Ready to go? Of course! Weaning means giving additional food alongside milk. After the first six months, breast milk or infant formula alone will no longer be enough to satisfy some babies. In addition, babies have increased nutritional requirements when they enter the second six months of life, for instance, very high quantities of iron. The need for zinc is also higher. Well-balanced weaning foods must cover this.
Introduce solids slowly – after all, it is not only your child’s digestion that needs to adapt, but also your own body’s milk production. As soon as a milk feed is replaced, an additional porridge can be introduced around three to four weeks later. However, not every baby will be ready to wean at this stage. It is more important to pay attention to your child’s cues than to count the weeks. Each child is different and will vary in terms of when they start to show a clear interest in solids.
Week 1: Begin with two to three teaspoons of pure vegetable puree and increase the quantity up to 100 g.
Week 2: Add around 50 g of potatoes and one tablespoon of weaning oil to the vegetables.
Week 3: The porridge is completed with 20 to 30 g of meat.For dessert, a little fruit puree or fruit juice can be mixed into the porridge.
Even if the topic of weaning can often seem overwhelming, it is difficult to go wrong as long as you remember what really matters:
1. Stay relaxed. Each child will learn to eat at their own pace. Do not compare your baby with others. Eating different quantities is also fine and depends on a number of factors: individual need, a growth spurt, the baby’s general health, teething …
2. No pressure. Parents choose what their child is allowed to eat – the child chooses how much of it they eat. Never force your child to eat, but motivate them to try it.
3. Roughly right. Don’t get bogged down with getting a recipe right down to the last gram. It is more important to ensure that the ratios are right.
4. Sensory exploration. Playing is nothing more than sensory exploration – this is allowed and encouraged in order to discover a new food. Of course, it should also end up in the mouth.
5. Rituals help. Helping with setting the table, making a toast or lighting a candle gives children a routine and helps them to prepare for a shared meal.
6. Set rules. Think about what rules you want to introduce at the dining table. It is important that these are age-appropriate and implemented consistently.
7. Positive atmosphere. Create a pleasant atmosphere during meals and avoid conflict and distractions, such as media and getting up from the table.
8. No snacks. Rule of thumb: after about 20 minutes, the meal is over. Observe a break of around two to three hours between meals and avoid nibbling and snacks – with time, children will learn to eat until they are full during mealtimes.
9. Self-regulation. In order to develop healthy eating habits, it is important that children experience for themselves when they are hungry and full. Do not force your child to continue eating.
10. No power games. Food is not a prize. Never use food as a reward or punishment.
You can find more useful information at Aktion Kleinkind-Ernährung.