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Phoebe Talks Weaning

Episode 4

How much and how often should we actually feed our babies?

Episode 4 of "Phoebe talks weaning" podcast is about portion sizes, mealtime routines and snacks from six months to one year old babies.

When your baby joins the table at their six month birthday they might tuck right in or refuse their first tastes of solids all together. This episode is looking at portion sizes, mealtime routines and snacks from six months to one year.

Show Notes

First Steps Nutrition Trust guide

Transcript

We learnt about food sequences in our last session, but how much and how often should we actually feed our babies?

The introduction to solid food at six months of age is a major milestone in a baby's life. Along with the question of what to feed them first, goes the question of how much and how often.

So you’ve steamed or pureed your first vegetable, baby sits on her highchair with a bib round her neck and in goes the first solid food. They might instantly fall in love with it or they might spit it right back out (don’t misread this as a sign for a fussy eater!). During the first few weeks of weaning, your baby will eat just a tiny amount each time you offer food, it’s usually measured in teaspoons if you puree the food, and less easy to measure if you follow BLW (nappy content will tell you how much they ate).

On your highchair, get set, go! Here is some guidance on how to build up a food routine.

From 6 months of age

Most babies just eat one teaspoon during the first days, or they refuse all together and skip a day of solids. This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about as they still get everything they need from their usual milk. The first weeks of weaning are all about exploring new tastes and learning how to maneuver food around in the mouth. However, if your little one opens their mouth for more or keeps putting those delicious sticks of steamed veg in their mouth just let them get on with it.

7-9 months olds

Your baby will gradually move to three meals per day and their intake will slowly increase. If you follow traditional weaning, move to lumpier textures. Remember, a baby's stomach is tiny, about the size of their fist. So don’t expect them to finish a big bowl of porridge and make sure you look out for the cues that they might have had enough, see below for the signs. While learning how to handle food safely, babies also learn to eat just the right amount. They will instinctively stop when their little belly is full, so don’t try to trick them into eating more.

10-12 months olds

You’ll have established a routine of three meals per day, ideally at set times (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Your baby will still be on her usual milk but the consumption might slowly go down as she starts eating more solid food. If you follow traditional weaning, start introducing finger food at mealtimes and let the baby take hold of the spoon.

One year olds onwards

If you haven’t already done so, include a morning and an afternoon snack in your food routine. Fruit, vegetables and yogurt are great options as well as cheese or bread.

The First Steps Nutrition Trust has a great guide for portion sizes for 1-4 years olds.

Some signs and tips worth knowing

  • If a baby closes her mouth, turns her head away or pulls on the bib it’s usually time to stop offering food, these are all signs that she’s had enough.
  • Babies are more at risk of being overfed than starving themselves, observing your baby during mealtimes is key to getting the portion right. However, if you are worried or your baby is dropping a centile, speak to your Health Visitor or GP!
  • Only offer another spoonful if the baby opens her mouth.
  • Offer food before a milk feed, when the baby is interested in food, but not too hungry.
  • Choose a time that’s convenient for you and don’t feel like you must stick to a certain time in the very early days, go with the flow.
  • Sitting down together to eat might encourage your baby to eat too, you’re the one setting examples.
  • Let the baby take the spoon and feed herself if she wants, using two spoons might help, so you can offer a preloaded one. In general, encourage them to become independent eaters, even if this means mess. They don’t turn into tidy eaters overnight if you don’t let them try doing it themselves ;)

The next episode will be looking at nutrition, more specifically iron rich foods, which are very important in a baby's diet.


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*Disclaimer: Please be advised that any information is given as general guidance only. Should you have any concerns over the wellbeing of your child such as intolerances, allergies and weight, or your baby was born prematurely or you are unsure if your baby is ready for solids, it is always best to consult with your Health Visitor or GP.*

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