top of page

Winning at Weaning

What influences us to eat?


Babies are driven by hunger. Whereas us adults are driven by much more than just hunger including appetite (a nice smell, advert on the tele, birthday celebration).


Hunger and Fullness cues




·      Turning head away

·      Clenching mouth shut

·      Easily distracted

·      Pushes food away



·      Leaning in

·      Grabbing spoon

·      Opening mouth

·      Pointing to food


How can a babies milk intake influence a child’s willingness to eat foods?


·      Offering frequent night feeds.

·      Offering milk before a meal.

·      Offer more milk then is recommended for that age group.



Division of responsibility


This is a feeding approach that is based around trust. Babies learnt to trust parents and feel safe and happy around food. Parents learn to trust that babies know their own hunger and fullness.




What to eat

If they want to eat

Where to eat

How much they want to eat.

When to eat



The five E’s of feeding.


1.     Exposure – babies need frequent and repeated exposure to a wide variety of foods.


2.     Explore- Babies need time to explore the sensory properties of foods WITHOUT any pressure to eat it. Messy play is a good way of achieving this. (five steps to exploring new foods).


3.     Establish a routine – Babies need a predictable and regular routine for their meals to allow them to develop hunger and regular times in the day.


4.     Enjoyable mealtimes- Setting, positioning, mood and atmosphere, child participation, pacing, encouragement, conversation (see table below).


5.     Eating together – Children do what we do NOT what we say, role modelling is one of the most powerful things we can do to develop a healthy habit with foods.


Other considerations


·      Think about your child’s intake over a period of three days.

·      Offer age appropriate portion sizes.

·      Consider doing a combination of finger foods and spoon feeding.

·      Babies don’t usually need snacks until they turn one year old.

·      Give your baby a vitamin D supplement each day.

·      Establish loving boundaries around mealtime from the start.

·      Consider using or making some fun family place mats (You could cut out some pictures of your family members put them on a piece of paper and laminate them).



Managing Mealtimes





Sit down together away from distraction. If your child has developed a negative association with their high chair try play time in the highchair, or eating meals in various setting such a indoor picnics on a rug.

Allowing children to wander about whilst eating or watch tv at mealtimes.


Sit face to face or at right angles.

Don’t stand over the top of your baby or leave them alone whilst eating.

Mood and atmosphere

Your energy always leads!

Aim to create a positive atmosphere at mealtimes. Enjoy each other’s company, smile, laugh use gentle touch.

If your feeling stressed, anxious, irritable or impatient going into a mealtime take a few minutes to take some deep breaths and ‘check in’ with your self first.

Child participation

Encourage your child to explore the food, give them a spoon. Make up a ‘clean-up song’ and sing this at the end of each meal whilst wiping their face and moving away the plates.



Try not to worry about mess, don’t wipe their face regularly throughout the meal as this creates a negative association. Don’t hold the spoon away from the child or hold their arms down and put food/spoons to their mouth.


Slow down, allow plenty of time for each meal. If spoon feeding, try to pause between spoonful’s and look for the GO signs.

Don’t continue to offer food when your child is signalling STOP signs.


Gently encourage and praise the child for sitting at the table, using their spoon.

Don’t plead, bribe or demand your child to eat. Don’t praise the quantity of food eaten but perhaps that they have tasted it.


Have cheerful conversation, perhaps talk about what you’re going to do that afternoon or describe the foods, colour and shape. If you find this difficult you could put on a nursery rhyme CD.

Avoid silence, criticism or being on your phone or screens at the table.



Useful Links and resources


First Foods





Drinks and Water






First Aid Videos




Gagging Video



Food Safety video




Finally, please remember…


Good enough is good enough! Feeding will not go perfectly all of the time and that is okay.


Don’t not worry if you have a difficult mealtime or challenging day just simply start again at the next meal or morning.


You can’t pour from and empty cup make sure you are taking care of your own needs too!

If you have any concerns about your little ones health or diet intake please speak to your GP or Health Visitor.


15 views0 comments


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page