Weaning can be one of those difficult milestones for both parent and baby. There are so many options out there; will you be doing baby purées and spoon feeding, how about finger food and baby led weaning? Will you cook everything from scratch or use shop bought baby food? My first weaning experience wasn’t particularly enjoyable; my son wasn’t a great eater.
I was dreading it second time round with my twins but it couldn’t have gone any smoother; they eat EVERYTHING! My two weaning experiences couldn’t have been more different; I tried every trick in the ‘fussy eater’ book with my first and I still try to get him to eat more. Yet the twins eat so many different meals and foods, prepared in different ways, some spoon-fed, some finger foods and as they get older more meals based around what we are eating. I cook a lot at home but they have shop bought meals too if I’m short of time. I thought I’d share 5 of the things that have helped me and especially the things I learnt first time round.
Start with the basics; baby feeding bowls that are microwave safe, weaning spoons, plastic storage pots that are freezer proof, bibs, bibs and more bibs (especially if you have twins!).
I already had a steamer attachment for my pan and a hand blender. These saw me through my first weaning experience and I don’t think you need anything fancier. You might want to invest in a baby cookbook too, I found them useful for recipe inspiration and most of them have a good overview of what they can eat at each age. I found it best to batch cook baby purees and meals to freeze and have ready to go.
It may be that you already know how you want to feed your baby and that is great but be prepared to go with the flow if you need to. Some babies hate being spoon fed but will gladly tuck in with their hands, likewise some finger foods can put babies off and they would rather eat another way.Although you may think you want to exclusively do it one way or the other it’s good to keep an open mind and use all the options.
Variety is good:
If there was one thing I think I could have done more with my first it would be to offer a greater variety of food. I believe that if babies try different foods young it will help them to be better eaters in the future. My eldest will eat every fruit under the sun but he tried so many when he was a baby, however with main meals I tended to stick to his favourites and I wish I had pushed him to try different things. Now I try to introduce new foods a couple of times a week while keeping favourites on the menu too.
Make mealtimes fun:
This can be a tough one especially at the beginning. It takes time but it is easier now we all sit together and I feed them at the same time. We are able to talk and sing songs, sometimes I put music on and try to keep it light-hearted. If I’m feeling particularly energetic I’ll make their food more fun; think funny faces on pizza, dinosaur shaped butties or picnic style nibbles!
There will be mess, there will be times when they don’t want to eat what you put in front of them, there will be times when you want to go back into the kitchen and scream but if you can relax it will make the whole process so much easier. Remember in the early stages it is more about new tastes than actually filling them up, that’s what the milk is for. Don’t panic if they won’t eat something, just try it again in a couple of weeks. If you can stay calm, and sometimes I know that is easier said than done, it will benefit you and baby.
Hayley Smith is a stay at home mum to three boys. She blogs at Hayley From Home all about family life, both the happy moments and the challenges.
You can follow her on twitter @hayleyfromhome.