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A guide to traditional spoon-fed weaning

A mom feeding a small baby by spoon

There are two main approaches to baby weaning – baby-led and spoon-fed. You can use one or a mix of both but the most important thing is to be patient and consistent with your approach.

Getting started with spoon-feeding

Up till now, your baby has been used to sucking when drinking milk. Now they need to learn a new skill of pushing food to the back of their mouth with their tongue. When taking food from a spoon, your baby needs to use their lips to pull the food off the spoon and then their tongue to push it back.

It’s best to start with foods that are easily digestible and unlikely to produce an allergic reaction and introduce them one at a time. This makes it much easier to monitor your baby for any reactions as once you mix foods it can become harder to identify the cause of any responses.

Spoon-feeding – the basics

When you first start weaning, your baby will only eat a tiny amount – probably no more than two teaspoons in the beginning. Choose a time when you are both relaxed and can enjoy the experience and start with one feed a day before gradually increasing to three.

If your baby rejects a food, leave it and come back to it in a few days. It can take up to 20 tries before a child takes to different foods.

When making your purees, if you want to create a thinner texture, add some of the cooking water from your vegetables. To thicken the puree, add some baby rice. You can make up batches of puree in advance and freeze it in ice cube trays or mini freezer pots. Reheat thoroughly before serving and avoid refreezing food.

Top tip: Always ensure that feeding spoons, cups and bottles are sterilised and take care to store food according to hygiene and safety guidelines.

Food suggestions for spoon-feeding

It can be an exciting time seeing your baby experience different foods for the first time. Here’s some suggestions to get you started

  • First vegetables: Carrot, swede, parsnip, pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potato, courgette, peas, broccoli and cauliflower.
  • First fruit: Apple, pear, banana, papaya and avocado.
  • First meat: Pureed chicken, turkey or beef can be mixed with root vegetables to make the texture smoother and easier to swallow. Meat introduces iron into your baby’s diet.
  • First fish: Soft white fish like cod or plaice.
  • Baby rice: This is easily digested and can be mixed with breastmilk or formula. Make sure you choose a brand that is sugar-free. This can also be mixed with some fruits and vegetable purees.

Whatever approach you take to weaning your baby, N Family Club is here to support you. For more information on weaning including foods to avoid, read our guide to weaning your baby.