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This book was recommended to me when I was about to wean my first child. I''d always had it in my mind that I was going to cook his food from scratch, so this book was perfect! It begins with a chapter ''the best foods for your baby''. Here Annabel discusses current weaning guidelines, why milk is still important, organic and GM foods, what a baby''s nutritional requirements are, some info about fats and sugars and then lists essential vitamins and what foods you can find them in. Then it goes on to talk about fish, water and a bit about allergies, before ending the chapter on how to prepare baby food. I found this very useful, knowing how to sterilise and differences between boiling, steaming etc. Annabel also mentions at what age babies can eat certain foods like eggs, soft cheese and so on. The subsequent chapters are broken down into ages, so chapter 2 is ''first stage weaning'' and lists meals for babies between about 4 and 6 months. These meals are mainly fruit and veg-based, but there''s a chart showing you exactly which fruit and veg is best at this age. There is info on quantities and tips on introducing solids and then about 15 pages (sides) on different combinations to try. Each chapter ends with a meal planner. In chapter 2 this helps you figure out which meals should be milk and which should be solids, which I found really useful. Chapter 3 starts with more info on 7 - 9 months and how to reduce the milk and add more solids. The meals get more adventurous now. There are recipes like cauliflower cheese, courgette gratin and salmon with carrots and tomato. Chapter 4 is ''nine to twelve months'' and then chapter 5 is ''toddlers''. In this latter chapter Annabel talks about fussy eaters, which some may find helpful. To be honest, I didn''t use the book quite so much once we reached this stage, as my children were starting to eat the same as myself and my husband. However, I did follow some of the recipes, upping the quantities to make enough for all of us. There''s also some baking recipes; I used the animal cupcake recipe for my son''s 3rd birthday party! Overall, I found this book to be a great help when it came to knowing how and what to feed my children. It is full of little green, yellow and red stickers, which I used to stick on each recipe they tried to remind me whether or not they liked it along with the date. My two children both eat a very varied, healthy diet and are usually keen to try new foods. I''m sure that following Annabel''s guidelines helped with this. I''ll be honest, it did take couple of hours every Sunday to prepare the week''s food, but I''m really glad I persevered as I feel it''s paid off. The book is clearly written by someone who has lots of experience in this area, but in an easy to understand way. My children are a little older now, but I still go back to this book now and again for some ideas.
I am sure that everyone has heard of Annabel Karmel and her vast range of cooking books to help with weaning and feeding babies and children and there is good reason for it, she is highly recommended by anyone you speak to about weaning. I firstly borrowed the older version of this book from sister in law to get an idea as to whether it would be a good book and whether i needed one in the first place when starting to wean my daughter, looking at this proved i absolutely needed a book and this would be a great one!
I then went on to purchase this most up to date version myself, which has lovely illustrations in it and colourful pages and pictures throughout. As far as i am concerned this book contains all you need to know about weaning babies and what to feed them. It has a detailed introduction covering any question you could think of relating to weaning, lots of useful information throughout the book, for example what a baby can eat at what age and allergy information.
The book is split into chapters by ages and the stages of weaning which is very helpful and easy to see how to make the transitions between each stage as your baby grows. I found the first section for starting weaning particularly good for ideas for first foods and for example how many carrots you would need for a portion of food as i had no idea on this to start with!
I use this book every day for ideas to feed my daughter and recipes but also this book has enabled me to have the confidence to feed her things that aren't in the book.
I know there are many weaning books and information on cooking for children out there but i feel that i will not be needing to buy anything else as this contains all the detailed and useful information that you could ever need!
A parents' favourite
I bought this book when my daughter was approaching six months and I was thinking about weaning her on to 'real' food and - as with most things to do with babies - I didn't have the faintest idea what I was doing!
This seemed to be the book that everyone recommended so when I found it in a discount book shop for £4.99 I didn't hesitate to pick it up. It's currently on amazon for £8.48, but definitely shop around and keep an eye out in secondhand bookshops if you don't mind a used version!
This book is divided into five chapters:
1. The best first foods for your baby
2. First-stage weaning
3. Second-stage weaning
4. Nine to twelve months
The layout of this book is fairly simple, with some recipes being a few to a page. Some spreads don't have any images which is a shame - although I guess there are only so many photos of purées that are required! The recipes are clear and the methods are straightforward and easy to follow.
I found the first chapter - although short at only 14 pages - quite indispensable when I entered the world of weaning. It gives advice on allergies, nutrition, sterilising and so on. My daughter is now three so it has been a long time since I've looked at this section of the book but, flicking through it to write this review, lots of it is very familiar which suggests that I certainly referred to it a lot during those early months!
Then on to chapter 2 which outlines the first purées you can safely give your baby, beginning at between four and six months (depending on various factors which, again, Karmel outlines here in the useful introduction to this chapter).
Pretty much every recipe in this section uses a range of fruit and/or vegetables that you whizz up into a purée. Although this may all sound quite obvious, what is clever about this section is there are a lot of ideas for more unusual concoctions such as watercress, potato and courgette purée or a dried fruit compote (which is also puréed). The recipes are all pretty simple, of course, but this section is really great for getting ideas and it definitely helped me find inspiration and try a range of foods on my little girl.
Also handy is the little key besides each recipe which includes a symbol if you can freeze the purées, as well as a smiley and sad face, which Karmel suggests you can tick to show if your child liked or disliked this particular recipe - a nice touch! There is also a meal planner at the back which is again useful to refer to and help you plan baby's meals for the day!
Things get interesting...
Chapter 3 - second-stage weaning - covers the period from seven to nine months and this is where things get more interesting! Recipes now include meat, fish, lentils and pasta, and Karmel suggests that this is a good time to introduce slightly textured or lumpy foods. Again, I used a lot of the recipes in this book as they are all nice and simple - and I found they really inspired me when I was running out of ideas. Recipes include chicken, sweet potato and apple and an array of pasta sauces including bolognese. To this day my daughter adores her pasta and I am sure that trying out some of these tasty recipes from an early age helped develop her taste for it.
Up to a year
The next chapter covers nine to twelve months, and includes more 'meals' and items for baby to pick up and eat such as fingers of sole and chicken balls. The recipes here get a little more complicated and I must admit that at this stage in my daughter's development I was starting to feel more confident and was preparing more and more items without referring to this book so much. However as before, it did help to get ideas, and there are ideas here that can be adapted for grown-ups too! This is useful if you want to sit down and eat as a family, as you can tweak recipes to suit older tastes while keeping little ones happy too.
On to the final toddler section - I probably referred to this section the least as I felt I knew what I was doing in the kitchen now and I didn't worry so much about what my daughter was eating. She was also developing her own tastes and knew what she liked! What I do like about this section, however, is that there are "spicier" meals here such as Thai noodles, kedgeree, satay chicken and so on, and I am glad that this book gave me the confidence to introduce my daughter to spices at a young age (she was eating curry very early on!). There are also lots of puddings at the back - although none of them look very healthy so to be avoided if you don't want your little ones to have too much sugar!
A very handy read
All in all, I found this book pretty indispensable when my daughter was at the weaning stage and now, with baby two on the way, I can see myself using it again when the time comes as of course I have forgotten all these things that seem like like so long ago now! It is full of useful information and ideas and it gives good advice without being patronising or overwhelming. Like I say, I didn't refer to the latter chapters so much but the useful info at the front more than made up for this.
My only small complaints are Karmel's occasional plugs for her own range of baby foods, and also it is worth mentioning that some of the things she states here are her opinion rather than being fact so you may want to get a second opinion on certain statements that Karmel makes regarding food and nutrition for a young baby.
For a fiver, this was a great buy and I highly recommend it to any parents who are about to start weaning, and for those who need a little inspiration when cooking for little ones!
Annabel Karmel's new complete baby and toddler meal planner, has 200 quick, easy and healthy recipes for your baby. This is a best selling book and the edition I am discussing here is the deluxe, illustrated and updated edition.
I bought this book when my child was only a few months old, to learn more about weaning and I still use it now and he's 3.
The book is full of colourful pictures and writing makes the book attractive and intresting to look at, and the pictures come in useful.
The book begins with a short 2 page introduction from Annabel Karmel, which outlines what the aim of the book is, and her reasons for writing it, including the tragic loss of her own daughter. This part of the book also tells us the differences between this version of the book and the original.
There are 5 chapters in this cookbook.
Chapter 1- The best 1st foods for your baby.
This section is purely information rather than recipes. I found it good to read through the information here a few times and try to digest it all before moving on to the rest of the book. This section includes information on, UK department of health recommendations,
why milk is still the major food,
nutritional requirements ( proteins, carbohydrates, fats, sugars and starches )
the essential vitamins and minerals (vitamins A , B complex, C, D, E, calcium and iron)
high risk and potential high risk foods
question of allergies
cow's milk protein allergy
There is also a section on preparing baby food, which covers sterilising, steaming, boiling, microwaving and baking. A list of equipment you will find handy to have, including, a baby food grinder, electric hand blender, food processor and a steamer. There is also information on freezing baby foods. A handy little guide called "when can they have" lets us know when its ok to introduce your child to certain foods, for example soft cheese is at 12 months.
Chapter 2- Ist stage weaning
This chapter has a 4 page introduction with information on when and why to start weaning, first fruits and veg including a handy easy to read guide. There are 3 small paragraphs, 1 on fruit, 1 on vegetables and 1 on rice, each paragraph has some helpful tips on the paragraph's subject matter. There is also some information on textures, quantities and drinks, and just before the recipes begin there is a handy easy to read guide on "tips for introducing solids".
The first section of recipes are for fruit and vegetable first tastes. Each one tells you how many portions it makes. This section includes, apple, pear, banana, carrot, sweet potato and many more.
The next section of recipes are for fruit and vegetables, after first tastes accepted, and some of the recipes included are courgetter, broccoli & cauliflower, mango, peach and many more. There are also combinations in this section, for example, peach and banana. These combination recipes come with a happy or sad face next to the title of the recipe, so that you can mark on it if your child likes or dislikes this recipe. Some also come with a snowflake symbol to show that the recipe is suitable for freezing.
After the recipes in this chapter there are exampl meal planners, one for first tastes and one for after first tastes accepted. The first tastes planner is set up for 4 weeks and is a really helpful guide as to what time of day to introduce solids. The after first tastes planner is set into two weeks. I found these meal planners really helpful. You can change the meals around to suit your child's tastes , but they are a great guide as to when to fit the solids in throughout the day.
Chapter 3- Second stage weaning
There is a 6 page intro into this section which again has lots of useful information. Some of the sections included in this are as follows,
Less milk, more appetite
The foods to choose
A vegetarian diet
Textures and feeding pre-term babies.
The recipes are split into sections, and like the previous chapter the recipes come with happy or sad faces. Below are the section in this chapter and some of the type of recipes you can find within these sections,
Fruit- Banana & Blueberry, Peach,Apple & Strawberry Puree
Vegetables- Baked sweet potato with orange, and Courgette gratin
Fish- Salmon with carrots and tomato, Fillet of cod with sweet potato
Chicken- Chicken with sweet potato and apple, Chicken in tomato sauce.
Red meats- Braised beef with sweet potato
Pasta- tomato and courgette pasta stars, my first bolognese sauce.
Like in the previous chapter this chapter finishes with a meal planner, again you can change to suit your child's taste but has a great lay out as to when to have certain types of food.
Chapter 4- Nine to twelve months
This section has a large 7 page intro again with a whole load of information, which includes section on,
Toward the end of the first year,
the foods to choose,
meat, textures and quantities,
what to do if your baby chokes
fruit and ice lollies,
dried fruits, and much much more.
The recipes are again split into sections, below are these sections and a few of the recipes you will find in this chapter,
Breakfast- my favourite pancakes, and cheese scramble
Fruit- baked apples with raisins and fresh fruit lollies
Vegetables- Risotto with butternut squash, and sweet potato & spinach mash
Fish- Salmon & broccoli pasta, and Salmon footballs
Chicken- Chicken & apple balls, chicken with winter vegetables
Red meats- mini cottage pie, and beef casserole with carrots
Pasta- pasta stars with veggie sauce, pasta shells with chicken & broccoli.
There is also a 9-12 month meal planner at the end of this chapter that covers 7 days.
Chapter 5- Toddlers
The introduction for this chapter includes information on,
Enjoying mealtimes together,
My child won't eat
The foods to choose
Junk food substitutes
Fruit & desserts
Some of the recipes you can find in this chapter are as follows,
Vegetables- Stuffed Potatoes, and home-made fast food pizza
Fish- Salmon fishcakes, and mummy's favourite fish pie
Chicken- Marinated chicken on the griddle, and sesame chicken nuggets with chinese sauce
Red meats- Annabel's tasty beefburgers, cocktail meatballs with tomato sauce
Pasta- spaghetti primavera
Fruit- Apple and blackberry crumble
Dessert- Mini cheesecakes
Baking for toddlers- carrot & pineapple muffins, white chocolate button cookies and animal cupcakes
The book is rounded off with an index and some acknowledgements.
This book is jammed packed with information, and recipes. It might seem alot of information, but I feel its really worth while reading through it all. It has all the details you'll need to know. I would say it is best to read through the sections as you need them , or a few weeks before you plan to start the next section, as if you try to read it all in one go it can be alot to take in and get confusing. I felt it was best to read through things a couple of times so I could fully understand and digest all the information laid out for me. The recipes are all really easy to follow. I loved the smiley face icons and snowflake symbol, this became a really quick easy way to remeber what i'd tried and what i hadn't, what my son liked or disliked. The fact that alot of the recipes were freezable meant that I could make them up in advance, when I had time . Most of recipes use ingredients that you many already have in the house and if not they were easy to get hold of. Some of the toddler recipes can be adapted to make meals for the whole family. I really love the baking section at the end, some great cakes etc to make with the kids on a rainy day. This isn't just a cookbook, it is a great guide for new mums. It gives all the information needed to make the decisions on what to feed your child and family.
Knowing that I would be thinking about the whole area of weaning in the near future, my sister very kindly gave me two weaning books as part of my Christmas present this year, one of which was this Annabel Karmel's New COmplete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner. Now, I already own the Annabel Karmel top 100 Puree book, but I was wanting more information about the actual weaning process which this book aims to address, as well as giving meal ideas. The edition that my sister gave me is actually teh revised 20th Anniversaary edition, and on the front of my book, it states that this is a number one bestseller. You can buy this book for just under £9 on amazon.
One of the first things that you will notice about this book is how colourful and bright it is. There are colour photographs for some of the recipes in the book which I always like. The first part of the books starts with Annabel Karmel talking you through the best first foods for baby and the nutritional requirements of a baby. There are paragraphs related to allergies as well as the equipment that is needed. THese pages are well laid out, very easy to read and understandable, and they seem to answer many of the questions that I had about weaning.
The second chapter is also about first stage weaning, and the first fruit and vegetables that you should try with your baby, the reason for doing so, and various ideas for purees using these first fruits and vegetables. My little girl has now tried all of these first fruits and vegetables and I have used almost all of the puree suggestions in this chapter and she has liked them all, and so have progressed to the 'after first tastes accepted' fruits and vegetables, where stronger tasting fruits and vegetables are added such as brocolli and spinach. There are then further suggestions for making purees of two or three combinations. Alongside each puree recipe there is a guide to how many portions that the quantities given should make, although I don't tend to stick rigidly to this If I am boiling potatoes for my husband and I, I tend to throw in a few extra for my little girl and then puree them afterwards and so I don't follow the exact quantities. At the end of this chapter there are meal planners guiding you through the first few weeks of feeding, giving you a suggestion for how to go about the weaning routine, in terms of breakfast, lunch and tea. Again, I didn't follow this planner exactly, as I took things more slowly, since my daughter was 4 and a half months when she started weaning.
Chapter three focuses on second stage weaning for older children, when their appetite should be increasing and milk intake should be decreasing. Annabel Karmel guides you through the more difficult foods to introduce such as eggs etc which can lead to allergies. Again, there is a variety of recipes following the introduction that you can try out. Although I haven't got to this stage yet, I would say however, looking through the recipes that many of them seemed to look quite alike but I suppose they really are just combinations of food. At the end of the chapter the same pattern follows with second stage weaning meal planners.
Chapter four is based on babies 9 to 12 months. The recipes become more varied and longer, however, although I haven't reached this stage yet, I think I would be getting my daughter to eat more of the meals my husband and I have, rather than making all of the things suggested, out of sheer handiness. Nonetheless there are still some different ideas that I am sure I will try.
THe fifth and final chapter is devoted to toddlers, and I think this could potentially be a very handy chapter when you could be faced with picky eaters, and struggling for ideas for making food interesting. I also think this is a nice chapter which includes many things you could make with your toddler, getting them into the notion of food and cooking/baking.
All in all, although my daughter is still at first stage weaning, I consult this book everyday, for new ideas and to check I am doing the right thing in terms of weaning. As I said at the beginning, this book is very readable and Annabel Karmel makes it an interesting and easy read, leaving you feeling that you have more of a clue how to go about the whole process of weaning - no easy feat!
My daughter was born in September and I was bought this book as a present, the gift bearer had a seven month old daughter and referred to it as 'her new bible'. But through that 'sleep-less night haze' that comes with any newborn (if you're a parent, you know what I'm talking about!!), I thanked her kindly, put it to one side, well put it on the shelf and left it there.
When my daughter was around five months it was obvious milk alone really wasn't leaving her satisfied anymore and that was when I reached for the book....sorry bible and oh what a book it is.
I am writing briefly about the author because (unbeknown to me before reading the book) Annabel Karmel is quite well known all over the world for her contributions to services in child nutrition. She is a mother herself, has written fifteen bestselling books and was a food consultant for Marks and Spencer. Her hard work was recognized and acknowledged in 2006 when she was awarded an MBE. Annabel also now has her own range of food products and cooking equipment too.
As a mother myself entering the unfamiliar world of weaning was all very new and a little bit daunting, how do I start? Where do I start and what do I start with??! were a few questions going through my head but as I began reading this book I almost immediately felt reassured and really excited to go through this stage together with my daughter.
The book is very well written, easy to read and clear to follow. You are provided with important information but not inundated.
The book comprises of five chapters, the first going right back to basics, looking at why food groups are important and discussing issues such as vitamins your baby requires to any allergy concerns. The chapter continues to outline the different methods of baby food preparation and the necessary equipment you may need to do this. This chapter is fairly short yet informative and although your child hasn't even tasted solids yet, you feel ready and knowledgeable to begin the process.
Chapter two- discusses first stage weaning. To begin with there is detail on the introduction of different fruit and vegetables; information of the actual quantity that you can expect your baby to eat when they first start weaning and top tips for successful weaning. Then (the bible part!!!) comes instructions on how to prepare foods ranging from apple, carrot, butternut squash to mango and spinach. The list is very vast so there is lots of choice for you and your baby here. Annabel also introduces simple recipes here such as 'broccoli trio,' 'apple and raisin compote' to 'watercress, potato and courgette puree,' (which is absolutely delicious by the way, my daughter had it for the first time today!!) The recipes are short and very simple to follow. You are able to freeze many of them- this is indicated in the book by a snowflake sign next to the recipe as well as a smiley face or sad face to indicate whether your child liked it or not! With each recipe Annabel also states how many portions will be made which is great when meal planning. The final part of this chapter is a chart demonstrating a day by day breakdown of each feed giving possible meal suggestions from the previous recipes. This chart is BRILLIANT!! It really allows you to plan a weeks meals, cook them and freeze the ones that can be frozen and overall, creates a feeling of being in control of the process all the time. When my husband looks after my daughter, he knows exactly what she is having for each mealtime- no worrying on my part or frantic phone calls, 'which pot is it!?!'
Chapter three- explores the second stage of weaning, again discussing different food groups such as pasta and fish. The development of textured food is also discussed along with more delicious recipe ideas which in this chapter are separated into different food groups, i.e all the fruit recipes are together, all the fish recipes are together and so on. There is also a daily chart providing suggestions for each feed like in the previous chapter.
Chapter four- looks at nine to twelve month olds. Again there are introductions to good meal time practice with your child, details about different finger foods and like the previous chapters a short piece on different food groups. Following this are more recipe ideas separated into different categories such as chicken and red meats etc. Here on many of the recipes are instructions and ingredients to make adult portions (brilliant if Mummy and Daddy like the recipe too!!!) Finally as with the three previous chapters there is a daily meal planner chart.
The fifth and final chapter is all about toddler nutrition. Annabel discusses topics such as fussy eaters, junk food substitutes and portion quantity. You can guess what follows......more fantastic recipes with pictures which will really make your mouth water.
Finally there is an index of all the recipes and other related information mentioned in the book.
I have absolutely loved this book from the start and so far so has my daughter. She hasn't turned her nose up to a single recipe yet. My kitchen has never smelt better and I have cooked recipes in there for my husband and I when we have fancied something different and new as well. I think you could even use this recipe book even if you didn't have children, ok only the last chapter but you could!!!
Simple, easy to follow recipes.
Informative issues/concerns that you may have as a parent as discussed in the book.
Mouth watering pictures to accompany the recipes!
This book will see your child through early weaning into their toddler years, good value for money!
This would make an excellent present for any new Mummy!
None that I have come across yet regarding the book.
Prices range from about £9- £15 so shop around for the best price.
An absolutely fantastic little book that now lives in my kitchen and is being well used. Annabel has provided mothers with the confidence and tools to make weaning/mealtimes a really enjoyable process in both the food preparation and consumption!!!
Talk to any mother about to embark on weaning and she will tell you that Annabel Karmel's New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner is the book that she swears by. I must say that it has been invaluable to me ever since I started the weaning process with my little girl.
To introduce who Annabel is I have used an excerpt from one of her books, "Annabel Karmel, the mother of three young children, is an international best selling author of ten books and is a respected authority on child nutrition. She appears frequently on television and writes for national newspapers and magazines including The Times and The Sun and is cookery expert for Prima Baby Magazine. Annabel is a celebrity chef and resident children's food writer on the BBCi website where she has created an extensive section on children's food. Visit Annabel's website at www.annabelkarmel.com."
I read her Complete First YEar Planner when I was pregnant and knew that I would be purchasing one of her meal planner books once I got to that stage. My friend recommended this particular one to me and I love it. I bought mine from Amazon and it cost £14.99.
Weaning was a bit of an unknown to me, where do you start, what foods can you give your baby, how do you cook and puree foods and this book really answers all of your questions. The book is split into a number of different chapters. THe first chapter begins with the best first foods for your baby and firstly talks about proteins, carb, fats etc and all the essential vitamins. It also tells you how to freeze any baby food you make and how to make sure everything you do is safe and healthy.
Chapter two deals with first stage weaning. What I like is that she lists each food and then how to make and prepare it for your baby. For example when she talks about introducing apple she tells you to peel, halve and core it, put it into a saucepan with some water, cook over a low heat for 7-8 minutes and then puree. The best part about this book though and what I love love love and have referred to time after time are her meal planners. These are basically charts which go from week to week, day by day, listing what baby should have for early morning, breakfast, lunch, tea and bedtime. You don't have to rigidly stick to them but I do find they are a great help in planning meals for the day/week to make sure your baby has a great start to food.
I really like this book because I think Annabel has a great attitude towards healthy food. According to the introduction in her book, "In early childhood, eating habits and tastes (good or bad) are formed for life. Babies grow more rapidly in their first year than at any other time and you have this window of opportunity between six and twelve months where you can develop your baby's taste buds." It then goes on to say that more than one in five under fours in Britain are overweight and so it's a good time to go back to home cooking and I believe this book really helps you achieve that. This book contains 200 quick, easy and healthy recipes for your baby. This makes it really easy to cook well for baby and your family as once baby gets a bit older many of the recipes are suitable for the whole family too. Of course there are some parts that I think are too much like hard work. For example, stock (such as Oxo cubes) are not suitable for young babies as they have too much salt in them so Annabel has a recipe to make your own but it only lasts for a few days and takes a really long time to make so some things like this I think can be skipped and I have actually found some baby stock cubes in Boots which are just as good.
A lot of the recipes come with a photo too so it's nice to see what you are making.
Chapter three deals with second stage weaning, chapter four is for children nine to twelve months and chapter five deals with toddlers so this book in my opinion in a great investment and one that you will use for years.
Annabel Karmel will be well known to most parents who have weaned their baby. In 1991 after 2 years of research Annabel Karmel had her first book published concerning weaning recipes for babies and toddlers. Since then she has had phenomenal success publishing more books, appearing on television and selling ready made meals for toddlers and other products.
What is weaning?
This to me is a very strange word. It means when your baby moves on from a diet of just milk to taking food purees and eventually solid food. I found that you get an awful lot of help and support from health officials once your baby is born but the moment the health visitors sign you off that's it for 'mandatory' help. You then need to teach yourself about the next stages either by reading, asking fellows mums/friends/family and seeking out your health visitors at your local Sure Start centre if you are lucky enough to have one. I think this is one reason why Annabel Karmel has been such a success.
There seems to be 3 schools of thought concerning weaning.
1) Feeding baby whatever food you are having yourself, before you add any salt puree a portion for baby
2) Buying jars for baby
3) Preparing meals especially for baby
Obviously these can be combined and tweaked and most importantly there is no right or wrong! This is vital to say as many new mums feel forced to spend hours cooking and freezing meals just for baby in the belief it is the right thing to do and feel guilty if feeding baby a brought jar of food.
Those that follow Annabel Karmel method of weaning are in the 3rd group which is myself mainly with a back up of jars for convenience / emergencies. I too have spent entire days cooking and said to my husband will we do this for baby number 2? Time will tell.
What I will say is this book as well as recipes does provide a lot of information regarding the process of weaning, when to wean, allergies, preparation of baby foods and meal planners.
It is a lovely looking hard back book (great if you get the cover dirty it wipes clean and will stay open at the page you want when following recipes). The size is smaller than an A4, quite thick at 208 pages and has 200 'quick, easy and healthy recipes for your baby'. Separated into 5 chapters after the introduction
Chapter 1 The best first foods for your baby
Chapter 2 First stage weaning
Chapter 3 Second stage weaning
Chapter 4 Nine to twelve months
Chapter 5 Toddlers
I do like the fact it does right from a baby to toddlers all in one book so you get more for your money.
The book is crammed full of recipes sometimes several to a page so you don't always get a picture on the final meal but for the purees you don't really need one. It is beautifully illustrated by Nadine Wickenden with drawings of ingredients coming to life with faces, arms and legs. Each recipe has a smiley and sad face in a circle so that you can record what your baby does and does not like, as well as a freezer symbol if the recipe can be frozen. I have found these incredible helpful and will be interested to know if when baby number 2 comes along if they will like/dislike the same recipes!
There is also plenty of room on most pages if you need to add notes for example I have written when next time I make a recipe that it needs blending down more for my daughter.
As for the recipes themselves other than baby rice and pureed apple/pear it really opened my mind to buying allsorts of ingredients I never tried myself let alone give my baby, the variety is amazing. Also a lot of the recipes you could actually make for yourself and just take some out and puree for baby e.g. beef casserole, then add seasoning like salt for yourselves, we will definitely do this for some of the toddler meals.
All recipes are described step by step and very easy to follow even for someone like myself that is not a good cook.
One word of caution is the recommended portion sizes by each recipe please use as a guide as we have found it must depend on your baby how much they will eat each meal so don't be worried if you do a recipe for 1 portion and your baby only eats half.
Also the chapters are by age but my daughter doesn't have any teeth and is really struggling with big lumps and there is no way at a year she is ready for some of the 9 to 12 months recipes. I wish it would say approximately by the age range.
My daughters favourite recipes are sweet potatoes with spinach and peas. Sounds disgusting to me and my husband and we would never of thought about making this yet she woofs it down, this is a good example of why a recipe book is a must guide if you would like to make some meals for your baby yourself. As I have said the variety of ingredients is excellent from recipes using basics such as bananas, potatoes, carrots to more exotic avocado, papaya. Recipes cover meats, chicken, fish, vegetarian, desserts and snacks.
The only element I didn't really like or follow was the actually weaning plan in the book. It lists day by day what recipes to give over a week or 2 week period. As not all recipes can be frozen I saw there was going to be a lot of waste as doing a recipes for just 1 portion is not always possible so my husband and I created our own noting down what she had each day in case of allergies and slowly introduced each new taste.
So whether you agree with Annabel Karmels weaning ways or not this book has a wealth information, recipes and plans that you can take with a pinch of salt (or pepper) I think it's worth having a reference book whatever weaning ways you choose.
I purchased at WH Smith for £14.99, I thought it was a lot but we had gift vouchers, seen since on Amazon at £8.68.
This is the best baby/toddler food and nutrition book I've bought. It's packed with information and answers to all those questions you have, such as how much milk / water they should have at what age. There are loads of fantastic, healthy recipes for babies and toddlers from weaning upwards.
The most helpful part of the book for me, however, has been the meal planners at the end of each stage/chapter. Without these I wouldn't have had the first clue about when and how to fit each meal in between bottles. With my first baby I just followed the guide as closely as possible, and we were well on the way to three solid meals a day very quickly.
She gives you tips on how to puree vegetables and fruit, with how long to steam or boil each one (which I found very handy!), and how to store the purees and for how long.
The one thing I would say is a lot of the recipes for older babies are very time-consuming, so I would advise to make up large quantities and freeze them (if there's room in your freezer!). They're delicious, though, and my husband and I have often eaten meals designed for babies/toddlers!
If you're not sure where to begin or how to continue, then buy this book - it's fab.
Annabel Karmel is the queen of child nutrition. As a first time mum, I counted on the advice from friends and family. When Annabel Karmel was recommended I didn't hestitate. I found a second hand copy on ebay for about £6 including postage and I'm so glad!!
The book begins with very basic purees of single foods. Sweet potato was a favourite to begin with. It advised to try one food at a time to ensure you would know the culprit if your baby had a bad reaction. Karmel does a range of products but to be honest, a normal ice cube tray and a blender is all you really need. Freezing small portions is so easy and means you don't have to puree every day. Simply pop a few cubes out, defrost and re-heat thoroughly. The purees then get a bit more adventurous with the addition of other fruit and veggies.
When baby is used to trying the 'first foods', there are lots of delicious recipies for the second stage weaning. including lentils, tasty fish with cheese sauce and chicken in tomato sauce. The book then moves on to 9-12 months then toddlers and beyond.
There is a handy meal planner in between each section to help you with providing a balanced diet. Each recipe also has a smiley or sad face to help you remember which they liked and will tell you if it's freezable. Each chapter also contains a helpful introduction to tell you where you should be, quantites and other useful info.
This is a fantastic book and a must if you haven't got a clue about weaning like I did! I still use some of the recipies now and my son is nearly 2. The only downside I faced was I perhaps tended to rely on it too heavily and used mainly the meals I could freeze for convienience as I didn't want to be cooking different meals for us and him every day. I know a lot of people consider A.K's books as bibles and now I know why!
We bought this book as our son approach the weaning stage, having read a lot of information that completely bamboozled me about weaning I decided that I wanted a little bit of a push and a shove in the right direction. There is so much literature / information available about weaning that I felt I needed to make a decision about the direction we would try and stick to it as much as possible.
I really liked the fact that Annabel Karmel discussed food / nurtition etc in general at the beginning of the book. A lot is common sense but it helps to concrete beliefs etc that you may already have.
I liked the fact that in the early days there is a very specific meal planner to follow and I used this as my food bible for quite come time whilst I gained confidence and an appreciation of what our son enjoyed / didn't enjoy together with what I had time to cook etc. If I am honest though I think I stuck to it a little too close for a little too long. Once I did find my confidence I was able to offer a greater variety to our son and previously refused foods quickly became favourites as I relaxed about the whole experience.
As I was a first time mum, the age my daughter approached the weaning stage, I felt like I didn't have a clue! I had so many people telling me "mine liked this" or "try them on this" and "you shouldn't be giving them that" I was completely baffled by it all, and needed some help.
My sister-in-law was the one who recommended the Annabel Karmel range to me having used it for weaning her daughter. So I shopped around on the internet and found this book seemed the best one to start with, I found it cheapest on play.com at £9.99.
This book is brilliant for people like me who didn't really have a clue. It really does start from scratch, including what very first foods to try them on like banana, cooked apple, pureed sweet potato etc and what foods to introduce them to after this.
It gives clear easy to follow steps on how long to cook the fruit/vegetables for the first weaning stages. The book then includes sections for finger foods, and toddler foods etc. again all with easy to follow steps and clear pictures of the finished dish.
The bit I really liked and found very helpful is the meal planner, she clearly explains how to introduce solids into your baby's diet, starting with one puree a day then the next week introducing a second meal and goes on like this. The meal planners change as your babies diet and range of food increases. She also mentions what foods you should not give your babies to begin with and at what point you can bring into their diet.
This book was like my bible for the first stages of weaning and I would recommend it to anyone who is not sure about introducing solids into your baby's diet, or it is even good for recipe ideas for fussy babies/children! Packed full of really useful information.
When my baby was approaching the 6 month old mark, I was completely baffled by the world of weaning. Having exclusively breastfed, I hadn't even had to think about making up a bottle, so the thought of how I was going to introduce my little one to solid food and have time to prepare 3 meals a day was scary to say the least.
Thank goodness my health visitor recommend that I buy this book. The book is divided into sections for each stage of weaning your child, right from the very basics of pureeing carrots up to preparing foods for toddlers that the whole family can enjoy.
Each section has a lengthy and useful introduction which sets out the basics of what your child should be eating and the importance of the different food groups etc. Also excellent are the daily meal planners which are also included in each section.
The recipes are well laid out and simple to follow and give a guideline as to how many portions each recipe will make. In general they are quick to prepare, although some do require simmering for quite some time so don't expect all of them to be made in flash. I must admit to simplifying some of them though - I only skinned and deseeded tomatoes once, which the book recommends doing for most recipes, but there is simply not the hours in the day to do all the fiddly bits! One good time-saving point is that all the recipes are designed to be made in bulk and then frozen - great for making up in the evenings and defrosting during the day.
I have tried lots of the recipes and they have all been a hit with my boy (and my husband - butternut squash risotto is a new favourite!) and the book has given me the confidence to adapt the recipes to suit what I have in my fridge.
I would thoroughly recommend this book as a lifesaver to new mums - just be prepared to cut a few corners in order to give yourself some extra time - your little one will never know!
As every parent knows, the stage of weaning a baby from a milk diet onto solid foods can be a very daunting experience. I had heard the name 'Annabel Karmel' many times in reference to weaning/recipe books & was strongly advised to invest in one of her many publications.
I opted for the 'Baby & Toddler Meal Planner'. This best selling hardback book has been around for over 20 years now, but has been recently updated & has a clean, modern feel to it, along with bright colourful illustrations.
The book is split into several chapters:
Chapter 1 - 'The best first foods for your baby' talks about general nutrition for babies, allergies & other helpful information such as storage of baby foods.
Chapter 2 - 'First stage weaning' lists the fruits & vegetables which are best suited to a young baby at the start of the weaning process. The book explains how to prepare each product, & the approximate number of servings each 'recipe' will provide. Slightly more complex variations are included, which can be given once 'first tastes' have been accepted. The end of the chapter also includes a daily timetable covering the first 5 weeks of weaning.
Chapter 3 - 'Second stage weaning' has an introduction covering what foods your baby should be able to eat by now, & how to manage milk feeds in addition to solids. By this stage, your baby can move onto protein foods, such as eggs, chicken, fish & cheese. The recipes in this chapter become more complex, including a greater variety of fresh produce, aswell as the addition of meat & fish. Again, a day by day meal planner is included.
Chapter 4 - '9 to 12 months' has an introduction covering 'finger foods' & the fact that babies will now want to experiment & attempt to feed themselves. Recipes in this section include lumpier foods, cereals, pasta etc.
Chapter 5 - 'Toddlers' includes information on fussy eaters & the importance of family mealtimes. Recipes in this section become more akin to what we would expect to eat as an adult, & many of the recipes can easily be made for the whole family.
Throughout the book, information is given with each recipe regarding portion sizes/numbers, storage (freezable), & a 'happy' face & a 'sad' face, so that parents can record which foods their baby/toddler likes & doesn't like. Illustrations/photographs are provided throughout the book, which is particularly useful for the later, more complex recipes...many of which look delicious!
I myself started the weaning process approx 6 weeks ago with my son. I started off following the book & decided it would make things easy to follow the daily planners. Alas, things are not quite going to plan (when do they ever with a baby?!). My son starts choking at the slightest hint of a texture, & I find the jarred baby foods are much smoother than I can ever make. I seemingly have a freezerful of every fruit & vegetable under the sun, but only a limited few of which my son can manage & enjoy. I currently intersperse these with an array of store bought baby foods, with the hope of moving things on eventually, but at my sons pace. I do look forward to being able to work through the remainder of the book when he is ready.
This is a great book, which is simple & easy to follow, with lovely illustrations & colourful pages which make referring to it a joy. I'd advise anyone who is about to embark on the weaning process to buy one of these books, but don't beat yourself up if things don't go according to plan.
The book is 206 pages, with an RRP of £14.99. I bought mine from Amazon.co.uk, for around £8.50 with free delivery.
This is an absolute bible for me, I use it every day when cooking for my 10 month old and have done since weaning at 6 months.
The book had been around for almost 20 years so it's not a new fad, there have been 5 editions with the most recent update in 2007, which has also been beautifully illustrated. This is one of Annabel's 15 books (but in my opinion the most best). Annabel is a mother to 3 and if you read a bit about her history you'll see she has been involved in a number a child development ventures and charities. Her initial interest in child nutrition came after the very sad loss of her first child from a rare viral diral disease.
The book is split into 5 chapters, which takes you by age group from the very first solid meals (which aren't very solid) all the way through to toddlers.
Each chapter starts with an introduction to what to expect at that age e. g. when to move to finger foods, what foods to avoid. After that comes the recipes which are split into food group - Vegetables, Fruit, Fish, Chicken, Red Meat etc.
The recipes are all very easy to do and generally only use ingredients that you will use anyway. (No goji berries or flax seed oil). For the first few months I made baby's meals seperately, but these recipes are so good I often make the same for my husband and I, Fish in cornflakes is lovely (honestly) and I've totally rediscovered Rice Pudding.
Each recipe will tell you how many portions to expect (although baby's appetites vary I've always found these portion sizes about right) and tells you whether or not you can freeze extra portions. It also gives you a smiley/sad face so you can record which meals your baby liked/disliked.
There are over 200 recipes in the book.
If you want to make your own food rather than use prepared baby foods which can be expensive, a bit bland and sometimes nutritionally unbalanced but aren't quite sure where to start or just need some inspiration this book is the only one you'll need.
At £14.99 you'll get a lot of use for your money.