When you first start weaning your baby, there are so many things to think about! It's another huge phase in your baby's development (and a huge phase for you as a parent too!)
When I look back to my weaning journey with my 2 children, there were so many opinions on what was the right way to wean, be that Baby led weaning or puree led weaning (or a mix of both). All the products I was told I should have, would need or couldn't live without.
One thing that I also found incredibly interesting is that chewing is a whole new skill for baby to learn so remember it takes time. The introduction of solids in your baby’s diet is not only important for nutritional reasons, but for the developmental of oral motor skills.
Chewing is an important skill to master as it works the same muscles in the mouth as those which are needed for speech development. To encourage chewing, our Halia Rose award-winning teething necklaces have been designed with soft yet durable beads providing different ridges for baby to chew on.
Weaning doesn't need to be daunting...in fact it should be an amazing journey of discovery for you and your baby with foods, flavours and textures so try and enjoy it! Here are my top tips to minimise stress during this time and help you and your baby with the weaning process.
- Be prepared! Do some research and decide which foods you want to start with.
- Remember that eating is a whole new skill - some babies take longer than others.
- Keep trying, and give your baby lots of encouragement and praise.
- Allow plenty of time, especially when you first start
- Go at your baby's pace and let them show you when they are hungry or full. (Stop when your baby shows signs that they have had enough)
- Be patient and keep offering a variety of foods, even the ones they do not seem to like. (According to research it may take 10 tries or more for your baby to get used to new foods, flavours and textures!)
- Remember that there will be days when your baby eats more, some when they eat less, and then days when they decide to reject everything!
- Let your baby enjoy touching and holding the food.
- Keep distractions to a minimum during mealtimes.
- Show them how you eat. Babies like to copy so sit down with them and show them how to eat.
- Be flexible in your approach and follow your intuition and your baby’s developmental signs.
Ultimately you want to encourage baby to try a variety of foods, (whether you personally like them or not!). By trying different foods, flavours and textures leads to a healthier relationship with food and it's worth noting that as children get older and if they are eating bad food they are building long-term bad food relationships, which will be a lot harder to shake as the child gets older.
It's also worth noting that nutrition also has a major impact on the following:
- Frequency of illnesses
- Learning ability
This is why it's really important to start the healthy nutrition journey right from the start.
However, do remember at the early stages of weaning it's about discovery so enjoy that journey and mix up the colours, shapes and flavours across the full food spectrum.
For more information on which foods are recommended at which age, and for some delicious recipes, please check out these pages.
To encourage chewing, check out our range for 100% non-toxic, BPA free and baby safe teething jewellery