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Raising a healthy child can feel like being handed the controls to a video game you’ve never played and don’t know the rules for. For instance, feeding a baby is a simple enough task but, every time you think you’ve got the hang of it, everything changes. Just as breast or bottle feeding starts to feel easy, well hello, it’s time for weaning.
The good news is there are far more baby feeding and weaning products on the market today than there ever was a decade ago. Whether you’re interested in baby-led weaning, organic baby food, or even baby food pouches that get delivered in the post, there are lots of ways to figure out your baby’s feeds.
In this article, we answer your burning questions about baby weaning and share our advice on finding the best baby food brand.
When is my baby old enough to start weaning?
All babies are different so there’s some variation but, according to pediatricians, newborns should be ready for weaning between 4 and 6 months. At this point, your baby should be comfortably eating solids or at least trying some solid foods alongside their milk.
Weaning from milk to solid food occurs when a baby is developed enough to sit with some support and control the weight of their head and neck. Thus, the transition is a good opportunity to confirm your child is physically developing at the right rate.
If you have any concerns, speak with a doctor. Some babies are just fashionably late but it’s still important to rule out developmental issues.
A good indication baby is ready to transition to solids is his level of interest in what you’re eating. If he follows your fork with his eyes and/or leans forward with an open mouth, he’s saying it’s time for a change. Offer him a spoonful of pureed food. If he spits it out, go back to milk and try again in a week.
I think my baby is ready for solids but how do I feed him safely?
It’s natural to feel nervous about weaning particularly with your first baby. But it’s hard to get wrong if you follow his cues.
Make sure the baby is fully awake, hungry for a feed, and sitting upright. Offer small spoonfuls and stop when he starts to spit out or turn away because this means he’s had enough.
What type of baby foods should I be using for weaning?
Modern pediatricians say that as long as parents avoid choking hazards and sugar and salt-heavy foods, they can feed babies almost anything. The only foods to completely avoid are honey (due to the risk of infant botulism) and unmodified cow’s milk. Neither should be offered to a child until they’re one year or older.
Everything else – vegetables, meats, cereals, herbs, spices – are safe for a weaning baby and can be found in a lot of pureed baby products. Studies suggest babies who eat commonly allergenic foods (fish, eggs, and peanuts) from six months of age are significantly less likely to develop lifelong allergies to them.
During weaning, all foods must be mashed or pureed to prevent choking. Puree the foods yourself at home or shop for the best jarred baby food. Adding small amounts of formula or breast milk to these purees is a great way to help the baby transition if he’s unsure about the change.
If you’re trying baby weaning and feel like you’re having limited success, don’t sweat it. It’s a process. The important thing is not how much solid food your child eats but whether they’re engaging and experimenting with chewing and swallowing.
The Best Baby Food Brands – Reviews
Plum Organics produces some of the healthiest baby food on the market.
There are no GMO components, all ingredients are organically grown and parents won’t find any added salt or sweeteners in these pouches.
Plus, the company makes pureed foods for every stage of the weaning process. From single-ingredient purees (mango, sweet potato, avocado, etc) to vegetable blends and textured foods for confident eaters, Plum has it all covered.
- A varied mix of fruits and vegetables
- Comes in a large multipack (18 pouches)
- Available on a monthly subscription
- Pouches are great for independent eating
- Some unusual combinations (apple + broccoli)
- Some pouches contain lemon juice (can upset some stomachs)
We love the pureed pouches from Happy Family because the brand produces some of the healthiest baby foods around.
There’s a heavy focus on fruits and vegetables, vitamins and minerals, and grains and seeds to strengthen your child’s immune system and give them the best possible start in life.
Carrot, mango, and sweet potato, and apples, kale, and avocado are two of the brand’s most popular flavor combinations.
- Expertly balanced minerals & nutrients
- Comes in a large multipack (16 pouches)
- Clear packaging for parents’ peace of mind
- No additives, added salt or extra sugar
- Too small amounts of some ingredients
- Some pouches contain lemon juice (can upset some stomachs)
A Note About Baby Food in Pouches
Pureed food in pouches and sachets can be a real lifesaver for busy parents trying to juggle baby weaning with other responsibilities.
While pediatricians stress the importance of whole foods without added ingredients – which are easiest to get by mashing foods yourself – a combination of pouches and homemade purees is perfectly acceptable.
Just don’t forget the goal is to get the baby eating solid, non-pureed foods. Pouches are a stepping stone.
If you ask parents which baby food brands are best, you’ll get a lot of different answers and Mama Bear will surely get a mention.
Mama Bear’s puree pouches are some of the most affordable but still contain high-quality non-GMO ingredients and plenty of organic fruits and veggies. There are no artificial colors or additives and you can buy a twelve-pack for significantly less than the price of rival brands.
What’s more, this baby food is available in varieties made for stage one feeders (just weaning) and stage two feeders (almost weaned).
- Great value for money
- Clear, easy to read ingredient lists
- USDA-organic, all-natural foods
- No added sugar or sweeteners
- Amazon-only brand (not available in stores)
- Caps can be difficult to open
Beech-Nut Organics produces good baby food with simple ingredients designed to get the baby hooked on healthy eating and those all-important vitamins and minerals.
This is jarred food so babies can’t feed themselves like they might with a squeezable pouch but there is no plastic in sight. If you’re keen to limit plastic exposure, this brand is a great option.
Available in both Organic and Naturals varieties, these jars blend fruits, veggies, and grains into a chunky, textured puree for more confident eaters.
- No plastic/jars can be washed and reused
- Lots of variety (two different lines)
- Simple ingredients, no additives
- Slightly chunkier textures
- Can be expensive to buy online
- Not safe for independent eating
Little Spoon is different from the other baby food brands on our list because it’s a dedicated subscription service. Think Hello Fresh but exclusively for children.
There are healthy meals here for weaning babies and for toddlers and older children too. It means the service can be used right the way through a child’s early years and beyond which is perfect for busy parents who wish they could cook more.
Just hop over to Little Spoon’s website, answer questions about your baby’s preferences and get over 80 ingredients shipped right to your front door.
- Pause, stop, or change your subscription at any time
- High-quality baby food delivered to your door
- Uses 80+ organic ingredients
- Unique flavor combinations
- Quite a pricey service
- Subscription only
Let’s look at something different now. We’ve covered baby food jars and pouches but what about teething biscuits? Teething rusks and wafers can be a real comfort for little ones who need a distraction and an outlet for their painful gums.
With Happy Baby’s Organic Teethers, parents can rest easy knowing there’s no choking hazard – these vegetable-based biscuits dissolve in the mouth – and their little monster is soothed and satisfied.
They contain none of the eight most common allergens and no artificial flavors.
- No allergens or additives
- Dissolve safely in the mouth
- Made with organic fruits & veggies
- Great outlet for painful gums
- Some parents say they’re too soft
- Fragile (easy to crush in the box)
Frequently Asked Questions About Baby Food and Weaning
Q – Do I have to stop breastfeeding if I want to start weaning my baby?
A – No, you do not have to stop breastfeeding. It’s fine to continue during weaning. Some parents prefer to feed a combination of replacement formula and pureed foods when weaning begins but you can feed a mix of solids and breastmilk instead.
Breastmilk is particularly good for lowering the likelihood of diarrhea and vomiting in those very early stages when the baby’s body may be briefly shocked by exposure to new foods.
Adding a little breastmilk to mashes and purees is a good way to satisfy fussy eaters who aren’t too sure about the transition.
Q – Are there enough vitamins in pureed baby foods to keep my child healthy?
A – The national recommendation is to give breastfed babies a vitamin supplement from six months of age to ensure they get sufficient vitamin A and vitamin D.
These nutrients can be tricky for adults to get from food so don’t worry if your pediatrician recommends adding supplements to your baby’s diet.
You’re not making mistakes: it’s normal. Formula babies get these vitamins in their milk already so should have sufficient levels.
Feed your baby foods with plenty of whole fruits and vegetables during weaning but consider adding supplements if they’re transitioning away from breastmilk.
Q – I’m weaning my baby off breastmilk. Should I continue waking them for night feeds?
A – Once early weaning has been established, parents should stop waking their baby for night feeds. Let the child decide if they’re hungry enough to wake from sleep.
As you continue to reduce the volume of milk in their diet, they will wake less frequently and sleep for longer because their mealtimes will align with the rest of the family (i.e; in the daytime).
Q – Should I expect changes to my baby’s nappies after weaning starts?
A – Absolutely, you should. Get ready for some very funny-looking and funny-smelling diapers (sorry).
As your baby’s digestive system adjusts to the new changes you’ll see the effects as runnier, stinkier, and possibly even strangely colored poos. This is nothing to worry about and will settle down eventually.
However you choose to do it, weaning can be a messy and inconsistent process to start with. But it’s also a lot of fun because you get to experience something special: your baby’s first introduction to solid foods.
Think about all those amazing foods that you adore and can’t get enough of. Soon, you and baby get to enjoy them together! What a joy it is to be a parent. Just don’t forget to introduce all those delicious fruits and veggies as soon as baby allows.
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