FAQs 0 - 6 months
When is my baby ready to start weaning?*
Breast milk or formula provides all of your baby's nutritional needs for the first six months, but some mums may find their baby's appetite increasingly difficult to satisfy before he is 6 months old.
After 17 weeks, you may notice some signs that your baby is ready to start being gently weaned on to solid foods, in addition to her usual breast or formula milk.*
These can include:
your baby appears to be still hungry after feeds
your baby is watching what you are eating with great interest
your baby can sit up supported
This doesn't necessarily mean you have to start weaning and it is worth offering more milk at each milk feed to see if this satisfies him before trying solids.* Under no circumstances should you give solid foods to your baby before she is 17 weeks old as this can increase the risk of infection and allergy.
Should I feed my baby on demand or to a fixed schedule?
Whether you are breastfeeding or using formula milk it is ideal to get into a daily feeding routine. Babies generally do well on a routine as it helps them to feel safe and cared for.
What are the best foods to start weaning my baby?*
Your baby's first foods should be very simple, very smooth and very bland. Baby rice and cereals mixed with breast or formula milk until they have a semi liquid consistency, and single fruit or vegetable purées blended with your Braun MultiQuick hand blender are best. Favourite fruits and vegetables generally include bananas, carrots and potatoes.
*Babies are ready to eat solid foods at different ages. In case of doubt or questions, always check with your pediatrician.
FAQs 6 - 7 months
How can I tell if my baby is gaining enough weight?
Understandably, new mums worry about their baby's weight gain. Soon after birth your baby's weight will be plotted on a weight and length chart, often called a 'centile' chart. These charts show a series of lines (centiles), and providing your child's weight follows one of these lines it means he is growing at a normal rate. Length is also plotted in the same way. If your child is on or below the bottom line, or falling significantly below her previous centile measurement you should discuss this with your paediatrician or the health professional responsible for plotting your child's weight and length.
Should I make food at home, or buy ready-made food?
Everyone uses ready-made food from time to time. It can be very convenient. However, there is no need to buy prepared food all the time. Purées and other baby foods are easy to make at home with a few simple kitchen tools, including your Braun MultiQuick hand blender. You can make them from quality ingredients and freeze large batches that are enough for several meals. When you make your own food, you know what has gone into it and you can be sure there are no unnecessary additions such as preservatives or other additives that tiny tummies simply do not need.
Do I need special equipment for making purées?
With your Braun MultiQuick hand blender, you can make all the purées you need to make for your child. It is important – especially in the very early stages of weaning – that solid foods are completely smooth as, at this stage your baby doesn't have the feeding skills to cope with even small lumps in their food. Giving lumpy food at this stage could lead to choking.
As your baby develops the feeding skills she needs to cope with more textured foods, you can use your Braun MultiQuick to produce thicker purées and lumpier mashes. For storing purées in the freezer, an ice cube tray with a lid (or specialist baby food storage containers) are very useful.
FAQs 7 - 9 months
When can I introduce dairy products?
By the time your baby is six months old, it is safe to introduce him or her to dairy products by adding small amounts of soft products like yoghurt, butter and fromage frais to food. However, cow's milk should not be given as a drink or used to replace breast milk until your baby is at least a year old. It is important at this stage to use whole cow's milk to provide adequate calories and vitamins.
Can I give my baby herbs and spices?
Adding a little pepper or spice to foods is fine. If you add it during cooking and not at table. The addition of salt or sugar, however, should be avoided. Herbs are a good way to make food more interesting without any risk of being too spicy. Many babies also like the taste of garlic, particularly if their parents eat a good amount of it in their regular diet.
When should my baby start to feed him/herself?
At around 6 months, babies may start to hold or support a bottle, or grab a spoon during weaning but they will not really be feeding themselves without your help for some time. Most babies will be only too keen to grab foods and feeding utensils. Make sure that in early weaning, feeding spoons are soft as babies have a tendency to chomp down on the spoon tip and may damage their soft gums if hard plastic or metal spoons are introduced too early. By 15 months toddlers should be able to hold a spoon well although they may not be able to hold it level and steady enough from plate to mouth and the food is likely to fall off. However, these efforts should be rewarded with praise!
FAQs 9 - 12 months
Should I brush my baby's teeth?
From the time teeth appear, usually around 6-9 months you should be cleaning them gently and regularly. Clean teeth twice a day with a soft brush and a tiny smear of fluoride containing tooth paste.
Can my baby have eggs?
Babies can be introduced to eggs from about 6 months onwards although they must be thoroughly cooked so that the yolk is not runny. A very small number of children show an allergy to eggs. However, any family history of egg allergy (or eczema) may indicate that your child could be at greater risk. In these instances, introduce a little egg gradually so that you can monitor any reaction if it occurs. If your baby is allergic to eggs, then pulses, meat, fish and soya products are all good alternative sources of protein.
When should I stop completely pureeing foods?
Most babies will tolerate (or even enjoy!) foods with soft lumps from around 7-8 months. To get them started, it is a good idea to mash some of your baby's cooked food and mix with food that you have pureed using your Braun MultiQuick hand blender. Gradually you can puree food less and less until you are using your MultiQuick only to pulse ingredients very quickly before serving, and of course, to make drinks that need to remain smooth, like smoothies and shakes.
FAQs 12 - 18 months
Can my baby eat what the rest of the family is eating?
Babies want to be part of the family, so when your baby has passed the early stages of weaning, it is good to get him or her involved with family mealtimes. This is a good time to look at the whole family's diet and make sure that it is healthy and well balanced, including enough starchy foods, not too much sugary and fatty foods, and avoiding too much salt.
Babies can eat many of the same foods as other family members, providing you bear in mind that you should avoid the following foods for your baby or toddler:
Foods with added salt or sugar (although the occasional sugary treat is fine)
Unpasteurised cheeses such as brie and camembert, and blue cheeses (until your baby is a year old)
Honey (until your baby is a year old)
Whole nuts (before 5 years, to avoid the risk of choking)
Whole grapes (before one year, to avoid the risk of choking)
Very hard, 'sharp' foods that may cut your baby's mouth
My baby is developing fussy habits. How can I stop this developing?
Food refusal is a normal phase that most toddlers pass through at some time. For some time, toddlers may limit the number of foods that they will eat. This is usually a passing phase and will be more noticeable in some toddlers than others. Fear of new foods in the second year may be a primitive survival mechanism to prevent an increasingly mobile toddler from poisoning herself through eating things found in the house.
The first taste of a new food may bring a wary response or even refusal to eat, but don't give up on the food as at this stage it can be a normal response. The child may need to taste the food a few more times before they accept it as good to eat. It is also really useful if they see you eating the food, they may even ask to be given a little from your plate. This is because they trust what they see you eating to be safe.
Your toddler may eat less than other toddlers of the same age, but if she is growing and developing normally then she is taking the right amount of food to meet her nutritional requirements.
At what age can my baby start having occasional sweet treats?
A small amount of sugar if taken within a balanced diet which contains foods from all the food groups (i.e. starches, fruit and vegetables, milk, yoghurt, meat and fish) is acceptable. Sugary treats (especially sugary drinks) should not be given in isolation, i.e. on their own in between meals, as this is more damaging to teeth. They should also never be given instead of a meal, on the basis that 'at least he's eating something', which definitely sends the wrong message. There will always be a little sugar naturally in the diet, and the carbohydrate in breast milk is the sugar lactose, which is quite sweet. Good weaning practises help to teach an infant that tastes other than sweet breast milk are good to eat. Special occasion foods e.g. birthday cakes are definitely acceptable.
FAQs 18 - 24 months
How much carbohydrate does my toddler need each day?
Your child is developing quickly and needs a well balanced diet to provide the energy to be a healthy active toddler. Serve starchy carbohydrates with all meals and snacks. These can be as bread, breakfast cereals, potatoes, pasta, rice, or couscous. At this stage it is best to offer a mixture of food types - for example offer wholemeal, granary, pita and white bread on different days.
How important is fibre to my toddler's diet?
Fibre is important in your baby's diet, but you should not need to supplement a normal, healthy diet with additional added fibre. Most of the fibre in a toddler's diet will come from grains, fruits, vegetables. If your child seems constipated, you should check that they are drinking enough fluid and seek advice from your doctor or paediatrician before attempting to rectify the problem through other dietary changes.
Do I need to mash or chop all my toddler's foods?
There are some foods which present choking hazards for toddlers, including whole grapes, whole cherry tomatoes and whole nuts. The consumption of these should be closely monitored. Other than these foods, you may be surprised at the variety of foods your child can cope with from a relatively young age, when some teeth have developed, (usually around 9-12 months). By 12-18 months, your child will certainly want to be trying more challenging foods than just mashes and purées, although will still enjoy smoothies and soups as part of a balanced diet.
FAQs 24 - 36 months
How much food should my toddler be eating at each meal?
This will vary from toddler to toddler and from day to day. The amount offered should be gradually increased. You will get to know the amount your toddler will eat. You will know that it is enough, if he is growing normally. If his weight is falling off a centile line you should talk to your paediatrician or health visitor to make sure that he is eating the right balance of foods. In general, meals should be about one third starchy carbohydrate (e.g. bread, pasta, potato or rice), one third fruit and vegetables and one third meat, fish or pulses. At this stage he should be offered a savoury main course and a pudding which could be fruit, yoghurt or a milk pudding.
Should my child be given fruit juice at mealtimes?
Well-diluted juices are not a problem, and many babies will benefit from vitamin-rich fruit drinks. For example, vitamin C aids the absorption of iron. However, there is a risk that your baby could be filling up on drinks and reducing the amount of more nutritious foods that they take. You could alternate between giving a small glass of water with meals and giving a small glass of well diluted fruit juice.
My toddler won't eat vegetables. What can I do?
Your attitude to food is crucial as your toddler will soon pick up your likes and dislikes and may imitate them. So make sure the rest of the family is eating lots of vegetables too. It is important to remember that as long as your child is consuming a good range of nutrients and getting them from somewhere in the diet, occasional objections are not that important. Patient persistence is the key, and if a vegetable is rejected once, don't think they will never eat it, but continue to offer it again without making any fuss about it. If a child realizes that by not eating a food he can get lots of attention he is likely to repeat the behavior in the hope of more attention. Try to praise him when he does eat some vegetable - it can be very effective. He may also be getting more vegetables than you think when you count the vegetables that he will get like tomato or onions in the dishes you prepare.