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Weaning Week Q&A with Paediatric Dietitian Paula Hallam RD

My LG is 10 months and barely eats anything. Is that normal?

Babies appetites vary a lot and I think it is helpful to look at their intake over a few days or a week as opposed to one day. The next thing I’d recommend is looking at their meal/food and milk feeds routine - is there enough of a gap between when they have had a milk feed and offering food? I’d also recommend eating with your baby as often as possible and demonstrating how you eat - making exaggerated biting and chewing movements can help your baby learn as they learn by copying

I am nervous about offering finger foods to my 7m old because of choking risk? 

This is understandable and I know it can feel very scary to offer your baby finger foods. I think it is important to remember that babies have a very strong gag reflex and this is a protective mechanism to protect their airway so that food doesn’t go down “the wrong way”. Gagging is not the same as choking - I’d recommend watching a few videos of babies gagging so you know what to expect. There is also no increased risk of choking with finger foods as long as they are the appropriate shape and texture - think of  the 3 S’s:
SIZE - larger pieces of food are safer for your baby
SHAPE - a stick or finger shape is best (so that your baby can pick up the food with their fist)
SQUISHABLE - is the food soft enough for you to “squish” it between your thumb and forefinger? This means that your baby will be able to mash the food with their gums and tongue.

My baby (6m) won't take anything from a spoon what should I do?

It is still very early on in your baby’s weaning journey… I’d recommend trying to eat with your baby and allowing your baby to play with their food by touching, squishing, smelling etc the food! I know this sounds like a lot of mess but this is how babies learn about foods - what they feel, look, sound and smell like - which in turn helps them to feel more confident with putting the for in their mouth. Also eating with your baby helps as they learn by copying you. Giving them their own spoon to play with also helps

My baby will only eat fruit purees I am worried that I haven't offered him enough vegetables?

Babies need a variety of foods from all food groups to provide them with all the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. I am not sure how old your baby is - you can start by offering the sweeter vegetables first, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and use herbs and spices to add some more flavour. Also try offering some soft finger foods for your baby to explore. Eating together with your baby is also a great way to show them how you eat a variety of different foods. From 6 months of age iron rich foods are really important as iron stores that babies are born with are running low by this point, so try offering iron fortified cereals with the fruit added such as fortified ready oats.

How do I know if my baby is eating enough? Never looks enough!! (11 month old)

Babies appetites vary a lot and they are generally very good at regulating their own appetite. Things like teething, being unwell, being tired can all decrease a baby’s appetite whereas having a growth spurt or recovering from a period of an illness may increase their appetite. Try to follow your baby’s lead and look for cues that they would like more to eat (reaching out for food, smiling, opening their mouth) or if
they’ve had enough (pushing food away, clamping their mouth shut, crying). Generally, health professionals will look at a  baby’s growth to assess whether they are getting enough nutrition over a period of time. If you are worried about your little one’s growth, I’d recommend speaking with their GP or HV in the first instance.



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