Last updated on Jun 11th, 2021 at 11:29 am

Weaning your baby may seem like a daunting experience but there’s no need to worry. Mealtimes should be fun affairs. With a little preparation and patience, you’ll find it as rewarding as your baby will.

When should I start introducing solids?

There are no hard and fast rules as to when you should start, but it is generally agreed that at around 26 weeks your baby will start needing additional nourishment to supplement his breast milk or formula.

Of course, it will differ from child to child, but you should introduce solids by 8 months latest or you may hamper your baby’s development of normal eating and chewing behaviour. Solid foods should not normally be introduced to your baby before 17 weeks. If you do need to introduce foods before this time, avoid wheat, gluten, eggs, fish and shellfish, liver, citrus fruits, soft and unpasteurised cheeses.

ALSO SEE: Raw carrots, honey, cow’s milk and other foods your baby shouldn’t eat during his first year

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How will I know if my baby is ready to start solids?

As with many cases during weaning, let your baby tell you if he’s ready. All babies are different, but there are three clear signs which, together, show that your baby is ready for solid foods alongside breastmilk or infant formula.

  1. They can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady.
  2. They can co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so that they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth, all by themselves.
  3. They can swallow food. Babies who are not ready will push their food back out, so there will be more food around their face than in their mouths.

What will I need to start solids?

There are really only a handful of essential products you need to kick off this exciting new journey.

  • A safe place for baby to sit during mealtimes like a high chair. There are so many options available and you have to buy what suits your budget. We like this Bambino High Chair, available from Makro, for R899 because you can strap baby into it so he doesn’t fall out or climb out when you turn your back for a second.

Bambino high chair

  • Bibs – things can get really messy so it’s a good idea to have a bunch of them, or even invest in a silicone bib that has a catch tray at the bottom. They’re available from Superbalist.com for R149.

Silicone bib

  • Baby-friendly plate, bowl or feeding mat. The vital baby NOURISH power suction bowl has been designed with powerful super suction and scooped sides to help prevent tipping and spills!  It also sticks to your baby’s high chair or the kitchen table. These are available from Clicks, Babies R Us, Baby City and online at Babies Africa, Loot and Takealot for R124.99 each.

vital baby NOURISH power suction bowl

  • Baby-friendly utensils. The Vital Baby NOURISH start weaning spoons have been designed for the 1st stage of weaning. The spoons have a narrow soft tip that is designed to fit easily into baby’s mouth. They are shallow to allow for small amounts of food only, to ease them gently into their weaning journey. They are available from Clicks, Babies R Us, Baby City and online at Babies Africa, Loot and Takealot for R69.36 for a pack of 5.

Vital Baby NOURISH start weaning spoons

*Article by Vital Baby