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All You Need to Know About Weaning - Part 1

Weaning your infant off of breast-feeding is a crucial time, we bring you a 3 part series with everything you need to know about the process.

Very first foods: 

The Ministry of Health recommends exclusive breastfeeding until your baby is six months old. After six months, breast milk alone doesn’t provide your baby with enough nutrients, in particular iron, so other foods are needed.

Waiting until six months to introduce solid foods into your baby’s diet will help minimise the risk of her developing adverse reactions to foods and allergies. This is particularly important if you have a family history of allergies; incidences of adverse food reactions, allergies and celiac disease decrease if you delay weaning until this time. If you feel your baby needs to start solid food before six months, do discuss it with your doctor first. This is particularly important if your baby was born prematurely. The Ministry of Health states that solid foods should not be introduced before the end of your baby’s fourth month (20 weeks).

 One of the first things your baby has to learn when weaning begins is how to swallow “non fluids”. So that your baby doesn’t have to cope with new flavours as well as using different muscles, instant bland rice cereal mixed with the baby’s usual milk is the most common first food. However, there’s no reason   you can’t try vegetable or fruit purées first. You may prefer to introduce one food at a time so that you can tell if your baby reacts adversely to a food, or you may want to mix baby rice cereal with, for example, apple or carrot purée.


• purées of vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, potato, sweet potato, courgette, ash gourd (ghia)

• purées of fruits, such as ripe cooked apple, pear, or mashed banana

• gluten-free baby cereals, such as iron-fortified baby rice cereal mixed with baby’s usual milk.

The next stage

Once your baby is happy eating from a spoon, increase the range of foods you offer to include:

• purées of lean meat or poultry

• purées of lentils or split peas

• purées of mixed vegetables with potatoes or rice

• purées which include green vegetables, such as peas, cabbage, spinach or broccoli.

• Try to limit the number of sweet or cereal purées to one a day, and always include a vegetable purée. Gradually make the food a thicker consistency.

• Experts recommend that you avoid giving cow’s milk or milk products (cheese, yogurt, fromage frais), fish and shellfish, soya beans, citrus fruit (including orange juice) or eggs, until your baby is six months old.

• If your family has a history of allergies, such as eczema, asthma or food allergies, your baby should avoid peanuts and sesame seeds up to the age of three years.

• The risk of developing coeliac disease is reduced by avoiding foods containing gluten, such as wheat, rye and barley-based foods. That includes bread, flour, pasta, some breakfast cereals and rusks until six months. Oats are best avoided until six months, too, in case they contain traces of gluten.

• Avoid follow-on milk until your baby is six months old.

• Don’t add salt or sugar, honey or other sweeteners to your baby’s food.

Stay tuned for the next installation where we discuss the seven to nine month age.