acquiring feeding skills

Most babies are ready for solids when they can sit up unaided, have good head control and be able to swallow.  Your baby may start watching you intently when you are eating or put toys and objects in her mouth. She is showing you that she is interested, and is getting ready to learn what to do with solids. 4 months or 17 weeks is the earliest solids should be started; at this age they do not have enough control to manage this for themselves.  Milk feeding will provide for all their nutritional needs until around 6 months. There is considerable variation in when babies acquire the feeding skills they need to eat a variety of textured food. Differences in their physical and mental development as well as their social and sensory experience play a part.  For most babies, simply watching family members eat and having opportunities to try foods, has a big impact on development of those feeding skills.  All babies learn by copying.

keep it relaxed and happy

Beginning weaning may be an anxious time for new mums, but focusing on your baby with eye contact, smiles, praise and encouragement will help you to relax. Babies quickly learn to read facial expressions and may pick up on your anxiety. Keep it relaxed and happy. The first step for babies is how to manage the food in their mouth and swallow, whether this is by conventional spoon feeding or self feeding with soft foods. Your baby will be used to using her tongue during milk feeding, and will continue to do this with their first weaning foods, sucking it off the spoon and pushing in back out with their tongue; most ending up down their bib! Don’t worry about how much is eaten and accept it can get messy!