What nobody tells you about weaning

Last modified on Monday 1 August 2022

After months of breast or bottle-feeding your baby, it’s the moment you’ve been waiting for … introducing solids. Easy, right?

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Er, not necessarily. Because while you may have the bibs, high chair and a whole load of excitement - solid food, yay! - weaning your baby is not always that straightforward.

From trying to get your baby to even try his puree through to the MESS (who knew a baby could throw food so far?), it turns out there’s a few things nobody tells you about weaning.

Here, mum-of-two Louisa Pritchard shares everything you need to know about moving your baby from milk to solid foods - and how to enjoy (nearly!) every moment.


‘I thought weaning would be a doddle’

‘I couldn’t wait to start weaning my eldest son and was totally over-excited about him reaching another developmental milestone. His first solid meal!

He was over five months old, was sitting up and doing everything babies are meant to do before you start weaning.

So, armed with ideas for first foods, I added baby rice, parsnips, butternut squash and sweet potatoes to my online shop. Woo hoo, solid meals here we come …

‘Er, how much do babies actually eat?’

Turns out it wasn’t quite that easy. I’d decided to go the puree route rather than baby-led weaning (BLW) and quickly discovered issue number one: I had no idea how much my baby was meant to eat.

After some panicked Googling, I found a weaning schedule for Stage One, Two and Three - result.

With advice on how much your baby should have - and when to introduce lumps, meat and also how much milk he still needed - I felt ready to go. Come, on we can DO this ...

‘First meal here we come’

I popped my son into his Bumbo and he looked at me suspiciously as I put a bib round his neck, scooped some baby rice and sweet potato on to a spoon and held it out to him.

Did he try it? Did he heck. Instead, he clamped his lips shut and no matter how many times I did a ‘fun’ swooshing airplane coming into land, he was determined not to let the spoon go near his mouth.

After a couple of minutes I realised I was never going to win. First lesson learnt: keep your cool and don’t sweat it if your baby refuses to try his food. Tomorrow is another day!

‘Timing is everything’

My mum mates who were all weaning experts told me to try again when my son wasn't hungry or tired. Following this advice I had a result: he tried his first mouthful of food.

Well, I say tried. In reality it went in his mouth only for most of it to come straight out again. But I’m sure I saw him swallow a bit. That’s a win, right?

‘Look at how much your baby eats over a week’

A week or so into our weaning journey and I’d already learned that some days my son was happy to try his food - other days, he point blank refused.

Rather than stress that he wasn’t eating, I decided to look at how much he ate over the whole week, rather than each mealtime. And you know what, he was actually eating more than I’d thought. Phew.

‘Ready-made pouches means a LOT less stress’

Another thing I quickly realised is that weaning can be pretty emotional at times. For mums, that is.

Especially when you’ve spent ages peeling, chopping, steaming and blending ... only for your baby to pull a horrified face and refuse to eat his meal.

To save my sanity, I decided to use a few Heinz by Nature pouches and jars as a way of introducing some new flavours. It was much easier - and far less stressful - finding out he loved mango but wasn’t fussed about lentils when it was all ready-made. (Plus less washing up - yay!)

‘I couldn’t believe how long baby mealtimes took’

Something else no one tells you about weaning is how LONG baby mealtimes can take.

Seriously, I could have eaten a three-course meal in the time it took for my son to swallow 10 spoonfuls of puree.

My advice? Clear your diary and make mealtimes as relaxed and unhurried as possible. And if you miss your baby music class because he’s still eating (or squishing) his slices of banana, there’s always next week ...

‘The mess is worse than you think’

I had totally underestimated the amount of mess a baby can make with one bowl of puree and a tray of finger food. Or how far he can fling it.

Top tip: invest in a wipe-clean floor mat along with lots of bibs and flannels to wipe your baby's face and hands.

Oh, and don’t wear your favourite white top when feeding your baby carrot puree. Sob.

‘Eating on the go doesn’t need to be hard’

When my baby - and I - had mastered weaning at home, it was on to the next step. Eating out. Eek.

Into the nappy bag went bowls, bibs, spoons and pots of finger foods. Yet rather than worry about keeping tubs of puree cool enough, I used Heinz by Nature ready-made pouches - perfect for meals on the go.

‘Have fun’

With each stage of weaning - from purees to lumps to mini family meals - there are highs and lows.

Yes, there are times when your baby refuses to eat and you worry that he’ll starve or be a fussy eater. But he won’t.

Instead, you get to watch as your baby takes his first tastes of foods that he’ll love for the rest of his life.

So the one thing no one tells you about weaning that you REALLY need to know? Enjoy it!