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Delia Smith for babies!
Baby and Toddler Meal Planner - Annabel Karmel
Member Name: reddanni
Baby and Toddler Meal Planner - Annabel Karmel
Advantages: Very thorough book
Disadvantages: I paid over the odds for it.
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.
Summary: A very useful reference book
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