At six months of age your baby is more accepting of new foods, tastes and textures. This is the best time to introduce your baby to a good variety of vegetables, meats and grains. This is why I believe starting about two weeks before your baby hits the six months mark means you are ready for this stage of weaning. At six months of age your child can now eat eggs and dairy and they can also start to eat your family foods. In this blog I will outline what’s involved at six months and how you can set your child up for a positive weaning experience.
Moving to 3 meals a day
By six months your baby should be on three meals a day. With a nice gap between the baby’s milk and their food. Baby should be eating about 60ml at each mealtime from six months. Don’t worry if your baby is not eating this amount; as long as they are getting the correct amount of milk you do not need to be concerned. But do watch that they are still getting the correct amount of milk for their age and if not start adding their milk to the food.
When we prepare vegetable or fruit purees it is easy to get them to a very runny consistency. It’s not so easy when we include foods like chicken, tomatoes or peas. At six months of age your baby will be able for this consistency and you should always challenge your baby to move on in texture with every meal. If you find that your baby gags and won’t accept the food then perhaps you have moved too fast. Take a step back and try again in a few days.
Introduce grains such as lentils, pasta and rice. I love to prepare meals that include say fish and a sauce and freeze this. Then when I prepare it again for baby I will include a different carbohydrate such as pasta, quinoa or rice each time I serve it. This small change ensures your baby is getting different tastes and textures throughout the week.
It is important to not just include purees in your baby’s weaning journey but also include fingers foods. It’s best to include these from six months. The first month of introducing finger foods can be the most difficult as your baby may not grasp the idea but at this stage its just about learning so don’t be concerned if they don’t manage to pick up the food until about 7 months. Holding off until later then six months may mean that your baby won’t accept the finger food and prefers to be spoon-fed. I would also always advice making a meal as a finger food offering a dip – the puree, and a dipper – the stick of carrot or pasta shape. By offering finger food after a meal your baby will only play with the food.
Beaker and spoon
As I previously mentioned your baby is more accepting of new things at six months of age. This is why it is best to include a beaker and a spoon so that despite your baby not being able to drink from the beaker or hold a spoon they will grasp them quicker and be more accepting of these come one years of age.
Offer tap water (making sure its safe to drink) from age six months. Your baby does not need the liquids if they are getting their milk but again it’s about teaching your child to use the beaker from an early age. Offer a spoon that is small enough for your baby’s hand and has a thin and soft tip. Encourage your child to feed themselves by preloading the spoon.