There is a lot of controversy over when to wean babies. Years ago when I was a baby, it was 3 months, then it moved to 4 months and now many organisations suggest 6 months. The reasoning behind this is that whether you start weaning at 4 or 6 months, your baby still gets all of his/her nutrients from breast milk and/or formula until they are 6 months old. However, introducing basic puréed food to your baby’s diet from 4 months will not do them any harm. In my opinion, this new 6 month guideline has been put into place to safeguard babies with parents that do not have the common sense to not give their 4 month old McDonald’s. Tongue in cheek? Yes, but I have heard of someone blending KFC and giving it to their baby! Yikes.
The advice is to take it slowly if weaning your baby at 4 months and introduce foods for taste purposes and as a means to learn the physical process of eating. Guidelines state that the earliest that that one should give a baby ‘solid’ food is 17 weeks, this is when I gave Lola baby rice for the first time (picture above). She loved it. I have done a lot of research into the matter and I made the decision to begin weaning at 4 months, but you will need to do what is right for you and your baby. Below you will find the basics of weaning at 4 months.
Other signs that your baby may be ready for food include;
- They have doubled their birth weight
- They can hold their head steady and sit up supported
- They have lost their tongue-thrust reflex
The first step is baby rice once a day as it is very similar in taste to formula and is unlikely to cause any allergic reactions. Follow the instructions on the box, Cow and Gate suggest one spoonful of rice to 10 spoonfuls of formula/breast milk. It is important that you use a specialised weaning spoon designed for 4 months plus as the spoon end is soft. One should also consider the time of day and how hungry your baby is. Ideally, your baby will have just had a nap and be due a feed in around an hour so that she/he will be peckish but not starving. I fed Lola in the morning so that she had all day to digest the food, just in case of any digestive issues. Your baby needs to be sat upright, either on your lap or in their car seat. I use a Bumbo with a tray attached. Gently spoon a mouthful of baby rice into your baby’s mouth. They may be a little surprised at first and don’t expect much of the rice to actually reach your baby’s stomach. A wipe down bib is a must! I found that I also needed to put a normal bib underneath. This process is all about learning HOW to eat.
Some sources suggest doing baby rice for 1 week and then moving on to puréed vegetables. I decided to do just baby rice for 2 weeks to get Lola used to having a spoon put in her mouth and trying to move the food to the back of her mouth with her tongue. Luckily, Lola loved the baby rice from the first time she had it.
The next step is puréed fruit and vegetables, I will write about this next week once I have tried Lola with a couple of different things and will report back. Wish me luck.