When to start weaning

When to start weaning


Verena Dickson, MSc, RNutr

Child Nutritionist

When to start weaning is not a question of age, but development. Your baby will give you clear signs when they are ready to dive into the world of foods (quite literally).

Early developmental stages are Homeostasis, Attachment and Separation-Individuation.

Homeostasis: The infant is adapting from the cosy and nurturing place in the womb to the outside world. Parents learn to stow their own agenda and follow the baby’s lead in feeding, changing and helping them to settle and sleep.

Attachment: After a few months, baby learns to love and bond. They also learn to show their signs of what they need. Milk, a change, a cuddle, a nap.

Separation-individuation: Around 4-6 months (some sooner, some later), babies begin to understand that they are their own little person, separate from you. They start showing an interest in what is going on around them, including watching you eat. When your baby is showing a strong interest in food, can hold their head up, can sit in a highchair (maybe propped with some pillow), you can start thinking about weaning.  

Many babies show the signs of readiness to start solid foods by 5 or 6 months, move quickly through thicker, lumpier food and finger food and have finger mouth skills to feed themselves by age 7 to 10 months.

Others start around the same time but take to it more slowly and only feed themselves when they are 2 or even 3. Still others can’t be bothered with spoon-feeding and wait to eat solids until they can finger feed themselves

Your baby might love spoon-feeding or not want to be bothered, or love it some days, but prefer trying their own luck with the spoon or their fingers on other days. However your baby reacts to the first solid food is right, so relax and enjoy it.

When babies can explore foods in their own time and without outside pressure, weaning can be the most magical and extraordinary time for both babies and parents.

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