Weaning foods and their usual milk combine to support your baby’s nutrition from six months onwards
From around six months, your baby may be ready to start weaning. You can then begin introducing a variety of purées and finger foods alongside their usual milk. It’s a big milestone and it can be fun to watch your baby trying new flavours and textures. But along with the excitement can come many questions about weaning. What role should milk play now your little one is eating food? To help you get the answers, SMA® Nutrition have compiled a guide for each stage of weaning to make the process simpler for you and for your baby.
You can also contact the SMA Careline® for personalised advice and support during this time.
Now my baby is weaning, do they still need milk?
Yes! Weaning is often referred to as ‘complementary feeding’, because foods should complement milk not replace it. Weaning should begin at around six months. At this stage your baby’s usual milk is still an important source of nutrition. You should continue to give it to them up until 12 months at least. The World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding with complementary foods up to two years of age and beyond.
When you start weaning, your baby needs to get used to taking food. You’ll need to ensure they’re still getting enough nutrients. It’s quite likely most of your lovingly prepared broccoli purée will end up around their mouth rather than in it. Therefore it’s recommended that you give your baby the same amount of milk feeds as before they began weaning. Gradually, as your baby accepts more foods, the amount of milk they’ll take will lessen.
What types of milk are suitable when weaning?
At six months, your baby’s usual milk should still be their main source of nutrition. At the same time you can introduce full-fat dairy products such as fromage frais. You can also use whole cow’s milk in cooking. After 12 months you can give your baby whole cows’ milk to drink. You can give semi-skimmed milk from two years as long as they are a good eater and have a varied diet.
Other types of milk such as goats’ and sheep’s milk, unless specially made for babies, are not suitable as a drink for babies under one year. You should not give unpasteurised milk to young children as it carries a higher risk of food poisoning. Rice milks should be also be avoided up until five years of age.
What about other drinks?
Once you have established weaning and the amount of milk they are taking decreases, you can give a sippy cup or beaker of tap water to help keep them hydrated. From six months you can also give diluted fruit juice to your baby at mealtimes, according to the NHS. You’ll need one part juice to 10 parts water.
Weaning is an exciting journey for you and your baby. Along with a growing menu of food, milk will continue to play a vital role in creating a nutritionally balanced diet that will help them to grow and thrive.
SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk is specially designed to complement the weaning diet and helps to build a nutritional foundation for life. SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk contains iron to help support normal cognitive development, vitamin D and calcium to support normal growth development of bone. To find out more about weaning, check out our tips for first foods.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The best way to feed a baby is to breastfeed, as breast milk provides the ideal balanced diet and protection against illness for your baby and also many non-nutritional benefits for both baby and mother. We recommend that you speak to your healthcare professional when deciding on your choice of feeding your baby. Professional guidance should also be sought on the preparation for and maintenance of breastfeeding. If you do choose to breastfeed, it’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
Infant formula is intended to replace breast milk when mothers choose not to breastfeed or if for some reason they are unable to do so. A decision not to breastfeed, or to introduce partial bottle-feeding, will reduce the supply of breast milk. If for any reason you choose not to breastfeed, do remember that such a decision can be difficult to reverse. Using infant formula also has social and financial implications which must be considered. Infant formula should always be prepared, used and stored as instructed on the label, in order to avoid risks to a baby’s health.
SMA® PRO Follow-on Milk is only suitable for babies over 6 months as part of a mixed diet. It should not be used as a substitute for breast milk during the first 6 months. The decision to start weaning or to use this product before 6 months, should be made only on the advice of a doctor, midwife, health visitor, public health nurse, dietitian or pharmacist, based on baby’s individual needs.