You’ve got through the first month of weaning with your baby! You’ve introduced bitter vegetables first and your baby is ready to move on, but what’s next? What foods should you then start introducing? What should the portion sizes be? What textures? You are suddenly filled with another minefield of questions but are struggling to find the answers!
Here are V&Me’s top tips for weaning your baby beyond those first stages. Get ready to turn baby led weaning into baby loved weaning!
TEXTURE PROGRESSION IS KEY
It is important not to stay on smooth purees for too long, regardless of how much they are eating. Chewing foods help with building the facial muscles, and therefore speech development, so avoid staying on a smooth puree beyond 7 months. Delaying lumpier textures will not make it easier for your baby to cope with them – it actually makes it harder!
At V&Me, we offer 3 different texture options for the under 1’s to help your baby progress: textured puree, then lumpy with bigger chunks, and finally standard – softly cooked, small bites.
INCLUDE ALL THE FOOD GROUPS
Do not stay on single fruit and vegetables for too long. After a couple of weeks, you can start to include starchy foods, iron and protein sources and calcium rich foods.
Try to think about providing food that is rich in Vitamin C (fruit/vegetables), something that contains some iron (fortified cereal/fortified bread, meat, fish, pulses, and smooth, no added sugar nut or seed butters), and finally – something that will provide some energy (a starchy food with some healthy fat).
Please remember that your baby should not be having any added salt or sugar in their diet!
HAVE YOU INTRODUCED THE ALLERGENS?
It’s recommended to actively introduce the top 9 allergens from 6 months. Start with egg, then peanut and then the remaining 7 top allergens in any order (cow’s milk, grains containing gluten, tree nuts, fish, crustaceans, soya beans and sesame).
Delaying introduction can actually increase your child’s risk of developing an allergy. Once introduced they should then be kept in your child’s diet 2-3 times a week.
PROGRESSION OF MEALS
How many meals should your baby be having a day is one of the biggest questions asked:
Around 6 months your baby will be having 1 meal a day. 6-8 months they should progress to 2 meals a day. 7-10 months you should now be aiming for 3 meals a day.
However, every baby is different so it’s important for you to follow their cues. Remember, 3 meals will be giving your baby the best possible chance of getting a good variety, and it can also help with a structure/normal eating pattern.
If you are out and about, it can be tempting to miss a meal but try to plan and think of something easy to take out.
There are no portion guides for under 12 months. V&Me’s portion sizes are carefully planned by our Paediatric Dietitians to suit the upper age range of recommended age groups – 100 g for 7-12 months. The more generous portion sizes often mean you can save some for later (or enjoy it yourself!).
Babies need to learn the complex skill of eating and it really helps if they have someone to watch! Even if you don’t want to eat at that time – try to share something that they are having, even if it’s some vegetables!
V&Me meals are suitable for the whole family to enjoy together.
WHAT ABOUT MILK?
For breastfed babies you should continue to feed on demand but start to look for signs of hunger and fullness.
For formula fed babies, you should start to gradually switch to offering food first, and then milk to ensure that your baby is hungry at mealtimes. As your baby becomes more adept at eating, their milk intake should naturally decrease. As a guide:
At 7-9 months old for formula fed babies you should be giving 600ml/day and feed responsively, looking for signs of hunger and fullness.
At 10-12 months, formula fed babies should reduce their milk down to 400ml/day and again feed responsively.
KEEP CALM AND RELAXED
Are you getting stressed they aren't eating much or it's all going on the floor? Try not to show frustration. Give an extra side plate - explain they can put food there if they don’t want it - explain gently that we don’t throw food - don’t give it any more attention.
Did you know it can take up to 20 exposures of a particular food before your baby may accept it? Make mealtimes fun, we know it can be frustrating but any exposure to food is good. Think of it as a fun exploration time – the more mess the better!
WHAT FOODS SHOULD YOU AVOID (7-12 MONTHS)
- No rice milk in under 5’s
- If using plant-based milks in cooking or on cereal, ensure it is unsweetened and fortified with calcium and other nutrients (iodine). Use full fat cow’s milk in under 2’s. These milks can be used on cereal or in cooking but not as a drink in this age category
- No honey in under 1’s
- No adding honey/jams/fruit juice concentrates to dishes
- No added salt
- Avoid salty foods like cured meats and processed meats
- Unpasteurised cheese or mould ripened cheese
- Certain fish (shark, marlin, swordfish, raw or lightly cooked shellfish should also be avoided)
- Foods of a choking hazard (no whole nuts in under 5’s; whole grapes and things of similar size – ensure they are always chopped smaller)
- Avoid raw, uncooked eggs or anything that contains these if you are uncertain whether they carry the red lion stamp
We’ve partnered with V&Me to give you an exclusive offer!
At V&ME we believe your little one deserves only the best! That’s why our mission is to inspire appetites for life, giving babies the best opportunity to learn about food and discover different tastes and textures, every step of the way through their weaning journey.
We are the only company in the UK to cook and deliver fresh baby and toddler meals daily - our food is never frozen and delivered hot from our kitchen to your door! Our menus are specially curated by our professional chefs and every meal is reviewed by our Paediatric Dietitians. Encourage your little one to discover a variety of exciting new flavours with 3 delicious dishes per day.
Our meals are so good, you’ll want to eat them yourself! We’ve got an exclusive offer for you! Get £10 off your first order, simply enter the code BCS10 at the checkout.