Creating a weaning plan: superfoods for 6-12 months
At Omami, we believe weaning doesn’t have to be complicated. As loving parents, we want to empower you with the knowledge you need to introduce your little one to the best foods to help them grow.
We know it can be an exciting and sometimes overwhelming time for you and your little one and we’re here to help. Our organic baby food boxes use only the best, nutritionally dense, organic whole foods, freshly made to order in our Omami kitchen and sent straight to yours. Our blends have been formulated with nutritionists to support your baby’s development through every milestone and are 14 major allergen free.
When it comes to cooking for your baby at home, we spoke to previous NHS Early Years nutritionist and weaning expert, Catherine Lippe BSc(hons) about how to create a superfood weaning plan:
Creating a weaning plan: Around 6-months-old, your baby’s first tastes
Did you know, babies are born with a preference for sweet-tasting foods? As your baby explores food for the first time, you’ll probably find their love for bitter flavours and vegetables needs a bit of encouragement. That said, weaning is the ideal time to provide this encouragement, so don’t worry if your baby protests at first. By offering your baby a variety of different vegetables (particularly the green kind), for the first two weeks of weaning, you can actually support your baby’s acceptance of vegetables later on.
What solid foods can my baby eat at 6-months-old? Should I try purees or finger-food?
Examples of vegetables to try for your baby’s first tastes include: broccoli, avocado, kale, cabbage, green beans, courgette, cauliflower, green pepper, peas, runner beans, asparagus, okra and potato.
These foods could be pureed or given in finger food form depending on what suits you and your baby best - have fun and explore different options with your baby.
How many times a day should I feed my 6-month-old solids?
Start with one meal a day at a time that suits you and your baby. For the first few weeks your baby will begin to explore new flavours and become more curious about food. Try to offer your baby solid food in between milk feeds and at a time when your baby is alert, not too full and not too hungry. Remember, at this stage, it’s important to keep mealtimes relaxed, playful and fun for your baby!
Should I still be doing milk feeds?
Yes! Milk is still a very important component of your baby’s diet and will continue to be the main source of energy and nutrients for your baby at first. You should continue to offer all your baby’s usual milk feeds. Solid food will complement the milk diet but does not replace any milk feeds just yet.
Creating a weaning plan: 6-8 months old, exploring flavours and textures
Now’s the time to start combining ingredients and expand the variety of foods you offer your baby. A variety of food means a variety of new flavours for your little one, but also more all-important nutrients. After six months, there’s not a lot of food that your baby shouldn’t have so don’t hold back! (You should still avoid foods with added salt, added sugar or those that have been heavily processed.)
At this age, it’s a good idea to introduce one new food at a time, just in case your baby reacts to an ingredient – it will make it easier to identify the culprit food. That said, don’t be afraid to expose your baby to a wide variety of foods now - it’s time to really open up your baby’s eyes to the wonderful world of food!
Stuck for ideas? Why not try an Omami stage 2 box, perfect for babies who are ready to explore a wider combination of textures and flavours?
What does my baby need to help their nutritional and developmental needs?
Iron is an important mineral for your baby’s physical and cognitive growth and from six-months-old, your baby’s iron stores need topping up. Iron’s absorption is enhanced by vitamin C, so pairing fruits or vegetables with iron rich foods is a good way to help your baby absorb more iron from the foods they eat.
Omega 3 fats and energy-dense foods are also great additions to the weaning diet at this age. Your baby is growing rapidly and requires plenty of energy to meet their needs. Omega 3 fats also support the healthy development of your baby’s eyes and brain.
What foods should I give my baby to eat at 6-8-months?
At this age, your baby needs iron-rich foods, Omega 3 fats and energy-dense foods to help with their development. Use the ingredients below to create healthy, exciting meals for your little one:
- Iron-rich foods: Put the focus on iron rich foods by including foods such as meat (particularly red meat), fish and eggs, fortified breakfast cereals e.g. Weetabix and Readybrek, beans, lentils, chickpeas, smooth nut butters, ground seeds such as sesame seeds, chopped dried fruits and green leafy vegetables.
- Omega 3 fats: Omega 3 fats can be found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herrings, pilchards, sardines and trout. Including oily fish in your baby’s diet twice a week (but no more than twice) will provide your baby with a good source of omega 3 fats. If your baby is vegetarian or vegan these omega 3 fats can also be found in; ground flax seeds, walnut oil, rapeseed oil, hemp oil, chia seeds, soya beans, and omega 3 enriched foods such as breads, spreads and eggs.
- Energy-dense foods: Including energy dense foods such as full fat cheese, whole or greek yoghurt, avocado, nut butters and cooking with a little olive oil or rapeseed oil during weaning is a good way to help meet the energy requirements of these busy and rapidly developing bodies.
How many times a day should I feed my baby at 6-8 months?
Move on to two meals per day when your baby seems to be getting more used to food; they might appear to be more interested in what they are eating or seem hungry enough to accept a second meal. For some babies, this might be one to two weeks after starting weaning, but for others it can take a little longer. You know your baby better than anyone, so follow their lead here and decide what is right for them. Aim to explore thicker textures and some finger foods if you haven’t done so already.
Should I still be doing milk feeds?
As your baby begins to accept larger portions and a wider variety of food, you may find that their milk intake naturally reduces to make room in their tummy. That said, breast or formula milk is still an important component of your baby’s diet and continues to be a useful source of energy and nutrients. Follow your baby’s lead and continue to offer milk feeds in between meals at this stage.
Creating a weaning plan: 7-10 months old, getting adventurous!
By 7-10 months, you’re probably noticing some great facial expressions when your baby eats and explores different flavours! When your baby is well established on two meals a day and is accepting a wide variety of foods, you can try increasing to three meals a day. Continue to build on the variety of foods offered from the list of superfoods above and try new combinations of flavours to keep things exciting for your tot. Be sure to encourage a wide variety of textures and include a variety of finger foods if you haven’t already.
Should I still be doing milk feeds?
As your baby becomes more established on three meals a day, you may start to notice that solid food is becoming the more dominant part of your baby’s diet and the milk feeds are taking more of a back seat. The age at which babies drop milk feeds varies widely and depends on how they are adapting to solid food. Think of milk feeds as important ‘snacks’ in between the meals and a chance to top up on energy and nutrients, but food should be offering a good proportion of your baby’s energy and nutrient intake now. From 12 months onwards aim to reduce milk intake to no more than 300-400ml per day.
You’re doing a great job introducing your baby to a world of foods, but if you find you need a little help or want nutritious options when you’re on the move, why not sign up to receive one of our subscription boxes? You can choose to receive from one to three meals a day and pause, change or cancel your box at any time. Our blends are formulated with nutritionists and cold-pressed to retain nutrients, flavours and textures. The cold pressure process also keeps your baby’s food fresh and safe naturally, as we never use any high heat processing, additives, fillers or preservatives – just healthy, organic ingredients, to encourage appetites for life. We’re free of 14 major allergens for sensitive tummies and all of our packaging is recyclable and BPA free.