Weaning is a word that stresses so many Mums out. Baby is happily taking milk, putting on weight and quite possibly in some sort of routine and then everything gets thrown into disarray and you have to suddenly introduce food.
Look, I’m no expert and I don’t know if my weaning journey was the “right one” but I wanted to write this post because weaning can be really simple and stress free and is not nearly as much work as you think it’s going to be. In fact, the more laid back you are about the whole thing, the more you and your baby will enjoy what can be a very exciting and funny experience.
First things first:
The recommended age to start weaning is 6 months. Many Mums start earlier as they think that their little ones are ready. That is your choice….no one knows their babies better than Mums. Perhaps worth going to your GP/health visitor for advice if you’re unsure…..
In my case I started introducing new tastes when Poppy and Louis were around 5 months old and I did it with the help of my trusty Nuby Net:
They’d sit in their baby chair, happily (and safely) sucking on pear/apple/melon and looking very happy indeed. It’s a great and worry free way to introduce the concept of flavour and takes almost zero effort on your part. Oh and if they are teething, shove a cold lump of cucumber in it and watch the look of relief on their little face.
This for me was the time to properly start mine on fruit and veg purees. This doesn’t have to involve slaving over a stove for ages. Sometimes I would literally mash an avocado or banana and give them that. Others, I’d make huge batches of pureed apple/pear/butternut squash/peas etc etc and freeze them so I wasn’t constantly cooking.
If you’re going the puree route, I recommend the following things:
I LOVE this book. If you need structure and guidance, it has a week by week guide and loads of helpful info. Seriously….get it.
Here’s a good weaning tray for freezing your purees
I also swear by Bibetta bibs. Ours have been used for both my children and still look as good as new. You can get them with sleeves too:
Around 7 months:
This is when I started to add finger foods…..strips of toast, slices of melon, chunks of banana, cooked batons of carrot. It can be scary to suddenly let baby to chomp on something that could potentially be a choking hazard, but you’ll be surprised at how well he or she will manage and their gag reflux whilst capable of freaking out the calmest of Mums, is incredibly effective!
We also started to introduce meat and fish at this stage. Salmon is a favourite and is great combined with sweet potato and broccoli.
One of my favourite and easiest tips is to poach some chicken in a saucepan and then add chunks of sweet potato, potato, butternut squash, apple and broccoli. Add water and perhaps a baby stock cube and keep on the heat for a good hour until everything is nice and soft. Then allow to cool down a bit, puree and freeze. The apple gives the dish a lovely sweetness and it definitely packs a good nutritional punch.
As your baby gets used to the whole eating thing you make your purees a bit lumpier and introduce more and more finger foods.
Before you know it, your baby is happily picking up peas and eating them and can handle the same food as you. Louis is now 11 months and it’s amazing to see him tackling all sorts of meals.
Enjoy your weaning journey and honestly don’t let it stress you out. It’s all about exploration, mess and fun.
Oh and one other thing….when babies are ill or teething they can suddenly purse up their lips and totally refuse to eat anything. Please don’t let this worry you. As long as they are getting fluid then all is OK. I’m almost definite that once that pesky tooth is through they will more than make up for it. Obviously get things checked by a GP if you are at all concerned but don’t start worrying that they will never want to eat again. They will! It’s just a phase.
PS I know that baby led weaning is a “thing” but I have always just done a mixture. Sometimes I feed, others the baby does. Just let it happen organically. I don’t think that it needs labelling. Just get your baby to embrace food and enjoy it. Don’t make it stressful. That’s the key x