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When should I start weaning my child and what can I to make the process as easy as possible?

Weaning is the process in which a baby is gradually introduced to solid foods. As a baby grows, she becomes increasingly physically active and therefore begins to use up much more energy. A milk only diet is no longer sufficient to fulfil these energy requirements or to give them all the different nutrients they need to continue to grow and develop.

Whilst some babies will take to solid food without any fuss, other infants will kick up quite a fuss. Sometimes it can be a real battle to persuade your baby to give up her lovely milk. But, with a little help and advice the process of weaning shouldn't cause you any real problems...

Don't feel rushed
Choosing when to wean your baby is entirely your decision. There is no right or wrong age when to do it so don't feel pressurised. Every baby and indeed every mother are ready to wean at different times. However, health experts suggest you should try to aim for between four and six months.

Gradual change
It's important not to suddenly stop breastfeeding as this can cause great distress and confusion to your baby. Gradually reduce your number of feeds to allow your baby and yourself to get used to this new feeding phase.

Special beaker
Giving you child their own special beaker, or even better allowing them to choose it, will encourage her to accept this new type of feeding.

Be sneaky
You are more intelligent than your child so use this superior brain power to make weaning easier. For example allow her to eat in different locations such as in the garden or in her playroom. This change of scenery often provides just the distraction she needs to forget about what she's eating. Another good trick is to put some of her food on your plate and pretend to eat it. Children will often eat anything if they think it's not meant for them.

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