First Stage Weaning

Baby food

Rory will soon be ready for weaning onto solid food (time has really flown!) so I thought I'd let you all follow me in the trials and tribulations of weaning a baby in a series of baby related posts. Before I start I must make it clear that I'm not a healthcare professional so a lot of what I will be writing will be based on my personal experience of weaning my daughter (who is almost 3). However, I do think that by charting my progress with Rory, and throwing in a few recipes along the way, it might help people who feel a bit daunted by the whole thing, or for those who don't really know where to start. I will of course refer to current government guidance on weaning but for anyone who isn't 100% sure if their baby is ready for weaning, and especially if the baby is still under 6 months of age, I urge you to seek advice from your Health Visitor or GP before you start introducing food to your little one.

The latest Department of Health guidelines were published in 2003, prompted by recommendations from the World Health Organisation who advise exclusive breast-feeding for the first 6 months of a baby's life - personally I only managed to breastfeed for 4 months with both of my children and I wish I had been able to do it for longer, but thats life.  Previous guidance was to wean babies between 4-6 months but a plethora of research indicated that early weaning could put too much strain on the baby's kidneys and digestive system which may not have fully developed at this age and lead to allergies in adulthood.

Signs babies need weaning
The key thing to remember is that every child is different. My daughter didn't have solids until she was 6 months old, but Rory is going to be a different kettle of fish altogether. Saying that, it's really important not to confuse growth spurts with a child being ready to be weaned. Rory went through a growth spurt at 14 weeks, seemingly not being satisfied with his milk and I was told by various people to start him on solids. I decided to hold out for a week and just gave him top up feeds during the day. By the 6th day he had started to fall back into his regular feeding pattern.

Signs that your baby may be ready to be weaned include;
1. Taking full feeds 4-5 times a day but now gets irritable long before the next feed is due;
2. Screams for more immediately after finishing a feed;
3. Erratic sleeping and night waking;
4. Baby has at least doubled birth weight and weighs over 15lb (and is over 17 weeks old).

Where to start
From my experience with Lowen I think you need to start slowly, introducing baby rice first and when this is tolerated, start introducing fruit and vegetable puree's one at a time over a period of several weeks. I made the mistake with Lowen of giving her too many new foods at once and she started to refuse solids at one point. With Rory I will be introducing new vegetable and fruit purees every 3-4 days. The other thing I found with Lowen is that I gave her too many fruit purees in the first few weeks (probably because she gobbled them down) and she developed a sweet tooth, often refusing to eat the vegetable puree's that I made. With Rory I want to make sure he gets used to the vegetable puree's before introducing too many fruit puree's.

I think time of day is also crucial for successful weaning. Don't try giving babies food when they are tired and teasy. For that reason, I introduced solids after Lowens 11am feed and then a few weeks later started giving her solids after her 6pm feed too (I followed the Gina Ford routine - bit controversial I know, but it worked for us).  Once she was eating a variety of foods, I started giving her the food half-way through her 11am and 6pm bottles, and that way she automatically cut back on these feeds and ate more solids. Gradually a proper breakfast, lunch and tea routine will form, where milk no longer forms the majorty of the diet. By 9-10 months Lowen was having two milk feeds a day one at 7am before breakfast and one at 6:30pm before bed.

There are no two ways about it, weaning is a messy business. I always make sure I have the following to hand;
  • 2 bibs
  • Damp cloth
  • 2 spoons (Lowen liked holding one while I fed her with the other)
  • A plastic dish
  • Highchair or Baby Seat (your child must be able to sit up and control his/her head before you use a highchair).

First Foods - Recipes
These are the first few foods I introduced (you can mix these puree's into baby rice if you wish).

1. Pear Puree (makes 20 cubes)
1kg (2lb 4oz) Conference Pears
Step 1: Wash, peel and core the pears and chop into large chunks.
Step 2: Place in a large saucepan and cover with cold water, bring up to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, until tender.
Step 3: Drain and puree the pear in a blender or food processor.
Step 4: Open freeze the puree in ice cube trays and once frozen transfer cubes to freezer bags (with labels).

2. Carrot Puree (makes 20 cubes)
1kg (2lb 4oz) of Carrots (I always use Organic carrots)
Step 1: Wash, peel and top and tail carrots before cutting into chunks.
Step 2: Place in a large saucepan and cover with cold water, bring up to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until tender.
Step 3: Puree and freeze as pear puree.

3. Sweet Potato Puree (makes 20 cubes)
750g (1lb 8oz) Sweet Potatoes
Step 1: Wash, Peel and chop the sweet potato up into chunks.
Step 2: Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water, bring up to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until tender.
Step 3: Puree and freeze as pear puree.

4. Apple Puree (makes 20 cubes)
1kg (2lb 4oz) Eating apples - I used Braeburn
Step 1: Wash, peel, core and cut the apple into chunks.
Step 2: Place in a pan and cover with cold water, bring up to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes or until tender.
Step 3: Puree and freeze as pear puree

Beth Sachs (Jam & Clotted Cream)


  1. Weaning was so hard for me! But when I decided to do it, I just did it. You have great ideas here. I wish my boy were easy enough to eat these delicious looking puree but he was and still is the pickiest eater. I'm saving this page though for future reference.

  2. These recipes look good, I have forwarded your link to 2 of my best friends who have beautiful baby girls. Thanks Beth!

  3. My baby is 11 months. She's my third, so you'd think I would know what I'm doing! She has never ever liked rice cereal. I've been trying to feed her solids about three times a week for the last 6 months. She just spits them right back out. Until this month she has seemed satisfied with milk, but recently she's been sleeping really erratically, really hungry in the middle of the night, etc. With how crazy it is to take care of three little ones all day long, I have NO idea how often I breastfeed Charlotte. I think if I had a schedule like you, it would be easier to introduce solids. Fail to plan, and you plan to fail. Thank you SO much for these recipes. Your post inspired me to do better by my baby. (and myself!)

  4. I agree weaning is really difficult. I think if you have a batch of homecooked puree's in the freezer it makes life so much easier, especially when you have other little ones to look after. I'm really really glad you found this useful.

  5. Hi Beth, this will be me in a few months. I have already opened a folder on my desktop to save recipes and info in. I have copied your recipes and will be following with interest :)

  6. Hi Beth, I'm a few days late with my comment but an allergy specialist tld me that the reason so many kids have allergies these days is precisely because we are so slow to give them the chance to get used to foods early. Which is why we, who were all weaned and given everything from 4 months are fine. While kids have the most ridiculous allergies these days.

    I gave my daughter most things I wasn't supposed to (bread, whole eggs etc) in moderate quantities from 5 months and stopped sterilising her bottles at the same time. She isn't allergic to anything at 11 months, whereas most of her friends have a long list of problems. Go with your gut instinct and generations of what was considered normal. Rory will thank you for it.

  7. PS = she now eats Indian curry, ramen, dim sum and pretty much whatever we eat sans salt, sugar and chilli. Herself. It's great fun...

  8. I'm expecting my first now so this post is really helpful. I want to make my own baby's food as much as I can so thanks for the great post - I don't see many like it on other food blogs I read!

  9. It's nice to get an update on how your baby is doing, and I'm sure other mums appreciate your advice.

  10. A great post Beth, Jake's at that stage too now, eek!


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