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Annabel Karmel’s weaning and feeding Twitter chat

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We asked you to put your weaning and feeding questions to our expert Annabel Karmel and you didn’t disappoint! Her live chat got you all talking. But don’t worry if you missed it – we’ve rounded up all your questions and Annabel’s answers. Make sure you’re following us @TescoBabyClub so you don’t miss the next one!

When to start?

Where weaning is concerned, ‘When’ is the biggest concern for many mums, including @xxstephanie1xx. She asked: ‘What is the earliest age you can wean your baby? My baby is only two months old but he's over 14lb and always hungry!’

Annabel said: ‘Government guidelines recommend little ones should be weaned from six months but physiologically, babies can have simple solids from 17 weeks.’

Fab first foods

@amywhelan18812, had a question about her five-month-old. She asked: ‘I’m thinking about starting to wean next month. What should I give as a first food? Purée or carrot sticks?’

Annabel recommended root veg purées, which are unlikely to cause allergies. She added: ‘Raw carrot sticks are not advisable for weaning, as your little one could bite off a chunk and choke. I like to include soft finger foods alongside purées, such as peach, pear or banana.’

Tips for tempting little taste buds

But what if your baby doesn’t seem interested? @nikki wanted advice on tempting her exclusively breastfed seven-month-old baby into trying bottles.

Annabel said: ‘If you are still breastfeeding your little one, it may be a good idea for someone else to feed them due to their attachment to you as they’ll still be able to smell your milk.’

She also recommended a different tack for tempting reluctant babies into trying food: ‘Babies like the comfort of breastfeeding and being close to you, so sit them on your lap when trying solids or put the food on the end of your finger.’

Time for texture

Of course, weaning isn’t just about purée – it’s about exploring new tastes and textures too. @sampoulton87 wanted to know when little ones can start eating lumpier food with more nutrients.

Annabel answered: ‘From six months babies need solid foods such as fish and chicken because milk does not supply them with all the nutrients they need such as iron.’

Getting into a routine

@xXxMrsOxXx was interested in how to structure mealtimes and move away from bottle feeds. She said: ‘What weaning routine would you introduce? Breakfast first? And when do you drop bottles?’

According to Annabel, the key is building up gradually. She advised: ‘I tend to start with one solid meal around late morning. I would give a little milk first as it is difficult to feed solids if they are frantically hungry. I would then move on to two meals a day and then three – depending on how well your little one takes to solids and depending on what age you start weaning.’

When it comes to milk, Annabel believes that around eight or nine months is the best time to introduce a trainer cup. She added: ‘Some little ones love sucking on a bottle and don’t want to eat solids. At around eight or nine months. it’s a good idea to put milk in a trainer cup during the day and reserve the bottle for your bedtime feed. I would advise not feeding milk in a bottle after one year old.’

Weaning worries

Any mum who’s at the weaning stage will say the amount of advice out there can be overwhelming. Our chat showed that many of you are wondering about the same things.

Young mum @TheMiniMesAndMe said she was interested in baby-led weaning and wanted to know more about what to feed and what to avoid: ‘Are there any foods that are a “no” or does anything go?’

Annabel replied: ‘I wouldn’t give anything that is a choking hazard – for example or grapes. Foods like meat tend to be hard to chew, so you are better off making mini meatballs.’

Are nuts a no-go area?

Although nuts are a great source of energy and protein, NHS advice says that children between the ages of six months and five years should only have crushed or ground nuts (eg peanut butter). Concerned mum @LindsayDruckman wanted to know more.

Annabel said: ‘You can’t give whole or chopped nuts before the age of five. But provided there is no history of allergy in the family you can give peanut butter from seven months.’

She explained: ‘It's erring on the side of caution. NHS guidelines recommend not to give [whole or chopped] nuts to under-fives to avoid choking.’ She added: ‘As a mother, it’s your prerogative to give nuts earlier if you feel your little one is ready.’

How much is enough?

Tiny bellies fill up fast! Lots of you wanted to know how much food you should be giving your little one. @charlottea1306 asked: ‘How much should my 10-month-old be eating now?’

Annabel said: ‘Generally, babies will regulate the amount of food they eat. They all go through a chubby state before they’re mobile.’ She added: ‘If you’re worried, please consult the centile chart.’

Fantastic five

Getting enough fruit and veg is vital for a healthy lifestyle – but when is the best time to get your little one into the habit? @Rebecca1Bex asked: ‘By what age should having five-a-day be established?’

‘A year is best,’ Annabel said. She added: ‘Fresh fruit, dried fruit like apricots and frozen vegetables all count.’