Weaning marks the move from milk to food as your baby’s main source of nutrition. While some mums begin earlier, official guidelines advise waiting until your baby is six months old to ensure their digestive system has time to mature and to provide more protection against allergies. Welcome this exciting new stage in your little one’s development with nutritionist Fiona Faulkner’s best bites.
6 TOP TIPS FOR WEANING
1. Babies are sensitive to the temperature of food so test a little on the inside of your wrist – it should be no hotter than lukewarm.
2. Many recipes can be frozen in little portions – use small pots or an ice cube tray. Before serving, thaw, heat to piping hot, then allow to cool again.
3. Babies learn about food when they squish and squash it, so don’t tell them off for playing with their dinner!
4. Don’t add salt or sugar when making baby food. Honey should also be avoided until your tot is at least one year old, due to bacteria that’s occasionally present in it.
5. After your baby’s first birthday, you can replace formula or breast milk with cow’s milk – but you can breastfeed for as long as you want.
6. Don’t feel guilty for using baby food from a jar. You can’t be Supermum all the time!
Introduce at 6 months
BEET & SWEET POTATO MASH
This simple dish can be made without a blender. A source of fibre and folic acid, it also contains beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body
Makes: 2-4 Servings
Ready in: 17 mins
Price per serving: 51p
● 1 small fresh beetroot
● 1 small sweet potato
● 1 apple
● 2tbsp your baby’s usual milk
1 Peel and chop the beetroot and sweet potato and peel, core and chop the apple. Steam the veg until just tender. Add the apple, cook for another 5 mins, then allow to cool to room temperature.
2 Mash the mixture together with the milk until smooth, then serve. Store leftovers in an airtight pot or covered with clingfilm for up to 3 days.
Top Tip: Beetroot may give your baby’s wee a pink tinge! Don’t panic if you notice this, it’s harmless
Cooked squash is easy for most babies to digest, plus it’s a good source of vitamins C and E. Feed this tasty smoothie to your tot with a spoon
Makes: 4-6 Servings
Ready in: 46 mins
Price per serving: 59p
● 1 small butternut squash (this recipe is delicious made with pumpkin, too)
● 2 large, ripe bananas, peeled and chopped
● 350ml fresh juice of your choice (pressed apple juice works especially well)
1 To save time and effort on preparation, bake the squash unpeeled in your oven, exactly as you would a jacket potato. After about 40 mins, check it’s done by inserting a sharp knife into each end in turn. If it goes in easily, the squash is cooked.
2 Allow to cool before slicing in half lengthways and removing the inner orange flesh – make sure to discard all the skin as well as the seeds and white pith.
3 Once cooled, weigh out 200g (eat any leftovers or use for soup). Whizz in a blender with the bananas and the juice until smooth, then serve immediately. Store leftovers in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days (the banana may go a bit brown), or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Top Tip: Thicken the smoothie with a handful of fine milled oats or baby rice.
INTRODUCE BETWEEN 7-9 MONTHS
PARSNIP, PEAR & BLUEBERRY MUDDLE
Perfect when your little one begins to explore new flavours, this provides fibre
Makes: 1-2 Servings
Ready in: 8 mins
Price per serving: 82p
● 1 unpeeled pear, cored and chopped
● 40g blueberries
● 40g parsnip, peeled and finely diced
1 Put all the ingredients, plus 1tbsp water in a small nonstick saucepan. Cook, covered, on a low heat for about 5 mins until the parsnip and pear are tender.
2 Allow to cool, then purée with a handheld blender until smooth. You can store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days, in an airtight pot or covered with clingfilm, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Top Tip: Parsnip has a strong, distinctive taste so introduce it gently by combining it with fruit
PEA & MINT PURÉE
Help your baby develop a taste for fresh herbs with this creamy dip – the cheese supplies protein
Makes: 4 Servings
Ready in: 5 mins
Price per serving: 12p
● 100g frozen peas
● 50g cream cheese
● 5 large mint leaves
1 Put the peas in a heatproof dish. Pour on boiling water, leave for 2 mins, drain and put in a processor. (Or a bowl if using a handheld blender.)
2 Add the cream cheese and mint, then whizz for a few seconds until combined.
3 Serve, or cover and store in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Top Tip: Replace the cream cheese with Greek yogurt, if you prefer, and add a squeeze of lime for extra flavour
POPEYE's GREEN DIP
Get your tot into greens with this pesto-inspired recipe. Spinach contains iron and tryptophan – an essential amino acid needed for growth
Makes: 4-6 Servings
Ready in: 5 mins
Price per serving: 56p
● 100g frozen peas
● 100g spinach
● 15g fresh basil
● 50g Parmesan, grated
● 2tbsp lemon juice
● 4tbsp olive oil
1 Put the peas in a heatproof dish and pour on boiling water. Leave for 2 mins. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2 Put the peas and the other ingredients in a processor and whizz until smooth. (Or use a handheld blender.)
3 Serve immediately – or cover and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Or freeze for up to 3 months – to reuse, thaw and allow to reach room temperature before serving.
Top Tip: Serve this blend on its own, or as a dip to babies over 7 months with finger food