Weaning is when your baby is ready to start on solid foods, usually at around 6 months of age and no earlier than 4 months. It’s sometimes called ‘complementary feeding’, as it complements breast milk or infant formula to provide additional nutrients and diversity.
Up until this point, milk has been nutritionally sufficient, as your baby has stores of the nutrients it doesn’t provide. However, these stores are getting used up, so it’s time to think about which foods can best provide these missing pieces… like iron!
As well as being nutritionally important, weaning is also important for your baby’s physical and mental development. Motor skills and coordination will develop with the introduction of solids (working out just how to get that food into their mouth!), and chewing uses the same muscles required for speech.
Whilst suckling and sucking are inherent behaviours, munching and chewing are actually learned behaviours that require exposure to different types of textures to develop!
Since munching is possible from around 4 months and chewing from around 7 months, the textures of foods introduced at these stages are different. It’s necessary to remember, however, that the ages advised are averages and every baby is different!
This post was originally written for Mia & Ben