Making nutritious baby food is a doddle with some fresh fruit, vegetables and a little bit of helpful equipment. We show you how to make perfect pureé for your baby’s first stage weaning
Starting to wean your baby at six months is an exciting time, as you introduce your little one to tastes and textures they’ll continue to love for a lifetime.
In addition to your breast milk, you can start to introduce simple, one-fruit and one-veg pureés to your baby at this time.
It’s more accurate to call it ‘complementary feeding’ than ‘weaning’ as you’re not taking away the milk feeds but starting on the exciting process of introducing new foods. It’s advised to start at six months, as by then your baby’s mouth and digestive system are developed enough to cope with all these new foods.
Your baby will have a tiny appetite at this time, so all you’ll need is a few spoonfuls of each taste – some to go in her tiny mouth and some to be played with or end up on her clothes, hair and face!
Autumn is a great time of year to start weaning, as there are some fantastic and nutritious fruit and vegetables around like sweet potates, pumpkins, apples and pears, sweetcorn, parsnips and beets. You can prepare batches of these pureés in your baby food processor and store some in the freezer in ice cubes trays; that way, you can vary the tastes and have plenty of meals at hand just when you need them.
Is my baby ready?
You can gauge when your baby is ready for weaning if:
- She can sit and hold her head up well
- She has good coordination and can grasp food and take it to her mouth
It doesn’t matter when you offer your baby’s first foods but it helps to choose a time when you don’t feel rushed. In between milk feeds is great, as you don’t want to limit milk at this time. However, as your baby is becoming a more active part of the family, it makes sense to have her at the table with you at meal times, so that it feels like a natural time for her to explore eating with you.
If she’s not interested, take the food away and try again another time. She may not be ready and may not be hungry and it doesn’t help for you to get stressed, as babies pick up on that really quickly. Remember that she’s still getting the nutrients she needs from your breastmilk.
Many mummies start with some baby rice, mixed with your own breastmilk. This makes a smooth paste and will have a familiar taste. Don’t be alarmed if your baby seems to spit out as much as she swallows; during the first few months of life, your baby’s mouth is designed to feed from the breast, with the tongue held down and forwards. She has to learn to pull the tongue back to be able to swallow food.
Next, try some single fruit or vegetable pureés. Carrot, sweet potato, apple, avocado, banana – offer each food one at a time and see what your baby’s reaction is. You may need to offer a flavour as often as up to seven times before your baby likes it, so don’t be put off by early rejections.
Next, you can start to mix up flavours, making a meal from two vegetables, mixing baby rice with fruit and so on.
Gradually, start to add small chunks to the pureé and as your baby starts to accept this, progress to larger chunks and then to food that looks almost like yours. Don’t be afraid to add herbs and spices so experiment with combinations like parsnip and coriander, or apple and cinnamon. You should, however, avoid adding any salt or sugar to your baby’s food – they don’t need it.
You can mix spoon feeding with baby-led weaning, where your little one feeds herself. Allow your baby to pick up and explore soft, fist-sized food like steamed broccoli or fresh banana with her hands and eyes before – hopefully – she’ll pop it into her mouth.
Foods to avoid
- Honey, as it contains botulism bacteria
- Salt and caffeine
- Whole nuts – they’re a choking and allergy hazard
- Sugary food and drinks
- Goat’s or sheep’s milk – it’s lower in iron
- Sword fish, marlin and shark, due to high levels of mercury
You should never leave your baby alone with their food. Always supervise your baby when they’re eating.
Discover more recipes and meal time inspiration at BEABA.co.uk
Making pureés with the BEABA BabyCook
Suitable from six months
- Ingredients: 140g pumpkin
- Method: Remove the skin and seeds, then cut the pumpkin into 1cm cubes. Put into the steamer basket, pour water into the tank to level 3 and start cooking. When the pumpkin is cooked, put aside the cooking liquid then add the cooked pumpkin to the bowl and blend, gradually adding the liquid for a smooth consistency.
Beetroot, quinoa and goat’s cheese pureé
Suitable from eight months
- Ingredients: 140g cubed beetroot, 30g quinoa, 10g soft goats cheese
- Method: Place pre-cooked quinoa with cubed beetroot and 45ml of water into the boiler and start it up. Once cooked (approx 20 mins) place the beet, quinoa and goat’s cheese in the blender bowl and blend until the desired consistency is obtained