Weaning your baby

Reviewed on 06.12.2022, by Helen Farnsworth, Nutritionist

Welcome to weaning – the fun/messy part where your baby gets to experiment with different flavours and textures! There’s so much to cover with weaning, so we’re going to get straight into it with answers to some of your biggest what/when/how questions.

What foods should we offer?

In the early stages of weaning, fruit, vegetables and baby rice are really all you need. After 6 months, you can start to offer a variety of tastes and nutrients from other food groups, e.g.

  • Starchy carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and oats, etc.
  • Protein foods such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy foods, pulses, etc.

Foods to avoid

Though it’s great to get your baby to experiment with lots of different food types, there are some foods that should be avoided.

  • Sugary snacks – your baby does not need sugar. It can cause tooth decay.
  • Raw jelly cubes – these present a choking hazard.
  • Salty foods – salty foods are not good for babies’ kidneys. Avoid bacon, sausages, chips with extra salt, crackers, crisps, ready meals, takeaways, gravy and meals made with stock cubes and don’t add salt to the food you prepare for your baby.
  • Some soft cheeses – just as during pregnancy, there are some cheeses that should be avoided because they can contain a bacteria called listeria. Don’t feed your baby mould-ripened soft cheese, such as brie or camembert, ripened goats’ milk cheese, such as chévre, soft blue-veined cheese, such as Roquefort, or unpasteurised cheeses. Check the labels to make sure you're buying cheese made from pasteurised milk.
  • Honey – honey contains a bacteria that can lead to infant botulism. It should be completely avoided until your baby is 12 months old.
  • Raw shellfish – to avoid the risk of food poisoning, only give children shellfish that has been thoroughly cooked.
  • Shark, swordfish or marlin – these fish contain high levels of mercury, which can affect your baby's growing nervous system.
  • Fresh pâté – to avoid the risk of food poisoning, don’t give your baby fresh pâté made from meat, fish or vegetables.

One last tip: your baby is still figuring out this chewing lark, so for safety's sake, avoid giving whole foods that are hard or large in size, like popcorn, grapes, whole nuts or cherry tomatoes .. Never leave your baby unattended with food, and watch this video to learn what to do if your baby chokes.