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Make weaning a positive process

Leading baby and child nutritionist, Charlotte Stirling-Reed, gives  key pointers to make weaning a positive process that parents will love.

Make weaning a positive process

"When it comes to weaning, I’ve seen in my work, day-to-day, that parents can be anxious

and lack confidence when it comes to start weaning, as well as the what and when of

beginning a baby’s journey onto solid foods.

However, there are some common themes that make parents uneasy or uncertain when it comes to weaning and I’m here to try and tackle some of these to give you the confidence to start (and enjoy) weaning.

These include:

1.) How and when to begin weaning?

When I first started speaking to parents about weaning, I realised that so many parents

wanted help with simply kicking that journey off in the first instance. “What foods do I start

with?”, “How do I offer the first food?”, “How do I know when my baby is ready?”. As parents

we have SO much to think about daily and adding weaning into the mix can really feel quite


So, how can we tackle this? (action points)

Ultimately it’s about waiting for signs your baby is ready, and these usually happen at around 6 months of age. These signs might look like:

1. Your baby being better at sitting up and holding their trunk steady, even if with a

little support.

2. Your baby having good hand eye coordination skills so they can pick up food and

bring it to their mouth.

3. Having less of a tongue thrust reflex, so when they are offered foods, they don’t

push it ALL back out with their tongue.

Ideally, we want to see these happening all together and regularly before starting weaning at

around 6 months of age.

When it comes to HOW to start, weaning is about a gentle introduction to solid foods, so

starting with one meal a day and I usually recommend offering a single taste of a veggie for

the first week or so of weaning. You can see my recommendation for the first 10 days of

foods as well as view videos of babies trying their first foods and finger foods in my Online

Weaning Course.

2.) How to introduce allergens?

Many parents are unsure on the rules around introducing allergens such as nuts, peanuts,

dairy during weaning and to be honest it’s completely understandable as advice around this

has changed recently and over the years.

Allergies are scary for parents for sure, but there are resources (including my course) which

offer step by step guides to offering allergens to your baby throughout the weaning journey.

How to tackle this? (action points):

Parent Time - The things parents are most commonly concerned about when weaning

their children.

 Introduce allergens at the start of weaning. Early on in your baby’s weaning


 When you introduce allergens to your baby you want to start with a VERY small

amount each time and make sure that the allergen is the only new food you’re

offering to them that day.

 Leave a few days gap before offering another new allergen and once each

allergen has been accepted, it’s good to offer them fairly regularly in baby’s diet.

3.) How to prevent baby from choking?

This is another big concern for parents during weaning and COMPLETELY understandably. Ultimately there are some foods that pose a choking risk more than others, but babies can choke on anything. 

Choking isn’t common, but gagging is and they are very different.

Gagging often involves a lot of noise and retching and can happen a lot with some babies

during the weaning journey.

How to tackle these concerns? (action points)

Do some online (there is a session as part of my Online Weaning Course) first aid for baby training so you feel confident you know what to do IF baby does choke.

Always sit with baby when they are eating and make sure you’re feeding them in a nice, sturdy and upright position, not leaning backwards.

Prep foods so that they are the right texture for your baby and gradually move textures up as your baby develops skills around eating. To start with, smooth purees or non-lumpy mash off of a spoon is ideal alongside super soft finger foods that will collapse easily when squeezed between your finger and thumb.

Choking can be a worry for many parents, but as soon as your baby starts to develop those

eating skills they will be much better placed to eat super safely."

Baby and Child Nutritionist, Charlotte Stirling-Reed, is now running an Online Weaning Course, a complete step-by-step guide for parents and caregivers to introduce solids to their baby. Find out more at

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