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Weaning.

5-Step guide.

Dangerous phases.

Weaning

What’s the best age?

Although some mums start their babies on solids at four months, the government recommends you wait until your baby is six months old before introducing solid food.

This is because breast milk is very protective and if you keep your baby exclusively breastfed until she is six months, it can cut her chances of allergies, respiratory infections and tummy bugs. Also, it’s easier for babies to get calories from milk than from solid food so your baby may end up eating less overall.

Having said that, plenty of mums are convinced that their baby needs to be weaned at about four months and some babies take to solids easily and seem to love their food.

The very earliest you can wean is 17 weeks (and if your baby was early then 17 weeks after the due date). If you wean before this it could put a strain on her digestive system and kidneys. And don’t wean before six months if there’s a family history of food allergy.

Is your baby ready?

Babies demonstrating the following are ready for weaning:

- She has doubled her birth weight.

- She can sit up well when supported and hold her head steadily.

- She watches you eat and seems fascinated.

- She gets hungry within an hour of being fed and can’t wait so long between feeds.

- She starts waking in the night more than she used to and seems more hungry.

- She keeps putting things in her mouth.

If she’s ready, go on to the Five Step Weaning Guide in the next section.

When to postpone weaning

- She turns her head away from the spoon or clamps her mouth shut – there’s a chance she’s simply not hungry so try again later. But do be aware that she may be telling you she’s not yet ready.

- She hasn’t yet lost her tongue-thrust reflex – this makes babies push out anything that enters their mouths with their tongues and is a protective mechanism. You can tell if your baby still has this reflex when you start giving her baby rice (see below). If she keeps pushing out her food with her tongue after a few meals, then postpone weaning for another week or two.

- She’s disinterested and doesn’t have the first clue about what to do, even after a week.

If you can tick the above, postpone weaning for a week or two.

Go to The Five Step Weaning guide