Our panel of experts has answered your most pressing questions about your baby’s developmental firsts, from weaning to finding that perfect sleep routine.
Sophie Jones is a parenting advisor at Babies and Beyond, offering private home and office consultations, as well as workshops on a number of topics to support and guide parents through the many different stages of child development. babiesandbeyond.ae
Is there an ideal age to begin weaning?
The recommended age to begin weaning, according to the NHS and the WHO, is at around the age of six months. Some babies may be ready to start before then, so it is important to look for signs that your baby is ready and also to check with your pediatrician.
Do you recommend child-led weaning or parent-led weaning?
I encourage parents to first gather information on both weaning methods and then choose which works best for your family. There are pros and cons to both, but I believe that finding a balance helps to develop all of the important skills, whilst ensuring a healthy nutritious diet
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How can parents best support their child through weaning?
Introducing solids can sometimes seem overwhelming to start, so I would encourage parents to start slowly and go at your baby’s pace. New flavours, textures and learning the skills can take practice and time. To support your baby, offer plenty of positive encouragement and praise whilst making mealtimes a fun time.
What are the signs that you are weaning too soon?
If your baby is unable to maintain a strong sitting position, continues to push the food out with their tongue and is unable to swallow, or has poor control over their head, these are signs that they are not yet ready for weaning.
How does introducing food work?
Weaning should be a slow, gradual process of introducing foods and textures. The first foods are often fruits, vegetables, and cereals, which are easy to digest and gentle on your baby’s stomach. To start, a daily meal will be enough. Find a time in the day when your baby is relaxed, not overtired or overly hungry and offer a few spoons. At three to four weeks into weaning, your baby may be ready to try breakfast. Add dinner at around five to six weeks. Every baby is different and it is important to go at their pace.
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Is it ok to feed my baby prepackaged baby foods?
I believe homemade food is best for your baby as you have the knowledge and control over the ingredients. Pre-packaged foods can often taste different to homemade foods, so getting your baby used to your cooking is important. Of course, store-bought baby food can be very useful, but I wouldn’t rely on those foods on a daily basis. For easy, on the go baby food, put a banana or avocado in your bag!
What if my baby has an allergy or intolerance?
It is essential to have a clear idea of the signs and symptoms of a food allergy or intolerance, so that you can be properly prepared. Check your family history with your doctor, and keep a diary of new foods eaten and any reactions, whether that be nappy rash, bloating, gas, mood changes or signs of something more serious such as vomiting, stomach cramps, rashes around the mouth or on the body.
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