Welcome to our third weaning instalment. We hope you are finding these posts helpful, and if you’ve missed the last two then you can easily catch up on them; an introduction to weaning and stage 1.
Today is all about stage 2 of weaning, where combining flavours, making mini meals and if using the puree method, adding texture all occur. It is also now that you can add wheat and protein to your child’s diet.
This is the stage you can really have fun with making your baby’s food. Without using sugar and salt it is highly beneficial to make your child’s food interesting by using spices and herbs. If you have had a look through any recipe books, you will often see one or two curry suggestions. These are in there to continue introducing a wide variety of flavours to your baby. All of which research shows reduces the possibility of the baby becoming a fussy eater later on. Whichever weaning method you have chosen remember it is all about variety and sit down and join your child at mealtimes by having a small amount yourself, or the full amount if baby led weaning. Children love to copy and a great role model is the key to success!
If you are using the puree method it is now where you need to begin to change the texture of the foods. Introducing lumps can be a nerve wracking time for any parent, but look, you’ve also successfully managed stage 1! Instead of blending a food to a smooth puree, mash or pulp instead. It is so important to be confident in introducing lumps as leaving a child eating purees for too long can cause a many problems, such as eating/swallowing problems and fussiness. A baby may be a little shocked when you give them a lump for the first time, but perhaps no more than they were a few weeks ago giving them food for the first time. Offer the array of foods that you have found your baby loves at first with plenty of encouragement. To support this encouragement stage 2 is where you can really introduce finger foods to get them used to different textures.
You may find baby becomes interested in cutlery over this time. It is ok to let them explore using a baby safe spoon and later on, a fork. I often have one for me one for baby when weaning using purees.
Continue to write a food diary in order to help traces any allergies.
Milk vs Food
This is the stage you often see the amount of milk your baby drinks reduce. It is recommended that at 8 months your baby should be on a minimum of 600ml of milk per day. This amount can be through both feeds and within the child’s cooking. If you find your child no longer as entusiastic about food than they were a couple of weeks ago try slightly reducing a morning feed to gain more appetite at lunchtime as well as giving lunch before the ‘lunchtime’ feed.
You can now offer your baby water with their meals. Make sure it is cooled, boiled tap water and not bottled water, as this carries too much sodium and sulphate. We love the Babycup’s First Cup as a drinking device. This encourages baby to learn how to drink from a cup instead of drinking out of another beaker or bottle teat.
At around 8 months you can be giving your child two courses at meal times; a savoury and sweet course. However, both courses must be nutrient based so we would not recommend giving your baby a sugar filled dessert but a fruit one instead.
There are some foods that babies cannot have before the age of one or that need considering before consuming. We didn’t list them at Stage 1 as we felt it is unlikely you would introduce these in the first few weeks.
Honey – not allowed before 1 year.
Cows milk – not allowed before 1 year but can be used in cooking.
Eggs – these need to be totally boiled before giving to a child under 1.
Sugar – do not add sugar to a meal for a child under 1 and restrict it thereafter.
Whole nuts – not to be eaten by children under 5.
Seafood/shark/marlin – not allowed before 1 year.