What is Weaning? (Back to the Butterfly Room Homepage)
Weaning is the gradual process of moving your baby from a total milk diet to one that includes solid food.
It is the process of getting your baby used to the new and very strange feeling of food in their mouth.
Solid food becomes increasingly important as you baby becomes more physically active and uses lots more energy!
E.g. Pushing self up from the floor – Rolling Over – Practicing Sitting.
At this stage your baby is very adaptable and learns fast. Introducing them to a wide range of tastes will help them enjoy a greater variety of food later on, which results in a balanced diet.
When should I wean my baby?
The National Department of Health recommends weaning should start from 6 months but certainly no sooner than 17 weeks.
Some of the signs of weaning:
1) After a full milk feed your baby cries or demands more.
2) Your baby finds it harder to wait until the next feed (becomes irritable/chews their hands)
3) Daytime sleeps become more erratic. Not settling, or waking early.
4) Wakes during the night for a feed when previously they would have slept through.
5) Your baby looks fascinated when you eat.
Please Note: At 4 months, lots of babies go through a growth spurt, which can make them seem hungrier than usual. This should not be confused with the real signs of weaning as their digestive system needs time to develop before introducing solids.
"Encouraging breastfeeding is a priority"
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for around the first six months of a baby’s life and, after that, giving breast milk alongside solid food will help them to continue to grow and develop. Breastfeeding also has significant short and long term benefits for both mothers and their babies. It helps to protect children from gastroenteritis, ear and respiratory infections, eczema, asthma,diabetes and obesity in later life.
At Station House Nursery, we strive to provide the best for your child and therefore we are more than happy to feed your baby expressed breast milk. Any bottles of breast milk will be stored in our Bottle Fridge, warmed direct before their feed and used within 1 hour.
Please note, in line with the Breastfeeding Network guidance, any expressed milk can only be stored in a fridge for up to 3 days (for a healthy full-term baby). Please ensure your bottles are labelled to avoid the risk of infection.
If you freeze expressed milk, bottles should preferably be defrosted in a fridge and used within 12 hours of being removed from the freezer.
How we at Station House Nursery support you as you wean your child!
As new babies start, we ensure we communicate efficiently with parents so we are able to follow each child's primary care home routine. This includes their current stage of development in the milk --> food weaning transition!
Bottles (milk) are given following your child's routine and foods are introduced at their pace. Cows milk is given from the age of 1 year, unless instructed otherwise by parents/carers.
We ensure we are aware which foods have been tried at home so we are able to replicate those foods at nursery. This typically starts with a variety or fruits and vegetables before moving on to meat, pasta and rice.
Following your lead we generally start babies on pureed dishes and then move on to mash, small lumps, finely chopped and then served as a dinner. In addition, children are encouraged to explore finger food, e.g. batons of fruit and vegetables to encourage the development of sucking, biting off mouth sized pieces and chewing.
During the weaning transition we continue to work closely with parents/carers to ensure the babies are getting a varied diet containing all the essential vitamins to help the babies strive!
- Colourful strong plastic spoons
- Colourful plastic bowl
- Bibs and clean cloths
- Food blender/processor
- Bendy ice-trays
Storing Homemade Food
- Once cool, freeze ASAP
- Freezer temp should be -18oC
- Use plastic tubs with tightly fitting lids/ice cube trays in bags
- Baby food can keep for 3 months when frozen
- Never re-freeze meals
Heating Baby Food
Microwave/Hob: Homemade baby food, until piping hot and steaming. *Don’t warm food partially!*
Stood in hot water: jars of baby food.
* Always check temperature before serving & stir food to remove hot spots.
* Never re-heat food more than once.
Use a clean plastic spoon, stir well and serve a portion into a clean bowl.
If fed directly from jar, any remaining should be discarded of.
If served in a bowl, remaining food can be kept in the fridge for 48 hours but do not freeze!