetable sticks, toast, bread, or plain yoghurt.

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5. Food groups

  • Starchy foods can be cooked, mashed, blended or offered as finger foods. Cereals can be mixed with breast milk or first infant formula, or with pasteurised whole (full-fat) cows' milk (or goats' or sheep's milk) if your baby is over 6 months old.
  • Protein found in meat, fish, eggs, beans and pulses is suitable from around 6 months, and also contains useful nutrients which are important for babies.
  • Eggs produced under the British Lion Code of Practice (with the red lion stamp) are considered very low risk for salmonella.
  • Pasteurised dairy foods such as pasteurised full-fat yoghurt and cheese are suitable foods from around 6 months. Full-fat, unsweetened or plain yoghurts are ideal as they don't contain added sugars.
  • Whole pasteurised (full-fat) cows' milk, or goats' or sheep's milk, can be used in cooking or mixed with food from around 6 months, but not as a drink until your baby is over 12 months.

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6. Tasty food textures

  • From around 6-to-7 months, stay with your baby as they experiment with lumpy consistencies, to make sure they swallow their food safely.
  • Offering them a variety of textures will help your baby learn how to chew, move solid food around their mouth, and swallow solid food.
  • They will enjoy trying to feed themselves, and picking sticks of food or using a spoon is great for developing their hand-eye co-ordination.

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7. Drinks

  • Breast milk or first infant formula should be your baby’s main drink during their first 12 months, with milk feeds offered after solids.
  • During mealtimes, offer sips of water from an open or free-flow cup to help your baby learn to sip.
  • If your baby is younger than 6 months, sterilise the water by boiling it and letting it cool down.
  • Cows’ milk is not suitable until your baby is 12 months old, but can be used in cooking or mixed with food from 6 months of age.

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Three spoons.

8. Food allergies

  • Talk to your GP or health visitor for advice on introducing foods if your child has been diagnosed with a food allergy, asthma, hay fever and eczema, or there’s a history of food allergies in your family, as you may need to be careful.
  • Any foods that can trigger allergic reactions should be introduced one at a time in small amounts. These foods include: eggs (eggs without a red lion stamp should not be eaten raw or lightly cooked); cows’ milk (in cooking or mixed with food); foods that contain gluten, including wheat, barley and rye; crushed or ground nuts and /or seeds; soya; shellfish (don't serve raw or lightly cooked); and fish.
  • If your baby has enjoyed these items without a reaction, keep offering them to minimise the risk .
  • Evidence has shown, delaying introducing peanuts and hens' eggs after 6-12 months may increase the risk of developing an allergy to these foods.
  • Read food labels carefully and avoid any food if you’re unsure about ingredients or think it may contain something your child is allergic to.

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9. Signs of a food allergy

  • A food allergy may produce diarrhoea or vomiting; coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath; an itchy throat and tongue; itchy skin or a rash; swollen lips and throat; a runny or blocked nose; and sore, red and itchy eyes
  • In some cases, foods can cause anaphylaxis, a severe food reaction which can be life-threatening. Call 999 immediately. For information on allergic reactions, visit the NHS website.

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How to wean your baby – and 10 stylish accessories featured:

Eco Wooden Car Plate. Blue Brontide, £32.99.

Suction Bowl and Spoon Set. Omnia Baby, £13.99

Bears & Balloons Divider Plate. Sophie Allport, £10.

MiChair Complete. iCandy, £465.

Sea Friends Silicone Meal Set. Done By Deer at La Redoute, £36.

Baby Hat And Bib Set. Rex London, £9.95.

Bamboo Dinner Set. Curated Pieces, £24.99.

Set of 3 Bamboo Weaning Spoons. Kempii, £9.

Personalised Peter Rabbit Bamboo Breakfast Set. Getting Personal, 34.99

Antilop Belted Highchair. Ikea, £10.