Baby Care Blog

Weaning Guide for Beginners

Stephanie Martin

Weaning Guide for Beginners

Written by
Stephanie Martin

Weaning Signs

If you're thinking of weaning your baby there are some signs to look out for that will help you decide if the time is right. Your baby may be ready if they:

  • Can hold their head up. Your baby needs to be able to maintain a steady, upright position, to take her first foods.
  • Sits well when supported. You may have to have your baby on your lap at first. A can be pulled
  • Makes chewing motions. Your baby should be able to move food to the back of her mouth and swallow. As your baby learns to swallow efficiently you may notice that she dribbles less. She may even have a  or two.
  • Has gained a healthy weight. Most babies are ready to eat semi-solids when they've doubled their birth weight. This may happen before or around their sixth month.
  • Is curious about what you're eating. Is she eyeing your meals and reaching out to try foods you're moving from your plate to your mouth?
  • Has good coordination. She should be able to look at food, grab it and put it in her mouth, all by herself

What should my baby eat and when?

Weaning can be a gradual process, typically starting when a baby is around 4 to 6 months old and continuing until they are around 12 months old. Here's a general guide to help you navigate the process:

  1. Introduction to Solid Foods (4-6 months):
    • Start with single-ingredient, smooth purees such as mashed avocado, banana, sweet potato, or pureed carrots.
    • Introduce one new food at a time and wait a few days before introducing another to check for any allergic reactions.
    • Begin with small spoonfuls once a day, preferably after a milk feed.
  2. Building Variety (6-8 months):
    • Gradually increase the variety of foods and textures, introducing mashed or finely chopped fruits, vegetables, and cooked meats.
    • Offer a mix of tastes and textures to help develop your baby's palate and chewing skills.
    • You can also start introducing finger foods like small pieces of soft fruits, cooked vegetables, and well-cooked pasta.
  3. Transition to Family Foods (8-10 months):
    • By this stage, your baby can start eating three meals a day alongside breast milk or formula.
    • Offer a wider variety of foods, including those that the family eats, but make sure they are suitable for your baby's stage of development (soft, cooked, finely chopped).
    • Encourage self-feeding with finger foods and provide opportunities for your baby to explore different textures.
  4. Moving to Table Foods (10-12 months):
    • By 10 to 12 months, your baby should be eating a variety of foods and textures similar to what the family eats.
    • Offer a mix of soft finger foods and mashed or chopped family meals.
    • Introduce drinking from a cup (open or straw) alongside breast milk or formula.
  5. Maintain Breastfeeding or Formula Feeding:
    • Breast milk or formula should remain an important part of your baby's diet until they are at least 1 year old.
    • As your baby eats more solid foods, you may notice a decrease in their milk intake, which is normal.
  6. Be Flexible and Responsive:
    • Pay attention to your baby's cues for hunger and fullness.
    • Let your baby explore different tastes and textures at their own pace.
    • Be patient and don't force your baby to eat if they're not interested.
  7. Food Safety:
    • Make sure to prepare and store foods safely to avoid contamination and foodborne illness.
    • Avoid giving your baby foods that are choking hazards, such as whole nuts, popcorn, and chunks of raw vegetables or fruits.

Remember that every baby is different, so the weaning process may vary. If you have any concerns about your baby's diet or development, consult with your pediatrician for personalised advice.

baby weaning chart

There are two main approaches to introducing solids - BABY LED WEANING (also referred to as Infant led feeding) and SPOON-FED WEANING.  Both weaning methods can be used solely or combined to suit baby’s needs.  

Spoon Feeding

This traditional approach to introducing food starts with spoon feeding your baby smooth purees and gradually adding thicker, lumpier textured food, then finger foods and eventually family meals. Baby will let you know when he / she is ready. Some babies are ready to be introduced to purees around 4-5 months old.

Getting started with weaning

A plain puree of a single fruit or root vegetable mixed with your baby's usual milk may help first foods go down easily. Over the next few weeks, your baby will become familiar with tastes and textures and learn the whole concept of swallowing.
Preparing batches of purees and freezing them helps make sure that you always have baby food ready when needed. If you are giving your little one food that you’ve cooked for the rest of your family, make sure you remove your baby's portion before adding any seasoning.

weaning foods

Batch freezing food

You can batch freeze baby's food in ice cube trays, later defrosting when needed. It will save you time and waste. In the early stages baby may only try a few spoonfuls. She will no doubt pull some silly faces as she's trying new tastes, but will soon be gulping it all down.

Once your little one is well into their weaning journey, you can enjoy tucking into family meals together.

baby food
Butternut Squash & Pear Puree / Annabel Karmel

Butternut Squash & Pear Puree is easy to digest & is a good source of betacarotene & vitamins C & E for your baby. Cook it in a steamer to preserve its rich nutrients.

Medium butternut squash (about 450g)

A ripe, juicy pear

  1. Peel the butternut squash, cut in half, remove the seeds and chop into pieces.
  2. Steam for about 12 minutes.
  3. Peel, core and chop the pear; add to the steamer and continue to cook for 5 minutes or until the squash is tender.
  4. Puree in a blender.

- Annabel Karmel What to Feed, When to Feed and How to Feed your Baby

Weaning Tip: Eating the Rainbow - Colourful foods are packed with plenty of nutrients

What Is Baby Led Weaning?

Baby-led weaning (BLW) is an approach to introducing solid foods to infants that allows them to feed themselves from the very beginning of their journey into solid foods, typically around six months of age. Instead of spoon-feeding purees and mashed foods, parents offer age-appropriate solid foods in a form that the baby can handle independently. Here's a deeper look into the principles and benefits of baby-led weaning:

Principles of Baby-Led Weaning:

  1. Self-Feeding: With baby-led weaning, infants are encouraged to grasp, explore, and eat food on their own terms, promoting independence and autonomy.
  2. Whole Foods: Instead of purees and baby cereals, babies are offered whole, family-friendly foods that are soft-cooked and cut into manageable pieces. This allows them to experience the taste, texture, and aroma of a variety of foods from an early age.
  3. Family Meals: Baby-led weaning encourages the inclusion of infants in family mealtimes, fostering social interaction and healthy eating habits.
  4. Respect for Hunger and Fullness Cues: Babies are trusted to regulate their own appetite and learn to recognise hunger and fullness cues through self-feeding.
  5. Safe Environment: Parents play a crucial role in creating a safe eating environment by supervising their baby closely during mealtimes, offering appropriate foods, and ensuring that foods are prepared and served in a manner that minimizes choking hazards.

Finger Foods

Offer baby manageable pieces that are easy to pick up - steamed carrots, cut up cucumbers, toast fingers, pasta tubes, mango slices, sweet potato.

weaning foods guide
How to cut foods for BLW / Baby-Led Weaning book by Jenna Helwig

Tips for Baby-Led Weaning Success:

  1. Start Slowly: Introduce one new food at a time and allow your baby time to explore and become familiar with each food before offering additional options.
  2. Choose Safe Foods: Opt for soft-cooked, easy-to-grasp foods such as steamed vegetables, fruits, cooked grains, and protein-rich foods like eggs, beans, and tofu.
  3. Supervise Closely: Always supervise your baby closely during mealtimes and be prepared to intervene if necessary to prevent choking.
  4. Encourage Exploration: Offer a variety of textures, flavours, and colours to stimulate your baby's senses and encourage curiosity and exploration.
  5. Follow Your Baby's Lead: Pay attention to your baby's cues and appetite, and respect their preferences and pace when it comes to introducing solid foods.

tidy tot weaning bib
Tidy Tot Bib and Tray Kit helps make mealtimes easier to clean up - no more messy floor or dirty baby clothes

Weaning Essentials

We have curated a list of highly rated weaning products below. This should cover everything you need to start weaning.

Here's a list of things you might need:

  • High chair or booster seat: A safe and comfortable place for your baby to sit during mealtimes.
4 in 1 High Chair - Highly rated

  • Bibs: Invest in easy-to-clean bibs to protect your baby's clothes from messes.

  • Plastic spoons and bowls: Look for soft-tipped spoons and durable, BPA-free bowls.

  • Sippy cups: Once your baby starts drinking water or juice, sippy cups with handles are great for transitioning from breast or bottle.

  • Baby food maker or blender: If you're making your own baby food, a food processor or blender can be handy for pureeing fruits, vegetables, and meats.
5 in 1 Baby Food Maker - Top Seller on Amazon

  • Storage containers: For storing homemade baby food, opt for BPA-free containers that are freezer and microwave safe.

  • Baby-friendly utensils: As your baby progresses, they may enjoy practicing self-feeding with baby-safe utensils.

  • Variety of foods: Introduce a variety of single-ingredient purees such as fruits, vegetables, and grains.

  • Baby cereal: Fortified baby cereals are often recommended as one of the first solid foods due to their iron content.

  • Patience and a sense of humour: Weaning can be messy and unpredictable, so a positive attitude goes a long way!

Remember, every baby is different, so be flexible and follow your baby's cues as you navigate this exciting new phase.

Our Top Picks - Weaning Essentials

We've put together a selection of the top rated baby led weaning and weaning essential products on Amazon. If you click on each image it will take you to our curated list of weaning products.

baby led weaning essentials amazon
baby led weaning essential products

Mealtimes are playtimes

Eating together is going to get messy as your little one plays with their food and decides what they want to eat (and what will get dropped on the floor) but baby’s curiosity will have them investigating the foods that you offer them and developing their coordination.

Suction bowls are definitely an essential. These bamboo suction bowls are the only ones I will use for my twins - they actually stick to the table! They come in a range of animal shapes - you can make meal times fun by creating cute faces.

bamboo baby plate amazon
fox bamboo plate amazon

Baby Led Weaning Recipe - Eggy Bread

Serves 1 adult and 1 baby

2 eggs

A little milk (optional - it makes eggs go further)

4 slices of bread

Oil or butter (preferably unsalted) for frying

  1. In a bowl, beat the eggs and add the milk, if using. Dip the bread into the egg mix, turning as necessary to coat both sides.
  2. Heat the oil or butter in a frying pan and fry the eggy bread on both sides over a medium to high heat until the egg is thoroughly cooked and the whole thing is golden brown.
  3. Cut into pieces (finger shapes are usually easiest for young babies) and serve immediately, or once cool enough for your baby to handle.

Find more easy recipe Ideas in this great weaning book - The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook

baby led weaning foods
Eggy bread makes a great breakfast - or your baby may enjoy it cold as a snack.

Portion sizes

Try to go at your little one's pace and don't worry if some days they eat more than others, it's all part of the weaning journey.

Worried about allergies? Try the 3-day wait rule

If you are concerned about allergies, you can try to feed your baby the same food for 3 days before trying new foods, making it easier for you to monitor any possible reactions.
Whether you decide to spoon-feed, go with baby-led or a combination of the two weaning methods, do what works best for parent and baby.

Weaning Books:

weaning book
Weaning book by Annabel Karmel
Wean your baby confidently and safely, with guidance from bestselling baby and child nutrition author, Annabel Karmel. Over 60 enticing and versatile weaning recipes take you from 6 months to 12 months and beyond, along with 4 nutritionally balanced menu planners. Every recipe in the book can be adapted to cater for common allergies and intolerances, and many recipes suggest simple ingredient swaps to challenge and excite your baby's maturing palate.

baby led weaning book
The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook by Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett

In Baby-led Weaning Cookbook, leading health visitor Gill Rapley and journalist and mum Tracey Murkett introduced parents to a common sense, easy and enjoyable approach to feeding your child, allowing your baby to join in with family meals right from the start of the weaning process.


Download here

For more baby, toddler and parenting information see our Baby & Toddler Hub.

This post may contain affiliate links. We earn a small commission for recommending products - we only recommend products we have used or are highly rated.

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