Weaning Baby Easily
I thought I’d write a post about weaning baby easily. It’s something I’m going through with my little charge now. It all started a few months ago and though I’ve weaned other babies over the years, each one is, of course, different and I always forget just how messy/tricky/annoying/tiring it can be! Once they hit toddlerhood and are enjoying proper meals, it’s hard to remember just how tough weaning feels at times. Weaning baby easily is possible though!
Some babies really do enjoy eating from the get-go and will happily open their little mouths for any food which is truly delightful, however, when that isn’t the case, no amount of experience or nanny training enables you to force a baby to eat! So when your hard work of fresh home cooked food that does actually taste delicious (and they damn well ate it yesterday!) gets totally refused, smeared all over them, splattered everywhere, here are my tips and ideas to help you through this sometimes tricky phase…
Remain calm at all times
I really think babies do pick up on any anxiousness and it can heighten the situation; the more they refuse, the more stressed you get and so on. Take several deep breaths and remember, no matter how hard it feels to think this – no healthy baby will ever starve itself, including yours.
Give baby a baby spoon
This seems to be something I have found works for every single baby I have cared for. From about 6 months they love chewing on a baby spoon and it really helps keep them focused and a little distracted to be able to feed them when they are not always so willing!
Use some easy to clean toys
When they are small at the highchair for distraction, toys can be great, but once they are older, I like to establish more of a structured meal time with no toys. Just nice toddler chats and enjoying our food together!
Are they hungry enough & not too tired?
This one might sound obvious but make sure they are hungry enough and not too tired either. If they’ve not long since had a bottle then they probably won’t be too fussed about food. I wouldn’t feed them as soon as they’ve woken from a nap either. Just like adults, I think it takes a little time for them to be ready for food after a sleep, especially when they are first weaning and solids are a whole new world for them.
Starting with fruit and veg
Once you’ve established baby is ready to wean, I recommend things such as apple, pear, sweet potato, carrot, broccoli, swede, courgette, parsnip, potato. Cook each fruit or vegetable individually (steaming is best to retain as many nutrients as possible and I am a true hardcore fan of the baby cook) then add some of the cooking water, purée it and put into ice cube trays, then label and bag in the freezer. Once the baby is used to the tastes and textures of a variety of food with no apparent allergies or reactions, you can mix up the variety. For example, my little charge decided he wasn’t very taken with vegetables at all and pulled all sorts of tricks to avoid me getting even a spoonful in his mouth. I found sweet potato and any fruit were things he did like so I simply mixed things up so he always enjoyed what I gave him even if there were broccoli or green beans hiding in it!
I really think being as organised as possible with preparation is so incredibly helpful. I know this can be hard, especially when you have other children or work commitments to consider, however, a few hours of batch cooking while the baby is napping one day can save so much time for the rest of the week. The last thing you want to be doing is trying to keep hungry baby happy and occupied while peeling carrots or puréeing some swede!
I know a lot of people swear by baby led weaning. My opinion is that’s great. Whatever works for you and your baby. Personally, I would never choose baby led weaning or not – I believe in a mix of offering purées and then finger foods as well. In my experience, just to rely on one and not the other never works super well. A baby is developing their fine motor skills and in the early days will struggle to get things in their mouths, food gets dropped, thrown about and if there’s no back up of some delicious purée going in too, I would wonder just exactly how much they ate. Offering small pieces of foods such as wholemeal toast with butter, cubes of cheese, carrot, apple, cucumber, rice cakes are great starter foods for them to learn to pick up and chew with. Babies do have a reflex gag which some parents panic about as it can look like choking however it is very different and nothing to be concerned about and remember, never leave baby unattended while eating!
All in all, the main thing is this phase only last for 6 months or so until they are ready to move onto meals with the family. That’s not a long time in the scheme of their childhood so try to enjoy this phase of mess, fun and discovery! Some babies just take their time to eat so be patient and treasure these special times with baby.
That’s all for this post but if you’ve enjoyed reading this and it was helpful in any small way, you might like to read some other of my posts here and you may especially like Top Tips for Feeding your Toddler and The Healthiest Way to Cook for your Baby and Toddler
Until next time x
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