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Best weaning books to help you introduce your baby to solids

Weaning is a really exciting stage for parents and babies alike, but it’s not without its challenges. From the preparing and feeding to the tidying up after, it can be a frustrating phase that requires a certain amount of organisation and patience. The books on this list are great sources of information and reassurance as you start your weaning journey.

By Kat Storr | Last updated Apr 6, 2023

Selection of baby weaning books

This article was last updated on 5th April to check prices and make sure everything is still in stock.

Just when you feel like you’re getting to grips with parenting, you find yourself entering another new stage. Introducing… weaning. While some parents can find weaning stressful, luckily there are products out there to help mums, dads and carers with this fun but occasionally daunting milestone. The best weaning books will advise you on the foods and ingredients to start your baby off with, as well as suggesting creative, tasty and easy recipes to follow.

As well as a great book to guide you through, there are a few other things that you'll want to arm yourself with before embarking on weaning. To save you time and energy when it comes to feeding your baby, you may want to take a look at the best sippy cups to help your little one learn to drink from a cup and the best highchairs to make mealtimes a breeze.

To help you find a weaning book that's perfect for you, we studied reviews of weaning books on our forums to see which ones parents had bought and rated highly – and which they weren't impressed by. All of our parenting Swears By guides, covering everything from the best baby bath to the top nipple cream, start with research on the Mumsnet forums because we know how valuable an independent, honest recommendation can be.

We collated all that information and then looked at other online reviews to see which were the bestsellers and which received rave reviews after purchase. We then cross-referenced all that information to find the weaning books that had won the most accolades and recommendations across the board.

Here are the best weaning books to buy in 2023.

Best weaning books - editor's pick

Weaning Made Simple by Annabel Karmel
Best overall weaning book

Weaning Made Simple
Annabel Karmel

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Ella's Kitchen First Foods Book
Best weaning book for recipes

First Foods Book
Ella's Kitchen

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Baby-led Weaning book
Best weaning book for baby-led weaning

Baby-Led Weaning
Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett

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1. Best overall weaning book: Weaning Made Simple by Annabel Karmel

weaning made simple book

Price on writing: £13 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Easy to follow and comprehensive

  • Life-size illustrations of finger food

  • Meal planners included

What to know

  • Some recipes might not go down well with less adventurous toddlers

What Mumsnet users say

"The Annabel Karmel books are really good. Lots of fairly easy recipes." (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Capuchini)

"[I] really rate Annabel Karmel, though I'd be shocked if any toddlers actually eat her liver and bacon stew or whatever it is." (Recommended by Mumsnetter Darnoot1)

Our verdict

Annabel Karmel has been the top name in weaning for decades and there’s a reason why she is the UK’s number one expert. She has dozens of books full of essential information for preparing your baby for weaning.

Weaning Made Simple, released just last year, contains a multitude of useful ingredient lists, meal planners, portion guidance and even real size illustrations of finger food. It helps parents learn how to balance solids and milk feeds as they begin the weaning process as well as key information about allergies, important nutrients and special diets.

Related: Discover the best nappies for toddlers, as well as nappy rash cream for times when they're feeling a bit sore

2. Best weaning book for clear and colourful recipes: Ella’s Kitchen The First Foods Book: The Purple One

Ella's Kitchen First Foods Book

Price on writing: £8 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Bright and simple illustrations

  • 130 recipes

  • Ideal from six months to one year

What to know

  • Not as much adult-friendly food as other recipe books on the list

What Mumsnet users say

"I quite like Ella's Kitchen First Foods Book. It covers the basics and then more interesting family recipes and snacks for baby from six months to over a year." (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user TinaMummy)

Our verdict

Ella’s Kitchen has become one of the most identifiable brands associated with weaning. This bright and simple book is a great guide for parents embarking on their weaning adventure as it contains 130 simple recipes and ingredient combinations. It's ideal from the very first stage when you're introducing solid food alongside milk (see our guide to the best sterilisers for bottles to make life easier there) to when your baby reaches one-year-old.

There are creative ideas for meals whether you choose the purée or finger food route alongside reassuring tips from nutritionists and other mums and dads.

3. Best weaning book for undecided parents: Weaning Made Easy by Dr Rana Conway

Weaning Made Easy

Price on writing: £11 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Takes you through both spoon and baby-led weaning

  • Meal plans

  • Very detailed

What to know

  • Not as good for those who've already decided on a weaning method

What Mumsnet users say

“Weaning Made Easy by Rana Conway is very accessible and has example plans. It explains both the BLW [baby-led weaning] and traditional purée routes and avoids any kind of zealous commitment to either. I found it very helpful.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Ihaveoflate)

Our verdict

Dr Rana Conway’s Weaning Made Easy is the ideal book for parents who haven’t decided whether to do spoon-feeding or baby-led weaning.

Conway has decades of experience as a nutritionist and gives a balanced, unbiased view of both methods of weaning - and tips for how to combine them if you choose. She clearly lays out the pros and cons of both methods to allow you to make the decision on what will best suit you and your family.

The book details foods to include and avoid during your weaning journey. It also has five-day meal plans and recipes for each weaning stage.

Related: Best changing mats for safe and easy nappy changes

4. Best weaning book for baby-led weaning: Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett

Baby-led Weaning book

Price on writing: £12 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Practical tips from an expert

  • Focuses on nurturing confidence in eating

  • Contains advice on safety too

What to know

  • Not the book for those who want to follow the purée route

What Mumsnet users say

“Gill Rapley Baby Led Weaning is brilliant. It’s all I needed, although I did use a recipe app too.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Megan2018)

Our verdict

This is a great guide for parents who have already decided that baby-led weaning is the route for them. Gill Rapley is a former health visitor and baby-led weaning advocate and her book gives practical tips on how to safely give your baby finger food, right from day one.

It provides hints and support on how to create an independent and confident eater as they explore the textures and flavours on their baby plate, and includes case studies, anecdotes and experiences of real-life parents as well as advice on allergens.

5. Best weaning book for easy recipes: What Mummy Makes by Rebecca Wilson

What Mummy Makes book

Price on writing: £10 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Great recipes for all ages

  • Tips for time- and energy-saving shortcuts

What to know

  • Some Mumsnet users find it too cheese- and pastry-heavy

What Mumsnet users say

“The What Mummy Makes BLW recipes have been amazing for us. We do them for every family meal - so easy, balanced and delicious. She has an active Facebook and Instagram page too.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnetter Ginfilledcats)

Our verdict

Rebecca Wilson is the mum behind a hugely successful Instagram account which shows her followers how to create delicious, fuss-free meals for the whole family.

In her book What Mummy Makes, Wilson shares the recipes she used when weaning her daughter. It focuses on simple, easy-to-adapt methods to make weaning as easy and enjoyable as possible for parents and babies, and her recipes use time-saving ingredients such as pre-chopped vegetables and ready-to-roll pastry. More experienced cooks may find the recipes a bit basic, but they are a great starting point for families ready to start introducing their baby to solids.

Related: For more ways to make baby feeding easier, don't miss our guides to the best breast pump and best baby bottles, as tried and tested by real parents

6. Best weaning book from a nutritionist: How to Wean Your Baby by Charlotte Stirling-Reed

How to Wean Your Baby

Price on writing: £14 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Straightforward advice from an expert

  • Shopping lists and meal plans

  • Good information on allergens

What to know

  • Bitter vegetables might not appeal to all babies

What Mumsnet users say

“Charlotte Stirling-Reed How to Wean Your Baby: The Step-by-Step Plan to Help Your Baby Love Their Broccoli as Much as Their Cake. This book is really good and provides a plan for weaning your baby - highly recommend.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Rosiewalker)

Our verdict

Charlotte Stirling-Reed is another nutritionist who has worked with families and knows what questions parents will have when their baby is ready for solids.

This book has won praise from well-known names such as Joe Wicks, Jools Oliver and Ella Mills (Deliciously Ella). It contains all of the valuable information Stirling-Reed has shared on her blog and Instagram account, plus the personal experiences she has had with her own children.

Easy-to-cook recipes are accompanied by shopping lists and a first-30-days-of-weaning meal plan. The book is also very informative when it comes to allergen awareness.

7. Best weaning book for baby-led weaning and spoon-feeding: Wean in 15 by Joe Wicks

Joe Wicks wean in 15

Price on writing: £9 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Quick and easy recipes

  • A mix of finger foods and purées

What to know

  • Some of the recipes can't really be achieved in 15 minutes

What Mumsnet users say

"Despite not being a huge fan of his normally, I actually really rated the Joe Wicks book." (Recommended by Mumsnetter ShadowPuppets)

Our verdict

The dad-of-two who had the nation jumping and sweating every day of the first coronavirus lockdown has also found time to write his own book about weaning. In Wean in 15, Joe Wicks shares 100 recipes he has developed after experimenting in his family’s kitchen. Mixing both purées and finger food creations, this book is an accessible way of learning how to introduce solids - just pair with our best baby food maker for even easier weaning.

The name of the book comes after Wicks’ success with his Lean in 15 programme and his Body Coach brand. The idea is that all of the recipes can be completed in 15 minutes. However, according to parents, the reality is that in some cases they can be a bit more complicated than they first appear.

Related: Discover the best changing bags that have the seal of approval from Mumsnet users

8. Best weaning book for feeding the whole family: Young Gums: Baby Food with Attitude: A Modern Mama’s Guide to Happy, Healthy Weaning by Beth Bentley

Young Gums book

Price on writing: £13 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Recipes for the whole family

  • One-pan and even one-hand recipes

  • Focus on positive eating and social habits

What to know

  • Some reviewers found the recipes overcomplicated

What Mumsnet users say

“We used this loads and loads - it's really good.” (Loved by Mumsnetter harper30)

Our verdict

Beth Bentley is an award-winning food blogger and her passion for food shines in this book. With a focus on nutritional value and flavour, and recipes that will satisfy the whole family, this book will help your baby learn positive eating and social habits at the dinner table from an early stage.

One feature that will appeal to many time-poor, tired parents is that Bentley’s recipes can be prepared in one pan and even with one hand if you have a baby who doesn't want to be put down. Recipes include Rainbow Ragu, Sweet Potato Cookies, Baby Burrito Bowls and No-roast Chicken Pot Roast.

9. Best weaning book for parents who enjoy cooking: River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook by Nikki Duffy

River Cottage: Baby and Toddler Cookbook

Price on writing: £14 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Lovely wholesome food for the whole family

  • Great for cooking together when you're child gets a bit older

  • Seasonal ideas

What to know

  • Less of a focus on weaning than other books on our list

What Mumsnet users say

"The River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook. It’s been a gem of a book for feeding my children and it’s not too obviously ‘toddler’ food. It’s food for the whole family but with small kids in mind." (Recommended by Mumsnetter littlemimosa)

Our verdict

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage has long been a place of seasonal, sustainable and healthy food as his popular television shows have demonstrated. In this book, the wonderful ingredients used on the farm are turned into recipes that family members both young and old will enjoy, so it will still get use after you've packed your nursing chair or bottle warmer away.

Duffy moves away from the bland purées some weaning books recommend and instead chooses foods that your baby will continue to enjoy as they grow older. Recipes include blueberry pancakes, fishcakes, meatballs, pizza and risotto. It also includes some delicious puddings which use British ingredients such as apples and rhubarb.

Related: Thinking ahead to toilet training? Our guides to the best potty and potty training pants have plenty of info to get you started

10. Best celebrity weaning book: Truly Scrumptious Baby by Holly Willoughby

Truly Scrumptious Baby book

Price on writing: £13 | Buy now from Amazon

What we love

  • Practical and reassuring

  • Party food ideas

What to know

  • Some reviewers say the recipes are overcomplicated

Our verdict

Celebrities face exactly the same challenges as the rest of us when it comes to parenting, and mother-of-three Holly Willoughby is no different.

In this book, the television presenter details the tips and techniques she used when she was introducing her children to solids, and the recipes featured are those that have been a hit in her household - all of which require little preparation and won’t break the bank. Willoughby also gives tips for party food and meals the whole family can dive into.

What age is best for weaning?

The NHS recommends parents start weaning their baby at around six months of age, although some parents may choose to do it slightly earlier than this. If your baby was born prematurely, it’s best to ask your GP about when to start introducing solids.

Breast milk or formula will still be providing most of the nutrients your baby needs, so for the first few months it’s just about introducing new flavours and textures to your child.

Signs that your baby is ready for weaning include being able to stay in a sitting position and hold their head up, and being able to coordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so that they can put food into their mouth themselves.

What are the three stages of weaning?

You might find that some books and nutritionists split the weaning process into three stages similar to these below:

  1. Purées and soft finger foods from six months

  2. Mashed food with lumps and finger foods from seven months

  3. More variety and family meals from nine to 12 months

What food should I start with when weaning?

Many nutritionists and weaning experts recommend starting your baby on one fruit or vegetable at a time. This will allow them to get used to a range of flavours and textures. It’s also important to not just give them sweet flavours. Try mashing up (or boiling until soft) potatoes, parsnips, carrots, broccoli, peas, apples, bananas and pears.

Another reason it’s recommended that foods are introduced one at a time is so you can be aware of any allergic reactions. Foods that can commonly cause reactions such as fish, nuts or eggs should be given in small amounts and one at a time too. Cow’s milk can be added to foods when cooking but should not be given as a drink until your baby is over one year old.

If you’d like to give your baby finger food, make sure you start off with soft foods which can be easily broken down in their mouths. Many babies may still not have many, or any, teeth at six months. Try boiled carrot sticks, broccoli and sweet potato, as well as bananas, avocados and peaches. Pasteurised full-fat hard cheese and toast are also good finger foods.

Read next: Boost your changing kit with the best reusable nappies and baby wipes, as recommended by parents

How long should weaning take?

Every child is different and, while some babies may take to food straight away, others may not be interested at all for the first few weeks and months of weaning. As we’ve said above, this should not be a concern as breast or formula milk should still give them all of the nutrients they need.

Don’t panic if your child doesn’t seem to be swallowing much. The actions of picking up food, holding spoons and tasting different flavours are all part of the weaning process and will help with their development.

From seven to 10 months your child may be ready to start on three small meals a day, plus their normal milks feeds. If they are starting to eat more substantial amounts, they may start to drop their intake of milk. By 12 months, your baby will be on three meals a day, plus healthy snacks.

What is the best weaning book? 

Many weaning books contain similar information and tips so your favourite will come down to personal preference but, overall, we think Annabel Karmel’s Weaning Made Simple is the best book on our list.

She’s been writing about weaning for over 30 years so parents can be reassured that she really knows her stuff. The easy-to-follow book covers absolutely everything from dropping milk feeds to choosing finger food or baby-led weaning and dealing with allergies. There’s a reason why she is one of the most famous names in the business!

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

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