“ Brand: Cow & Gate / Age: 6-12 months „
When my daughter turned six months old and weaning was already well established, I moved onto adult cereal rather than the baby cereal simply for handiness and for cost purposes. Since the six month mark I have been giving my little girl porridge in the morning alongside different fruit purees for added taste. However, I thought it was also worth introducing some other breakfast cereal as well, and when cow and gate sent me some vouchers including one for money off these wheaty biscuits, I thought I would give them a go with my daughter and as introduction to weetabix.
This Cow and Gate Sunny Start wheaty biscuits costs around £2 in most supermarkets and contains 12 biscuits. These wheaty biscuits are suitable for babies from 6 months old. The advantage of these weetabix biscuits over the adult version are that there are added vitamins, in fact there are 6 key vitamins and minerals within these biscuits as well as no added sugar or salt.
On the back of the packet there are three suggestions for making a tasty breakfast using these wheaty biscuits depending on babies tastes and age, for example there is a recipe for a smooth breakfast and one for a crunchy breakfast using these biscuits. All the recipes suggest only using half a biscuit and I have found this to be adequate in providing a filling breakfast for my daughter. It also means that despite these biscuits being costlier than adult weetabix in terms of quantity, one biscuit should actually make two breakfast dishes.
I wasn't sure what my daughter would make of these biscuits having got quite used to porridge and liking it. I decided to keep these biscuits as mushy as possible to see if she liked them, which she very much did, and so I tend to break up a biscuit, mush it up with whole milk and then add some sort of fruit puree or mashed banana for added fruit and for added flavour and my daughter loves it. Even when she is teething and can sometimes be off her food, she still seems to love these wheaty biscuits in the morning.
All in all these are great wheaty biscuits for a filling, tasty breakfast that certainly my daughter loves. However, there is no doubt that baby cereals are more expensive than adult cereals, and so I will try my daughter on adult weetabix after I have finished this pack. Nonetheless I do recommend trying a baby on these before reaching for the adult version, and the fact that they have the added vitamins is a bonus.
My daughter couldn't get enough of my Weetabix at breakfast time and so I decided to get her her own.
As a result I purchased Cow and Gate Sunny Start Wheaty Biscuits.
After finishing off her baby porridge, my daughter would without fail start eyeing up my Weetabix. I decided to give her a spoonful to see if she liked it and she would open her mouth again and again for more. The conclusion - she definitely liked them.
I have given her a proper Weetabix at breakfast time, mashed up with plenty of milk and she does like it, but Cow and Gate's version has a few advantages over the adult version.
My main concern about adult Weetabix is that quite often you come across a solid grainy bit which is very difficult to chew. I didn't want my daughter encountering a grain of wheat and choking.
Adult Weetabix are quite heavy going for a baby, whereas Cow and Gate's version is much lighter. On picking one up it is literally lighter than its counterpart and much more airy.
They are easier to crumble up into pieces and they can be mashed down to as smooth a mixture as you like.
My daughter can eat a whole one without trouble and they don't start congealing back into a solid form like adult Weetabix can once they have soaked up all the milk.
The box contains 12 wheat biscuits so lasts 12 days or longer depending whether you give your baby half a wheat biscuit or a whole one. The box actually says give only half even when your baby is much bigger, but that wouldn't be enough for my daughter.
I warm up some full fat milk in the bottle warmer to pour over the wheaty biscuits so they are quite simple to prepare. The box also suggests different accompaniments which become more textured as your baby gets older. I stick with a bit of mashed banana as it is a good way to get my baby to have some fruit at breakfast time. However, again, I would disagree with Cow and Gate's portion sizes as they suggest just adding a centimetre of banana which is nothing. I mash up about a quarter of a banana.
You can also add yoghurt or at the most advanced stage, dried fruit like raisins.
I would highly recommend this cereal at breakfast time. My daughter has porridge some days and wheaty biscuits the rest of the time. They make you feel you are giving your baby a really substantial, filling breakfast, which is extremely similar to the adult version thus leading your baby far along the weaning path without any worries about choking.
Once weaning is well-established, I think it is important to have a structure to a baby's meals with regular meal times and routines. When it comes to breakfast, for example, I always offer a cereal-based product to help establish good eating habits and routines as baby gets older. I find the powdered organic cereals specifically designed for babies are ideal for the early stages as the quantities are very easy to adjust, but I prefer to move on to standard cereal products as my children grow older.
Regular Weetabix is a great breakfast option for slightly older children as it has a soft, mushy texture once milk is added and is also very nutritious. I am reluctant to give this to under-ones, though, as it does contain added salt. I was very pleased to discover that Cow & Gate have recently introduced 'Sunny Start' which are described on the packaging as 'breakfast wheaty biscuits.' Essentially, these are Weetabix specifically formulated for babies with no added salt or sugar. Available in packs of twelve, these do resemble the usual branded Weetabix but are actually a little thinner in depth, looking more like a 'value' range in size. These are suitable for children from the age of six months but no younger, as wheat products in general are not recommended for younger babies due to the gluten content.
I first offered these to my youngest son when he was just over six months old and had moved on to three regular main meals each day. At that point, his appetite per 'meal' was still fairly small and I intended to offer him just half of one of these biscuits initially. That proved to be quite difficult, though, as the biscuits refused to be broken in half evenly and, as they are slightly smaller anyway, I ended up with about three quarters of the biscuit intact with the remainder crumbling away in my hands.I would have found this issue less annoying if the box hadn't actually provided a few serving suggestions, all of which use half a wheat biscuit as the suggested quantity. I'm obviously not going to be the only parent who wants to offer half a biscuit at a time, so it would make the process much easier if the biscuits could be indented or marked across the midway point in some way, making it more likely that they would break evenly.
To be fair, this was actually only a issue for a little while as my little one's appetite grew very quickly and within just a few days he was happy to eat most (if not all) of an entire wheat biscuit for breakfast. As with regular Weetabix, the biscuits are initially hard and flaky but quickly soften with the addition of milk. I always used slightly warmed milk for my little one as he's not overly keen on anything served below body temperature. (He even spits out the first few spoonfuls of yoghurt in disgust!) The finished consistency is ideal for a slightly older baby who is confident with lumpier, slightly textured food. It is, of course, possible to vary the amount of added milk to make the mixture runnier, if preferred, but it is never going to be a totally smooth mixture due to the nature of the wheat. The taste of the finished product is almost entirely the same as regular Weetabix, with the absence of any salt or sugar giving it a much blander, but not at all unpleasant, taste. My nine month old son now happily wolfs his breakfast down every morning so he clearly enjoys the taste and texture. He can be quite a strong-minded character when it comes to eating but he is never reluctant to eat his Sunnystart in the mornings!
One of the reasons why I particularly like giving these to my baby, rather than the organic baby cereals I'd used previously, is because these are fortified with vitamins and minerals. (The biscuits are simply wholegrain wheat with added calcium, niacin, iron, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, folic acid and Vitamin D.) Unlike regular cereals, the vitamin levels are geared towards the nutritional needs of babies, rather than being formulated with older children or even adults in mind, as most regular cereals are. The amounts of added vitamins and minerals is relatively low as these are measured using the 'Labelling Reference Value' for infants with each biscuit providing roughly around 20% of a young baby's needs each day. (The exact quantities vary for each mineral and vitamin.) I appreciate that some parents might not want their baby's cereal to be fortified at all but I find it quite reassuring, particularly as I don't use formula milk at all as I'm still breastfeeding. I mix my son's breakfast cereal with full fat cow's milk (which is perfectly safe to use in this way) and feel happier knowing that the cereal itself contains some added vitamins and minerals.
My main reason for using these rather than standard Weetabix is the absence of any added salt. I obviously avoid any salted food for my baby but everyday foodstuffs such as bread, butter and cheese all contain some added salt. By offering a salt-free nutritious breakfast tailored to his needs, I feel more relaxed about the small quantities of salt that my son might consume as the day goes on, knowing that he is well within safe limits.
The biscuits themselves are not overly expensive either, considering the premium you pay for anything marketed as baby food. I tend to pay £1.99 for a box of 12 from either Boots or Sainsbury's. I have found them on offer for £1.49 at those places too, making them even better value. Surprisingly, these are slightly more expensive at Morrisons where I refuse to pay the £2.49 they were charging, especially as I know they can be bought cheaper elsewhere. At the £1.99 mark, these work out at under 17p per serving, which is not bad at all.
I would recommend this cereal to other parents and their little ones as I feel it is a more nutritious option for children under the age of one, as their digestive systems are still developing. Most importantly, my little one enjoys the taste and texture and is happy to endorse his Sunnystart to the day!