Most newborn babies get enough nutrition from being breastfed or bottle fed. But as they begin to grow, they will also require solid food. One child might make the transition rather more easily than another, but ultimately it will happen when the time is right. In this article, we'll tell you how and when wean your little one from bottle feeding and smoothly transition him or her towards eating solids.
Solids: when to start
You can start to feed (pureed) solids as soon as your baby is about four months old. Once your baby reaches six months, breastfeeding or bottle feeding no longer provides sufficient nutrition in any case, so it is necessary to introduce solids from this time.
Some children give indications somewhat earlier that they are ready to start receiving solids, such as making lip-smacking noises or by putting everything they can in their mouths. Make sure you take that into account as much as possible, but be aware that it is also important that your baby is already able to sit upright by themselves.
Teaching your baby to eat and drink
Teaching your baby to eat solids goes hand in hand with teaching him or her how to drink from a cup. In other words, as soon as your baby needs solids, you will need to start weaning from the bottle. Continuing to bottle feed for too long actually hinders the development of your child's oral motor skills.
How to wean off the bottle
Weaning off the bottle requires a lot of patience first and foremost. You should therefore not make the switch overnight. Give your baby different types of cups according to his or her development, so he or she develops a healthy drinking technique:
- While your baby is less than twelve months old, it is sufficient to offer water in a cup. You can still feed your baby milk from a bottle in between meals.
- As soon as your child is between fifteen to eighteen months old, you can offer all drinks in a tumbler.
Some children are less willing than others to give up their bottle. Make sure to comfort your son or daughter if you notice it upsets him or her to be without their bottle. Simply offer your child an alternative (a cuddly toy or blanket) instead of the bottle.
How to introduce solids
- It is recommended that you begin transitioning to solids during a 'quiet' period for your whole family that does not include too many stressful events.
- Only offer food that has been completely pureed or blended (baby food, fruit or vegetable juice)
- Use baby spoons to feed your child. Top tip: hot safe spoons warn you if the mouthful is still too hot for your child!
Each child learns and develops differently
Finally, remember that each child has his or her own development pattern. So, allow your baby to set his or her own pace of eating and learning to eat, and above all, do not worry if it doesn't happen right away.