Well when my son was 15 weeks old our Health Visitor was putting pressure on us to start the weaning process (utterly nuts, I know.) I felt that 15 weeks is way too young as the current advice is anywhere from 4-6 months, with 6 months being the age that works best to avoid future problems with allergies, obesity and breast/formula milk being 'enough' to meet a babies nutritional requirements up to 6 months.
With each weigh-in the pressure would be heaped on us to wean onto solids. "Not this week, not yet," I would keep thinking until he turned 5 and a half months and I finally caved into the pressure and bought baby rice and some fruit pouches from Tesco. I waited another few days before I made up a feed. We started simply on a few spoonfuls of fruit just to see how he got on with the taste and to see if he'd actually take it and try to chew the food. Well...he took to it very well! I didn't anticipate he'd even enjoy it, but enjoy it he did.
I felt a bit annoyed that the Health Visitor had suggested (and pushed) giving solids at 3 months because if I had been a little less unsure of myself I'd have done it. I've been told I don't produce enough breast milk but have never been offered any suggestions or medication to increase supply - other than majorly unhelpful comments that aren't feasible in reality; get more sleep, more rest, more support, grow an extra arm etc ;). The Health Visitors have reached the conclusion about my milk supply as my babies don't seem to gain weight to their (HV's) liking but the doctors are okay with the slow weight gain as the babies hit other mile stones to show they're developing just fine and every blood test they perform doesn't indicate any health issues that they'd associate with little or no weight gain. They have suggested using a 'top up' feed of formula but as this would further reduce my milk supply I don't think it's wise to go down that route...plus formula comes with it's own risks and I'd only consider it if those risks cancelled out any risks of my baby not putting on weight. The Health Visitor was convinced that offering solids was the 'next best option' which the doctor seemed annoyed by - and guffawed at. I think this suggestion is outrageous as, again, it would decrease milk supply.
The thing I have opted for is weaning onto solids at 5 and a half months, expressing my milk and adding it to my son's feeds so that they can be as calorific as possible for him and in turn expressing my milk will help to increase supply and give him a better quality of milk as I express on one side as he feeds, then offer that side, hopefully expressing the foremilk out and getting to the hindmilk, then I express from the other side as he feeds from the side I've expressed from. It's tiring but to me it's more than worth it if it means I can continue breastfeeding and he gets the best of the best. I will also offer him a bottle of expressed milk when I feel stressed about feeding or when he's been cluster feeding and I feel too sore to continue. Sometimes he feeds and gets annoyed at not being able to get anything from me and the expressed milk can come in handy for those scenarios...plus it's nice for my 3 year old to feed his baby brother. The routine we have now is to give about a jar a day of food and then my son feeds from me about every 2 hours (or less/more) and he gets a milk feed before getting his food so he is getting as much calories as possible. I express up to a maximum of three times a day and get anywhere from half an ounce to 1 ounce of milk on each side, I don't always express if I'm feeling sore or fed up as it's a lot of work to feed all day and night (he's had one night where he slept through from 11pm-7am).
I was also (falsely) led to believe weaning a baby onto food would help them sleep better at night...well it doesn't work for my son! ;). He's still just as obsessed with feeding as ever...though I have to admit I notice a difference in his latch while on the breast since he's started on foods. Right now we're trying out different foods but I think he'd eat A LOT if he could, but I simply don't want to overwhelm him all at once. I don't add salt or sugar to his food (obviously) but natural things like cinnamon I've tried him on and he LOVES it. I add a little sprinkling to his food and mix it in. I'm looking forward to sharing foods with him and expanding his tastes but for now we're still in the early days of a few spoonfuls and trying out new things.
I'm a big fan of fruit pouches and jars as I just don't have the energy or motivation to make up my own food - or the time! They're no different to someone mashing their own food at home - they contain no salts, sugars or unnecessary junk and a lot of them are organic (not that I see this is as a benefit!) so I have no illusions that my own home cooked stuff would be any better. I'll go as far as mashing a banana for him right now and offer fruit pouches and jars. When he gets older I'll offer the food we're having - without any added stuff...though I don't even own or buy salt so I can probably just offer as is - and we can eat together as a family. I had hoped to try baby led weaning but I've gone off the idea for the mess factor. I know that sounds bad but I'm currently so over taken by the nightly feeds, expressing milk, day time feeds and taking care of myself (haha!) that I just can't be bothered to have the mess of baby led weaning right now...though he currently dips his fingers into his food and puts it to his mouth but feeding like this would just annoy him so for now we're doing spoon feeds. Overall I don't think it's perfect for everyone, but it's perfect for our family. I just wish I had more time and more energy to spend on making my own foods for him but the jars and pouches on the market right now are brilliant and if you catch a good deal you end up spending less. By the time he's on to chunkier foods he'll be eating with us anyway and it won't take up any extra time to prepare meals for everyone.
Thank you to all those Dooyooers who sent positive vibes to Baby CrazyEgg over the Christmas period! This is a little update for you. If however, your baby is fed by nasogastric tube and you have found this page in a search for an experience similar to your own, then I hope this helps in some way.
For those of you who do not know what I am talking about, Baby CrazyEgg embarked on a great experiment on 11th December 2012. She had been fed via nasogastric tube since her premature birth in May 2011 at 26 weeks, when she weighed 599g, or 1lb 5oz. From the time she came home in December 2011 she continued to be fed by nasogastric tube, and with the support of a dietitian and speech therapist we worked toward the goal of feeding orally- 'normally' I suppose I should say. On 11th December Baby CrazyEgg pulled her NG tube out for the final time, and after a few bumpy, anxious days began feeding herself sufficiently: the tube is gone, never to return, and I have spent this morning packing up our remaining supplies of nasogastric tubes, syringes, tape, pH strips etc so that they can be used elsewhere.
So, there can be an end to nasogastric feeding. And gastrostomy can be avoided, although I understand that in some cases it may be the best option. It was muted last year as something we "might perhaps have to discuss if no progress is made in the next few months". I was very thankful that Baby CrazyEgg did make progress and so avoided having this operation. And I learned that different parts of the country have different policies concerning gastrostomy, and had we lived elsewhere would most likely have been advised to have this procedure after 16 weeks of tube feeding. Presumably there are good reasons for this, NG tubes can cause stomach irritation, they can promote reflux, they come out, they are a nuisance! Nevertheless, it does make me a bit twitchy knowing that this could have been the case, when Baby has now shown that she can eat and drink for herself.
Baby CrazyEgg did not really understand what was going on the day the tube came out for the last time. I explained that we were going to try without it of course, but I don't think it meant much. By this time Baby CrazyEgg had demonstrated that she could eat and drink safely. After she had eaten puree or porridge we would do a tube feed of her formula. Initially this was Neocate, as she had a suspected intolerance of cow's milk protein and then latterly it changed to Paediasure Peptide, as she seemed to be developing tolerance. This was fortuitous since Neocate tastes disgusting and Paediasure Peptide is much more palatable. I had expressed concern that if we tried to get Baby to drink Neocate we would undo all our progress: one of the setbacks we had last year was after we were advised to let her suck the formula off our fingers. Pursed lips and retching followed, and once I had a taste of it I could empathise.
Under the dietician's guidance we had steadily reduced the formula to encourage Baby to eat more. It had seemed to work, but there was little drinking going on. In order to encourage this we felt it was time to take the plunge and see if Baby would drink for herself if formula was not pumped into her stomach every few hours.
By the end of the first day I knew that Baby CrazyEgg had not eaten or drunk nearly enough. She was very tired the next morning and out of sorts. With encouragement however she drank 50mls of her formula from a cup. This was the greatest amount she had ever drunk, her previous record being 20mls. During the rest of the day she ate well, but drank little. We had an aim of 660 calories to be ingested, and this was not quite met but we were not far off. Nappies had been wet quite regularly up to this point, but not to their normal extent. We had been advised to keep a check on nappies in case Baby was getting dehydrated. By the end of the second day a lack of wee was my main concern, and this was heightened by an only very slightly wet nappy on the third morning. This third morning brought other concerns as Baby started with a cold. It seemed that the tube would have to go back. I resolved to make a decision at lunch time. Rather than waiting to offer Baby a drink at a set time I had a cup within reach whilst she played during the morning. Amazingly, she crawled over and sipped from the cup many times during the morning, drinking a total of 80mls. So I held off on the tube going back.
Over the weekend Baby's cold developed with us having to call the Rapid Response physiotherapist for advice and then a visit. This was a service we had only just been signed up for, and it is fantastic. The aim is to keep Baby out of hospital, and to manage respiratory problems at home. We ended up having one night in hospital as a precaution, and it was very nerve-wracking at home listening for 'wheezes' and 'rattles' in her chest and wondering if she was getting better or worse, but I am more confident now. Anyway, despite the cold Baby continued to eat well and drink well provided a drink was always available for multiple tiny sips.
After 5 days, with the tube out and as a result of the illness, Baby CrazyEgg had lost 300g. She is tiny anyway and this was a noticeable weight loss with her ribs beginning to be clearly visible. As you can imagine, we were concerned and discussed this with the dietitian. We had kept a food diary which the dietitian analysed and on the basis of this advised us to continue. The weight loss was within the expected parameter. So we continued, and with the cold ebbing away and her appetite increasing Baby CrazyEgg has shown herself to have a very healthy love of food, still puree, but real food nonetheless: porridge, fruit, casserole, Sunday roasts, chocolate pudding and even some dairy foods have gone down well with no adverse reaction!
The next weighing is Thursday, but it is apparent from looking at her that she has put on weight. Her ribs are no longer so obvious, her thighs are chunkier, her cheeks chubbier. AND she has a few more teeth with which to chew. Yum! Yum!
Thank you again for all your support!
my second son was 10lb10oz and had a serious appetite! i breastfed for 6 weeks until i could no longer keep up with the 2 hourly feeds, i then switched to formula for hungrier babies which kept him happy for another 6-7 weeks. at about 3 1/2 months i introduced baby rice which was soon followed by baby porridge. i was very worried about introducing this at such an early stage but i know he was ready for it. with both children, i started to make my own babyfoods with a babyblender at about 5 months and they loved it! i was happy as i knew exactly what they were eating too! i introduced lots of new tastes and textures over the next 12 months and i believe this has contributed to them being good eaters and not fussy eaters which makes mealtimes nice and easy!
I had my son 10 months ago.and found he was a very hungry baby.i was feeding him rusk at 3 months old.as he grew so did his apatite.I found my self at the local supermarket,browsing thought the baby food section.It was here i can to Organix.So i brought some as i liked the fact nothing was treated of nothing were added,it was "real food" in a jar.As he grew older still,the jars became bigger and was this i notice so did the prices.As my son liked all the flavors and things i decided,as this was expensive i would start to make my own.so instead of buying the jars i looked at the ingredients and websites of the jars and took the recipes.I now make all my own baby food,I started when he was still having a puree and just blended it,slowly slowly i was doing this less and less so he would get use to the bits.then realizing also making his food would take time,all the special recipes and ingredients,I would make my tea and my partners tea and with each meal make extra for him,so i was not going out of my way to do him something different and time consuming.all of his meals were potted in tubs and frozen in meal sizes for him.so each day there is something different,the meal us adults had the night before.
Also i have found now that my son is older.splitting the food into sections on his high chair is great as rather than all the flavors together he experiences them individually.
Who would believe that weaning would be such an emotive topic, who would think that otherwise sane individuals would be rant over such a mundane subject as when and how to start a baby on the long road to joining us in our mealtimes? The weaning world seems to be very polarised, and guidelines change almost as soon as you get the spoon to your baby's mouth. So it's no wonder that there is so much confusion when it comes to making the transition from milk to roast dinners. Now, I'm not a professional and I don't claim to have the perfect weaning technique. But I am a parent who has successfully weaned not one, not two but five children over the last twenty years, with my youngest just about to have completed the process as he comes up to a year and eats exactly the same foods as his parents.
==First There Was Milk==
Milk is the only food your baby will need for the first few months of his life, and while breast is undoubtedly best, your baby will come to no harm if you feed them formula. Breast (or formula) milk will provide your baby with all the nutrients their body needs in the most easily digested form for the first six months of their life. It's only after they reach six months that your baby's stores of iron will start to deplete and they will need to be introduced to solid food. When your baby is born his tummy will produce enzymes that allow him to get the maximum nutrition from milk, and he won't be able to digest other more solid foods (in fact introducing solid foods may actually stop these enzymes from being produced). Then sometime between 17 and 26 weeks (a little earlier with some babies) your baby's gut will start to mature, meaning that they are able to digest foods other than milk. The trouble is not only does this change vary from baby to baby, but there's no way of knowing that the change has happened. That's why current guidelines state that if possible you should hold off weaning your child until he is six months of age and should definitely not wean before 17 weeks unless advised by a medical professional.
So how do you know your child is ready for something a little more substantial? Well there's really no hard and fast rules as to knowing your child wants food, but there are a few clues you can look for. One possible clue is that baby starts waking in the night when they had previously slept through. But there are other explanations that you will need to rule out before deciding that waking at night means baby needs food. Firstly are they teething, teething can completely disrupt even the best sleeper, and believe me it can and does start as early as a few weeks. The next cause to rule out is a growth spurt, many babies go through a growth spurt at three to four months old and will begin to once more wake in the night. It's easy to confuse this growth spurt with baby needing solid food so don't rush for the baby rice. Instead try increasing the frequency (or amount) of feeds for a week or so and see if that settles baby. If this doesn't work then yes it is possible that baby needs to start on solids.
Another possible sign that baby is ready for solids is when they begin to take an interest in food. The trouble with taking this sign as gospel is that most babies start to take far more interest in the world around them at three to four months and this could be the reason why your toast suddenly becomes so fascinating. Yet another sign would be baby chewing on his fists, but again this could have another cause, namely teething once more. So you can see there are really no hard and fast rules as to when baby shows he's ready for food, you really do have to trust your instincts and ask advice if you're not sure.
As I said, I've weaned five children and with each of them the signs have been different, it's really a case of knowing your child and then trying as many different things as possible before turning to solids. With one of my older children, it was the fact he was drinking 9oz of hungry baby milk every two hours that gave it away. This was during the time when it was recommended that you weaned your baby at three months, but after seeking advice it was recommended to wean him at about ten weeks. With my youngest the guidelines had changed, but the signs were all there at three months, but we tried everything to hold him off, including increasing his feeds. However as he has reflux, we could no longer increase his feeds so we started the weaning process just before four months (on the advice of a doctor).
How the weaning process works depends on how young your baby is when you begin the process and whether you follow traditional methods or baby led weaning. Having only used the traditional methods, I'm now going to focus on them.
==And Then There Was Mush==
If you decide to start the weaning process with a baby under six months, then their first experiences of food will be of very smooth, runny purees that can make lots of mess. So it's a good idea to be prepared before you get a spoon anywhere near baby's mouth. Although there is a lot of specialised equipment available, I really wouldn't recommend adding any of them to your shopping list. What I would recommend you buying is :
Bibs - You will need lots of these, and as most starter foods (even homemade) seem to be orange, it's best to buy coloured bibs rather than plain white.
Spoons - First spoons should be made from a soft material, with shallow bowls and narrow tips. Remember baby only has a small mouth and the spoon needs to fit in (eventually). I really can't recommend the Tommee Tippee weaning spoons enough, they are perfect for first tastes.
Bowl - Although you could just use one of your normal bowls, I personally feel it's a good idea to get baby used to his own bowl right from the start. Choose a plastic bowl that baby will still be able to use when they are old enough to feed themselves.
Steamer - Not an expensive electric one, but one that fits on top of a saucepan. This will allow you to cook vegetables (and chicken/fish) in a way that keeps in the maximum of goodness.
Blender - Again not an expensive one, but a cheap supermarket hand blender will do the job. I've got one from Sainsburys that cost under £5 and it perfectly blended food ready to be passed through a sieve.
Sieve - For the very youngest babies a blender won't actually get the food smooth enough to prevent them gagging, so a metal sieve is perfect to ensure that there are no lumps.
Ice cube tray + Storage Containers - Forget fancy baby food storage containers, invest in some ice cube trays and Tupperware style containers. Each ice cube is perfect for one serving at the beginning of weaning and then you can mix and match different foods later. Once the food is frozen you can store it in the containers in the freezer.
A Beaker - Weaning doesn't just involve food, it also involves helping your baby learn to drink from a beaker. You won't be using this to begin with but as baby start to eat more food you will also want to introduce a drink at mealtimes and move your baby away from the bottle. It may take a lot of trial and error to find the right beaker for you and your child, but as a rule of thumb you want to avoid the beakers that they to bite down on.
Somewhere for baby to sit - If baby is unable to sit unaided then a bouncy chair is ideal as long as it doesn't lay back to far. Other choices include Bumbos, but do be careful with these as some babies learn how to push themselves out. In a squeeze you could use a buggy if it has a multi-position backrest or even a car seat. Once baby can sit unaided then a highchair or booster seat is by far the best option.
A Splash Mat - Again this isn't required in the first stages, but once baby starts feeding themselves then you will want something to protect the floor from dropped food.
Ok so you think baby is ready and you have all your equipment ready what's next? Well first things first, chose a time of day when neither you or baby is too tired, it's far easier to begin the weaning process if baby is alert. Next if your baby is under six months then sterilise the spoon and bowl. Now it's time to begin the big adventure. Many parents start the weaning process with baby rice, but you could go straight to purees. If using purees then steam the vegetables (or fruit) until soft and then blend to a smooth consistency, but do not add either salt or sugar. Good first tastes include carrot, sweet potato, butternut squash and swede, these are all naturally sweet and easy to blend. If you are using baby rice you can mix it with either cooled boiled water or your baby's usual milk. In either case with first tastes you're looking for a very runny consistency that's just slightly thicker than milk.
Once the food is prepared give baby a little of his usual bottle, enough so that he's not starving but not so much as he is full and then it's time to get messy. For the first few days baby won't want a lot a food at a time, little more than a taste really. Don't overload the spoon, just put a tiny bit on the tip and then place the tip of the spoon on baby's bottom lip. Now every baby reacts differently to this first taste and remember baby has to learn to take food off the spoon. Some babies are naturals and immediately realise that they need to use their tongues to transfer the food to their mouths, others take longer. Some babies will gag, others will spit it out, so don't be worried that your baby isn't a natural. It's at this point that many parents discover that their baby wasn't as ready for solids as they thought. So if your baby isn't happy with being fed then put the weaning equipment away for the time being and try again in a few days. What I will say is never make mealtimes a battle, both you and baby should be relaxed. Oh, and I don't like the idea of games at mealtimes either, I've never understood why parents play aeroplane games when their child first starts eating and then goes on to tell their child it's wrong to play at the table. Start as you mean to go on, make feeding time a relaxed time for eating.
Once baby has got used to first tastes, you can start adding more and more foods to their diet. Just don't try adding them too fast or too many at a time. I've always gone by the four day rule, which involves only adding a new food every four days and then making sure that the child doesn't have a reaction to that food. Although you can add many different foods at this stage (and I'm a firm believer that the more varied a diet you introduce a baby to the less fussy an eater they are later in life), there are some foods you should avoid. Wheat and other gluten based products should not be given to children under six months, this includes bread, cakes, most biscuits and rusks. You also should not add salt or sugar to any of your baby's food either during cooking or after. Honey should be avoided until after the age of one as should nuts. Citrus fruits should also be avoided before the age of six months. Before six months of age any food cooked with milk should use your baby's usual milk, although after six months you can use full fat milk for cooking and breakfast cereal.
No matter what, this first stage of weaning is all about new tastes and learning to eat solid foods. Your baby should still be getting the vast majority of their nutrition from milk, so if your baby starts cutting out bottles then you should cut back on the solids. Oh and I'm sure I really don't need to point this out but you should never add food such as rice to your babies bottle as this causes a serious choking hazard.
==Lumps And Beyond==
Once baby is eating a good variety of different foods, it's time to start introducing more texture into their food. As with everything else what age baby is ready for lumpy and finger food depends on so many different factors that I really couldn't give you an actual timescale. My youngest started eating mashed bananas at five months, but many baby's aren't ready until seven months.
If you've held off weaning until six months then you'll most probably have missed out the sloppy stage and will be starting at this point. Once baby can sit in a highchair then you'll want to start encouraging them to eat lumpier and then chopped food. I began this stage by simply mashing rather than pureeing foods. Be prepared for some gagging at this stage, this is a natural reflex and not at all dangerous. Of course you should always supervise your baby while eating, but the chances of them actually choking is very slim. This is also the time to start introducing finger foods, pieces of banana and lightly cooked carrot sticks were popular choices with my youngest. Rice cakes are also brilliant, they start with a crunchy texture but quickly turn to mush in baby's mouth. Just don't buy expensive baby versions, I buy salt and sugar free adult rice cakes from the co-op, half the price of the baby versions and my little one loves them.
Once baby is over six months you can gradually add more and more different foods to their diet and increase the size of the lumps until they are eating the same as you. After six months I would suggest forgetting the baby cereal and moving them onto Ready Brek, Weetabix or even homemade porridge. You can also start to add in other wheat based products such as bread. Plain breadsticks make another great finger food at this stage, although you will need to watch your child. Well cooked egg can also be introduced after six months of age, but do ensure that it is cooked through, scrambled egg is a favourite in this house.
It's during this stage that your baby really learns to chew and begins to get more nutrition from their food than their milk. But did you know that if you delay giving your baby lumpy food you are also possibly contributing to their speech being delayed? That's right, chewing food actually helps your child learn to talk, as the same muscles are needed. So even if it's a struggle getting your child to accept lumps, it's an important stage in their development. You should also be ensuring that your baby has plenty of milk, aiming for a minimum of one pint a day. With one of my children this was a real struggle, so it's good to know that there are other foods that count towards this pint. Cheese, obviously counts towards this as does yoghurt, and if you're really struggling you can cook a milky pudding.
In an age when we have healthy eating rammed down our throats it's easy to think that we should be stuffing our children full of fruit and vegetables to the detriment of other foods. But young children and babies need balanced diets that include fat, protein, carbohydrates fruit and vegetables. Don't be tempted to give your baby low fat versions of dairy products, because they need that fat. In fact your child will need at least one pint (or equivalent) of full fat milk a day until they are two, when you can change to semi-skimmed. We are also bombarded with adverts for follow on and growing up milk. In my opinion, these are totally unnecessary, it is perfectly possible to give your child a balanced diet without resorting to these formulas. By giving your child red meat, pulses (lentils, dried peas) and leafy green vegetables they are getting more than enough iron. If you really are worried about how much your child eats then you can buy vitamin drops from baby clinic at a heavily reduced price (or free if on certain benefits).
==Family Meals And Beyond==
The ultimate goal when weaning is to include your child in family mealtimes. My little man is almost one and now eats whatever we do, simply chopped into bite sized pieces. Of course this does mean that we've made a few adjustments to how we cook, we no longer add salt while cooking, instead we use more herbs and spices to add flavour. (OK I sneakily add salt to my food after it's served). By encouraging the little man to try a variety of home cooked foods from the very start we've now got a little boy who happily tries any new food and eats a healthy balanced diet. We also have a little boy who would much rather eat a piece of fruit or rice cake than chocolate, although I'm not sure how long that will last once he starts school.
Oh and because we also felt that an important part of weaning was not only eating at home but also eating out, we also take little man to restaurants with us and because he is used to 'real' food we do not need to take jars with us. We simply give him some of the food from our own plates and cut it up for him, so much cheaper and easier. That's not to say that we've never given him jars of food, because we have on occasion while out and about, it's just he far prefers proper food and has from day one. Not that I blame him, have you tasted the jars? They're bland, watery and in a word disgusting.
==When Things Go Wrong==
Now I realise that in a way we've been lucky while weaning, I have successfully weaned five children using the same method, and all of those children ate varied and healthy diets from a very young age. That's not to say that weaning ran smoothly all the time, of course there were times when they refused to eat. The trick is not to get stressed, if your child won't eat then don't push it, simply take the offered food away. Also don't expect your child to like a food the first time it's offered, it can take many, many times for a child to accept a new food. Another thing to expect is for your child to suddenly refuse a food that they had previously enjoyed, this is nothing unusual, just as their fine motor skills develop so do their taste buds. If you really are struggling to get your child to eat then keep a food diary for a couple of days where you record everything they eat and drink and then speak to your health visitor or GP. It maybe something as simple as they are having too much milk or juice.
If you've managed to read this far, then thank you for allowing me to share my experiences and weaning tips. Hopefully you've found something helpful, but remember, every child is different and what has worked for me and my children may not work for you. Also please remember that I am not a medical professional and medical advice changes regularly, so if you are planning to start weaning your baby then please speak to your health visitor or GP before you begin.
I am a first time mummy, but I don't want that to cloud your judgement of me. Many will think I am inexperienced and "don't know what I am talking about", but I have been a big part in the upbringing of 9 nieces and nephews since I was 7 years old, so I have pretty much seen and heard it all. I have seen the baby weaning advice change, change and change again. And once again, the advice is changing, and I think all that really tells us is that even the professionals don't know what is best...so just do what YOU think is right. This is the most important advice I can give you. Only YOU know your baby, advice may say 6 months (or 24 weeks) but your baby may have been 2 weeks late...or they could have been 3 months early...so does that mean that a baby at 6 months old who was born 3 months early and now weighs 10lb is fine to eat whilst a 3 month old 15lb baby born 2 weeks late is NOT ok to eat...I think not...so in this case, it really is down to the parents, and I really think you should use your instinct here.
First off, let me tell you about the professional advice on baby weaning:
You should stick to breastmilk or formula for the first 6 months of a babies life and you should start weaning no earlier than 4 months (or 17 weeks), and definitely not if the baby cannot hold their own head without support.
A good indication your baby is starting to want solids is when they are waking in the night when they have previously slept through (but you shouldn't feed solids just because the baby wakes in the night to get them to sleep through), they take an interest in the food on your plate.
Now on for my own advice:
The thing which annoys me about the professional advice is they do not give you an age that you should definitely have started weaning by, I have known babies of 8/9/10 all the way up to 12 months who are not weaned yet, because the parents think they have to wait and wait and wait.
Actually the advice is in the process of changing once again to a lower age than 6 months as it has been proven that babies who are weaned at 6 months or later are more likely to be at risk of speech impediments, and may be "fussier" eaters. But when this is going to be enforced by Health Visitors, I do not know...I think they are currently doing more research into it!
I weaned my daughter at just 4 weeks. I hear that sharp intake of breath you take...! My daughter was 2 weeks late and she was born holding up her own head and trying to stand up. She was always much more advanced than any of the babies her age. By 3 months she was sitting with support, and at 4 months she was sitting without support. And at 4 weeks she was telling me in her own baby way that she was ready for solids. She was holding up her own head, she was taking an interest in my food, she was grabbing out for it, and she was hungry ALL the time. I had tried giving her more milk, I had tried the hungrier baby milk and nothing was helping. So I gave her a tiny amount of baby rice, I gave her maybe 3 baby spoons of baby rice she she wolfed it, and cried when it had all gone. At around 8 weeks old, she seemed disinterested in food again, so she came off the baby rice for a couple of weeks, and we took it back up at 3 months, when she started having 3 meals a day within a week of weaning.
She is now having 3 meals a day and 1 pint of baby milk (she is 6 months old now), at this stage she should be just starting on baby food, but infact she is on "stage 2" baby food, which has bits in it, and will eat absolutely anything, she isn't fussy at all, mushrooms, peppers, fish, meat, pasta, beans, cheese, absolutely anything she will eat which is great, and it makes it super easy to feed her! She even has little sandwiches and "picnics" some days as she also has finger food (which helps with their coordination).
My advice for starting weaning, is to do it when you feel ready, but don't do it too early if you baby isn't ready. I know a baby who is 5 months old, and she isn't weaning yet, but she is very small, doesn't hold her head properly etc, and she simply isn't ready for food. There is in my own opinion no set "age" you can tell someone to wean a baby, for the reasons I outlined before, and I am not here to tell you to wean you baby as early as possible, I am telling you not to be worried about weaning earlier than the recommended 6 months if YOU feel your baby is ready.
Start off with a small amount, remember a babies stomach is very small and is only used to milk, you don't want to give too much and make the baby constipated. Give them a small amount of baby rice, this in my opinion is the best thing to start weaning with, it is smooth, and has a very bland taste, nothing too overwhelming to get your baby used to solids- spoon 1-2 baby spoons of baby rice into a bowl and add an oz of water, mix until you have a smooth paste- it shouldn't be too firm. Sit the baby in a chair suitable for their age- and feed them slowly, they may be a bit dubious at first. The way a baby eats is using their tongue, and so it may appear that the baby is spitting the food back out, but its unlikely this is the case, so just bear with them, they'll probably make a mess and it might take a while, they might not actually eat much of it, but persevere with it, they will soon get used to using a spoon and eating the food. Try the baby rice for a couple of days, in the morning is best as this tends to be when a baby is happiest, but again you know your own baby...so you decide what time of day your baby is happier and feed them at that time each day.
When they are used to the baby rice, you can start giving them other foods, like pureed fruit and vegetables, you can buy the jars or make your own...each new food may take a couple of "tries" to get used to it, you may be lucky and your baby will eat anything first time round, but sometimes it can take a few attempts, again don't be disheartened, they are starting to get more used to the foods, just give them time. After a week or two, you may want to up their meals from 1 a day to 2, and then 3, again remembering they are only small, so don't give them too much food!
Your baby may become slightly constipated, and remember their poo WILL change, now they are no longer on milk alone, their poo will be more "normal" looking, and smelling! So don't be concerned when it changes colour, and texture! Of course if they have constipation for more than a day or two after starting them on solids, it may indicate you are feeding them too much solid food before they are ready for it- if you want to continue with solids, try adding boiled water to their foods to water them down a little...or try them with a bottle of cooled boiled water through the day- solids actually helped my little girls bowels, before we started the solids, she had terrible constipation, but once she started on solids it cleared up right away, why I do not know, maybe coincidence!
Once your baby has been on "stage 1" foods (pureed) for a few weeks, you can start to introduce more lumps- I wouldn't recommend this until the baby is sitting at least aided and is really established on 3 meals a day. Never give them foods which can choke them, the jars of stage 2 baby food are a good indicator of how big your bits should be, and this makes it easier to make meals yourself for your child.
From 6 months there are no restrictions on what your baby can eat, apart from honey, salt and sugar. So feeding your baby gets to be very easy as they can literally have what you are having mashed!
Once your baby reaches 6 months and is fully established on solids, their milk intake reduces from around 35oz a day to 22oz or 600ml, this is around 3 bottles a day at 8oz each. But your baby tends to do this themselves when they are ready to reduce their milk intake- they will stop drinking as much, once they have reduced their intake for a week or so, adjust your bottles accordingly, it helps to get into a feeding routine, so they are having a bottle and a feed at roughly the same time each day. It makes it much easier to plan days out for you, and means your baby is used to having their meals at that time.
Weaning is a pretty easy thing when you have advice- but sometimes I think the Health Visitor advice can be a little misleading. I think some health visitors want to make you wait until your baby is 10 months old before weaning, whilst others use their common sense, and if they see the baby is the size of a 6 month old, and at the development stage of a 6 month old then there is no problem with weaning them early. As I said earlier on, use your common sense, if your baby is tiny, not holding their head up and is content with just milk, then keep it that way, no need to force solids onto a baby who isn't ready for it. But if your baby is starting to get interested in food, maybe not so interested in milk, stopped sleeping through the night...then it may indicate they are ready for solids.
I am not a health professional, and my experience comes from simply being a mummy and a member of a large family. I have taken the advice on weaning from the health books and leaflets I have been given at various points over my pregnancy and the 6 months of my daughters life, and i truly believe that they need to re evaulate their advice, and retrain the health visitors in the weaning advice, as I think many of them are confused themselves about what the advice actually is. Many say 6 months and no earlier, whilst others say 4 months and no earlier, but my own GP told me at my daughters 8 week check that she should be starting on solids due to her size and development speed!!!
Upon reading the comments on this review, I felt i needed to add a little more...I do NOT and I sincerely mean that, advocate weaning from a young age, I think that it should only be done under the advice of a health professional, I did not do this, and in retrospect, I should have done- but my worries were that I would be reprimanded by them and told not to be stupid...when in fact my own GP said my daughter should be on solids from 8 weeks at her check anyway. So I do think you are planning on weaning from before 3 months, that you should ask your GP or health visitor...they will take into consideration your babies weight, and development...if you get a sensible health visitor, then they will give you the correct advice...and you can always get second thirrd and even forth opinions from your GP and other health professionals.
Also, somebody mentions about nuts, please remember the advice on giving a child nuts before 12 months is still very contradictory, one group says no another says you should...basically they do not have the slightest idea. Always make sure your babies food is COOKED THOUROUGHLY, no matter what their age, whether it be 3 months or 9 months, eggs and meat should never be rare (or runny in the case of eggs!), but there are NO restrictions (and this is from a Health Visitor!!!) from 6 months other than honey, salt and sugar.
I am not the law, nor am I a health professional, I am a young mum (well I say young, I'm 22 so not a "young mum") who doens't believe that every single piece of advice is correct...if I followed all the "advice" I have ever been given, I wouldn't be me now would I? But I would be an idealised version of what the Government want us to be...I believe in doing as you think is best. I do think that on the most part, babies won't be ready for weaning before 3 months, not for anything more than baby rice anyway as this is just a step up from milk when prepared correctly...and many babies won't be ready until 4,5, or 6 months. But as I have said, I am trying to get across that not ALL babies will be the same, some will want food earlier than 6 months, and my review is trying to give advice about that! But it seems that dooyoo in the 6 months I have been away from here, has not changed much and you are not allowed to go against the grain in any way shape or form...! My basic advice on that is, if you don't like what I say, then don't listen...write you own review and contradict what I say if you like...give readers an alternative view...but this is afterall an OPINION site, and this is my opinion on weaning.
I do not in anyway tell anybody to wean their children at 4 weeks, I simply say that is what I did...I am not the Pide Piper...I do not ask you to follow me on this, but the rest of my advice is just that, do with it as you please, follow it, follow parts of it, or dimiss it completely and ask your health visitor- it is YOUR CHOICE, and thats what I am trying to say in this review. Clearly that crown I got the other day upset the long timers though...and so they had to put a spanner in the works as per.
When my little boy was about five months old i decided to wean him. Well in came the flood of anxiety, what do i feed him? When do i feed him? Will he choke? All these questions where playing over and over in my mind.
I decided the best way to feed my son would be to make my own baby foods, i wanted my son to receive a wide variety of tastes and the jars just don't do that. Is it just me or do all jars of baby food have a staple ingredient of potato as a filler? Anyway, i didn't want to go down the route of paying 50-90p per jar, for basically a jar of mush and flavoring. I know they all say they only contain natural ingredients, but look at the list of ingredients next time you're at the supermarket- definitely some dodgy ones on there!
PREPARATION & COOKING
Before i started any cooking i needed some good quality tubs to store batch cooked food in, aswell as a blender to puree the food down with. You can mash the food but a blender will give a much smoother consistency. I originally bought a mini blender especially designed for baby food- but it just didn't blend the food to a fine consistency. So i aught a basic hand blender, which worked wonderfully. The tubs i aught from the Poundshop, a pack of ten little tubs for one pound- perfect. Amazon also do some superb little trays specifically for storing baby food in, however i didn't know this at the time.
All utensils and containers should be thoroughly washed and dried before use. The best way to cook fruit and veg is to steam it, this way you are locking in all the nutrients rather then boiling them away.
Foods ideal to puree as first tastes are:
* Sweet potato
* White potato
* Banana (if eaten instantly and no need to cook)
* Butternut squash
The cooking time for all foods varies, but you will generally know when they are cooked as they will be soft and mash easy to puree. Once pureed, leave to cool and spoon into each individual container. You will find at first your baby will eat a few spoonfuls at the most, so a little goes a long way. Deep Freeze for meals that will last months, or refrigerate for a few days (excluding the banana which turns brown if left for too long).
*Use water, or breast/formula milk to make the meals a runnier consistency.
* Use ice cube trays for the first few weeks of weaning, they are small enough to fit a few spoons fulls of food in each and can be frozen and popped out of each compartment as and when needed.
* Shop at stores such as ASDA and look for reductions, buy good quality foods but cook and freeze them so they last- all at a fraction of the price!
* Add baby rice to thicken up foods such as apple or pear.
*Batch cooking is the way forward, i spent two hours once a month batch cooking a full months worth of meals.
* Don't be frightened to give your child new foods, they may reject a new taste upto ten times before the find it palatable.
I hope in reading this that i have given you some good ideas and the basic knowledge to prepare your own baby food from scratch. I do believe its cheapest and most nutritious way to feed a child, if you have any question feel free to message me.
Thankyou for reading my review
The reason I have chosen to write this piece is because I have weaned two little girls (my own) who have both ended up with very different eating habits, and I do actually think this is due to the differences in the way I introduced food to them, and how my attitude to mealtimes has changed over the last couple of years. So I hope I can offer some advice on how *not* to end up with a fussy eater.
When I started weaning my eldest daughter, she was about 5 months old, and I read up on everything, I bought two Annabel Karmel books (not recommended) and fed her homemade food and only fresh fruit and vegetables for snacks. She never had a pre-prepared jar or any sort of junk food, and I really thought I was doing the best for her. I created her special little meals to have separately from my husband and I, and she really didn't get a taste of what we were eating until she was about 10 or 11 months.
And unfortunately by this time she had already started to pick and choose what she did and didn't like and so a lot of the foods my husband and I were eating, she would point blank refuse to eat. But at this time I wasn't worried because she was eating plenty of fruit as snacks, and she usually had a piece of fruit for pudding, so she was eating a good healthy diet. Or so I thought.
As time progressed, she became more and more choosey about what she would or wouldn't eat, and me being naive would offer her something else, or pile her up with fruit for pudding. She was eating enough food to fill her up, but she was more in control of what she was eating than I was. I didn't realise that by not giving her the same as what we as adults were eating, I was not allowing her to develop her palette properly, and she was stuck eating only a few set meals each week.
There were things that I could guarantee she would eat, so I would serve these up for an easy life, at the same time as making sure she had healthy snacks. Now I was quite confident that she was being nutritionally satisfied, and I still believe that was getting everything she required. But what she wasn't getting was the ability to enjoy a wide variety of foods.
And now at age 3 she still refuses to eat certain foods and mealtimes can sometimes be quite difficult, but since weaning my second daughter, my attitude has changed towards food, and she is now learning that she doesn't get anything else apart from what is on her plate.
So with my second daughter, I was much more relaxed and left the weaning until she was 6 months, so I could basically start giving her normal food straight away. Second time around I did not have the time or energy to waste on creating special little meals for her, and I also wasn't as stressed about what I was giving my child.
I didn't puree endless amounts of fruit and vegetables (I didn't have to because she could eat lumps anyway), and I also allowed her to have some jarred food. This was usually for when we were out and about and it was just more convenient. What I did for mealtimes at home was just offer her a tiny portion of whatever we were having, be it sandwiches, pasta, rice, roast dinner...There was nothing that I couldn't give her, I just used to chop it all up into small bits and let her pick and choose from the plate, she would just use her fingers to feed herself and mealtimes were very relaxed.
And because the weaning was a gradual process and she was still drinking plenty of milk, I was not getting stressed about how much or how little she was eating because she was still getting the nourishment she needed from the milk. As she grew and eventually moved onto 3 meals a day, she had sampled a wide variety of food, and she would always try something on her plate. Sometimes he would come across something that she didn't like which is fair enough, everyone has their dislikes, but generally she is a very good eater.
The result of all this is that these days, my children are very different from each other with their eating habits. The three year old is extremely picky with what she eats, and she has got herself stuck into (or should I say *I* have got her stuck into) a bit of a rut and won't even try certain foods because I'd stopped offering her them when she refused them when she was a baby. Whereas my 18 month old will eat a good variety of foods and is generally not picky.
But the difference now is that I have become a lot stricter at mealtimes. I serve up a meal and if they don't eat it, they don't get anything else. No pudding either. This usually spurs them on to eat at least some of what is on their plates, and sometimes a bit of bargaining is to be had with the 3 year old to get her to eat a decent portion. Both children are treated the same. I also cut down on afternoon snacks; so they have a decent appetite at tea time.
What I do make sure of is that if there has been a couple of meals that have not gone down so well I will provide something the next day that I am sure they will both eat so I know that they are getting the food they need to grow. This is all in aid of the 3 year old, because the 18 month old generally eats good portions. And I am hoping that as my eldest one grows up she will gradually learn to eat a wider variety of foods.
So my advice to anyone embarking on the weaning process is as follows:
- Leave weaning as late as possible; the later the better, 6 months is the current recommended age.
- Don't fart about making your own meals and pureeing endless amounts of fruit and vegetables unless you want to torture yourself and overfill your freezer.
- Don't listen to Annabel Karmel, she send you nuts and create more work for you!
- Offer your child small portions of 'normal' food, try bland things first, and just break it up into small pieces, and see how they react to it.
- Take it slowly; there is no rush to wean your child.
- Don't fret about giving your child jarred food, it will not harm them.
- If they reject a certain food, don't cast it aside for good; just try it again at a later date.
- Most important of all, enjoy it. Weaning is a very special time as your child learns how to eat and enjoy food, and if you are stressed or force feeding, then you will miss out on this important time in your child's life.
This is just my experience but I hope it helps someone out there.
Thanks for reading.
I am no expert on baby or any food come to that but this is about baby food hints and tips.
I am a mum so have fed my children since they have been babies, it was different both times for different reasons. When my eldest was little the time for weaning was about 4 months now they say 6 months, years ago it was 3 months and when I was a baby it was probably about 8 weeks as they certainly starting weaning as soon as they could.
I started weaning both mine before the recommended age but the world health organisation recommend 6 months because they worry that the baby won't get enough nutrients and being fed solids too early can lead to obesity! I am not obese, my children are not obese you get obese by eating too much and not moving about enough. There is also a worry that a babys digestive system is not mature enough. If the family hava a history of allergies then they should talk to their doctor or health profession about the right time for weaning.
I started my eldest with a teaspoon of baby rice - I didn't plan to I just had it in my cupboard and felt the time was right. I went really slowly just kept to the one teaspoon in the morning and then one at night as well. I increased it from there. You have to take it slowly as they are only used to having milk whether formula or breast.
I then went on to the powdered baby cereal so I could mix it with the formula, my daughter then wanted less milk (before weaning she was a colicky baby and used to projectile vomit this reduced upon weaning). She soon stopped wanting milk so I spoke to the health visitor who advised vitamins and fomage frais for the calcium. By five months I was lucky if my daughter drank 4 oz of baby milk. So I gave her the yoghurts after a meal and got baby vitamins.
So she was now on breakfast, dinner and tea and I fed her mainly powdered food so that I could mix it with the milk (I was a bit paranoid as I knew she needed the calcium and other nutrients) and some jars.
Occaisionally I liquidised a load of veg and froze it but it seemed to take forever plus the electricity I was using it didn't seem much cheaper as the baby food was on offer a lot of the time. As the months went by I introduced more finger foods and by 9 - 12 months she was eating some jars and some things what we ate but if your child is eating adult stuff don't ever salt it and if its bought in a tin or something always check the sodium content 0.1 (sodium is just ok at a young age). Once she was 1 I never bought baby food but always was very careful about the salt content.
I am a firm believer that you should give your child as many foods as possible before the age of 2 that way they won't be mega fussy.
My daughter sat with us at the table as often as possible as soon as she could eat finger food eg cooked veg etc we never overfaced her and just put two things on her plate at a time.
The outcome is she will eat almost anything and we have a rule in our house if you don't like something the first time you try it you have to try it at a later date to check if you still don't like it - ok.
My youngest daughter also stopped wanting her milk as soon as she started weaning this time I was a bit more laid back vitamins and yoghurt and cauli (cauli has a lot of calcium in).
I was off work for longer and started liquidising veg for her (the liquidiser was a lot better)and when I did try her on a jar she wouldn't eat it. Apparently if you start blending your own food you should start with one veg at a time so the child gets to know a taste and you get to know what they like. I never did this the least I did together was two but often I did a lot of different stuff in one mix. I found a bag of frozen mixed veg for about £1 did between 9 and 12 meals which is so much cheaper than the baby food but you have to have the time to do it and the containers.
Again as my youngest got older she sat at the table and ate what we ate most of the time hoping for no fussiness etc.
So do i have two good eaters or not who is the better eater the jars or the home cooked food, I have to say my eldest is 10 the youngest 2 so they will eat different at the moment but I feel the youngest is a bit fussier than the eldest was and she wants to eat snacks rather than proper meals sometimes.
So as long as the food is aproppriate for the age and they are getting all the right vitamins it doesn't rally matter so don't feel guilty if super mum is making all her own food and you are feeding your baby jars just give variety and get them on real food as soon as they are over one as there is no need to waste your money on baby jars for 12 months plus they will love stuff they can hold so cook carrot batons and baby sweet corn to get them into their veg.
I don't believe in hiding veg for children so get it on their plate from an early age if they don't eat it then remove their plate try a different one next time and retry any they don't like at regular intervals.
The government go on about obesity but it doesn't have to happen just because babies are fed earlier than 6 months. I am not going to go into my thoughts on that because it's not for this review.
All mums chill and don't feel guilty for not making your own food for babies at a young age but as they get past one give them good food and healthy snacks. They don't know what's healthy and what's not and raisons are good as they have quite a bit of natural sugars so are sweet as well.
Do what's rights for you and don't get hung up on what you think you should do.
I used to have my god daughter rather alot when she was younger and i used to open these jars full of jellied food that can sit on the shelves for 4years unrefrigerated and the thought of eating myself made me want to heave i was disgusted that this jellied blob of what they call food could pass food regulations!
I understand there are lots of busy mummys out there and when your out and about it may be easier to take a jar out but it had no flavour and not much that was good about it --full of preservatives and water!!
And then along came my little bundle of joy Laila Summer and i promised myself i wouldnt feed her the junk off the shelves i was going to make it from scratch and i did!! (im very proud of mysef for doing so!! lol)
I went into whsmiths to find an annabelle karmal book (price was 12.99) which was a complete guide from 4 mnths upto the age of 3 yrs plus and its amazing from telling you wether they can be frozen to what the vegetable has in it etc and of course recipes which are fantastic i eat them too!!
when i was 1st weaning her i tryed her on butternut squash and carrot and swede and carrot to which i steamed and then used the vegetable juice if needed when pureeing it.
Her favourite was and still is pear and apple
what i did was peel them de core them and put them in halves in the steamer for about 15 minutes this cooked them and brought out there natural sugars in the fruit and then i mashed with a spoon as there is no need to blend its soo soft afterwards i then put it all into pots and freeze these can last upto a month in the freezer and they were great for weaning--babys always love sweet things so this was great to get her used to it!! and you could also add this to some baby rice to sweeten it
mashed banana is also a good one to try them with.
she was born a 4lb 7oz baby so very tiny and i was worried she wouldnt catch up but she certainly has in fact shes alot taller than all her little friends......maybe its dwn to good old food thats fresh and giving her a good healthy start in life!!
NONE OF THESE WERE HARD OR TIME CONSUMING SO THERE IS NO EXCUSE NOT TO GIVE IT A GO!! YOU WILL SEE THE BENEFITS BEFORE YOUR EYES IT WORKS OUT ALOT CHEAPER IN THE LONG RUN!! PLEASE DO FEEL FRE TO ASK ME ANY Q'S I WOULD BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO HELP AND IM ALSO OPEN TO NEW IDEAS!! :)
I have a 2 and half year old child. As a baby he loved eating but now he's too busy playing and gets distracted from eating!
I breastfed him until he was one year old but started his solids at four months. As all new mums i was paranoid of how he would react to diffrent types of food or if he would be allergic to any. So initially i used to give him ground rice from boots. I did add a little sugar to give him some taste- somthing my mother advised me to. I turned out to be fine so i don't hesitate listening to my mum for any suggestions. Whether you follow them or not is left tp you! Anyways, back to my son's food habits- after shop's ground rice, i started making homemade ones. i cook rice almost everyday so started bledning that finely- sometimes with milk (full fat from tescos), lentils (indian dal without spices) or just with some overboiled vegs. All these i started one at a time and he started enjpoying the taste. I am sure babies would love anything (or atleast try) for the first time- something different than breastmilk!
After around 6 months i gave him freshly made starwberry milkshake and he loved them. so i started the same with banana and apples. He didn't like apples much though. For semisolid food- you could try just mashing bananas with hand instead of a blender and just add some yogurt or milk and a little bit of honey. For snacks i gave hime biscuits soaked in milk.
At about 7-8 months i started with some spices in his food- mild spice but since i cook spicy indian food at home i didnt want him to be used to just potatoes and pasta. As i had noticed it with one of my friend's kid she doesnt eat anything otherthan mashed potatoes or plain rice with milk- she can't tolerate spices- not even cardamom. For mashed rice (just overboiled rice mashed with the back of the spoon) i added the very mild curries that i made at home- i used to add yogurt along with the curry just to be sure that it doesn't get too spicy for the baby. He was good at eating- its just different tastes that he likes. He would even grab some finger foods- like biscuits, slices of boiled potato/carrot, or even some soft cheese slices.
Slowly then i started giving him soups with chunks and spices and the started soon serving him his food in his own plate. i would eat with him in my plate with similar food. He loved to see that he has his own plate on his table. I would wait for him to eat as much as he can even if it meant that half his food is on the floor. Only after he leaves his table i would make sure he has eaten enough and if not i would distarct him with some toy or tv show or stand near window and fill his tummy. This habit has made him able to eat food from his own plate very efficiently now- even rice with curry.
I advise that when you try and introduce new foods to babies, do them at a very slow pace- dont give them too many things to try in one day or two. let them taste one new food per day- it's like going to different reastaurants on differnt days- if you go to the same one everyday you are bent to hate it. but give it a break and try it after a while and you will enjoy it again. This is the same with babies. Anyways i didnt have too much trouble feeding my baby and hope you will have a good time with yours too. But make sure everything is fresh and healthy.
Weaning can be one of them things which is either very easy or very difficult. Of course like us babies enjoy different tastes and smells, so getting them to try solid food is difficult enough but you have to try and give them things they enjoy and recognise the signs when they don't enjoy something.
I was told not to start weaning until quite late, but I decided against this as my boys were very hungry babies and I don't think formula milk satisfied them enough. Whether people agreed with my decision or not I don't know but as mothers (parents in general really) we know what our children need and want and I really don't understand how health visitors advise us to go by this 'imaginary book of rules about babies' .. it's beyond - not every child is the same as this imaginary baby in this book we all have to follow.
To be honest the jars of food didn't appeal to me very much at all so I hardly bought them unless they were fruity muesli, porridge or maybe custard, as for the main savoury meals they smelt and looked disgusting so if I disliked them so much and hadn't even tasted them I wasn't prepared to feed them to my boys.
Instead I bought a food mixer, I bought it off ebay it was a Lindam Baby food processor so it was meant for just baby foods. I wanted them to eat healthier than I do I have a habit of just eating crap so when trying to make them meals I wanted to introduce vegetables, and lots of fruit, I will eat it but I'm too lazy half the time to do it for myself.
I would mix everything, they mainly had a meat and veg or a roast dinner (bits of potatoes, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and even the gravy). For dessert I would puree fruit their favourites have been apple and banana, I don't particularly like banana but I wanted to let them try the things I didn't like as just because I don't like them didn't mean they were not going to either.
Firstly I would really mix it until it was literally just a puree - an extremely smooth consistency, gradually as they got older and became comfortable with eating a vareity of flavours off a spoon I would mix it less to introduce lumps into their food. This way they were getting used to textures of different foods. They took to it so easy and now they have anything I have near enough, so it's only now I really try and make interesting breakfasts, dinners and teas as whilst just getting them used to the food flavours and textures I tried to keep to the basics..
Here are a few of my ideas which have been a hit with my boys (not MY ideas actually just ideas I have used). These vary as to what ages you can use them but you as parents know your children but these range from suitable for younger babies to older babies.
Well the only proper 'baby' bought foods I would give them were the boxed breakfasts and porridges. They are of course meant for babies and could be mixed with their own milk.
Farleys Rusks - These were another beginner, they could be mixed with their milk also, and could be smoothed to a really soft, runny consistency or could be made thicker with the odd lump.
Weetabix - Sounds simple enough but I took the tips off their adverts about adding fruits etc with them, this way they were getting their milk which they LOVE, breakfast and their fruit. Yoghurt was another hit with these. This is a food which can be used a starter food as it can be mixed with a babies own milk and smoothed to a perfect consistency to allow them to swallow with ease and taste a familiar flavour - their own milk - as well as trying something new the taste of a weetabix and a new texture. Gradually as your child gets older you can make the consistency thicker and add extras to it such as fruits and yoghurts and begin to use normal cows milk when your little one starts to drink it.
Soup - I've never made my own, instead I've used tinned soups. Smooth soups and soups with added meats and veg.
Stews! - Full of vegetables, so to me just goodness for them and new for them to try, easy to freeze and store and cook another day for another meal too which comes in handy. This is one which is easy to puree in a food blender, and you could begin with just one or two added vegetables so not too overpower the taste and slowly add more vegetables to get your child used to different flavours, colours and tastes.
Roast Dinners - I would puree these so they were having a full cooked dinner with all the goodness from the veg etc but not having to struggle with lumps at first. Not adding salt to their veg or anything though.
Yoghurts - A good form of calcium, and easy for babies to swallow and get used to a variety of tastes and flavours too.
Soft cereals - Any cereals that soften when milk is poured over them my boys found a treat especially coco pops and rice crispies they would then like to drink any of the left over milk either out of their bottle or a beaker.
Fruit Purees - These are so simple to do with a mixer and you can mix absolutely any fruit on it's own or mix them together if you want to give them a combination of flavours at once.
Scrambled Egg - Can make a tasty meal, although a slight bit lump it's easy to swallow - probably better for an older child, maybe a toddler.
Spaghetti and Beans - A good way to get your child used to lumpier consistencys and eating hot food at the same time. Tasty yet basic and can also be purchased cheap enough and more often than not on offers.
Caulfi flower and Broccoli cheese - The goodness of veg but with an added twist so if veg isn't really a favourite with your child add the cheese for extra taste or to somewhat hide the fact they are eating their greens. This is something else which my boys used to love when it was pureed, didn't look so appealing to my eye mind you, but they seemed to eat plenty of it.
Pasta - Once your child is eating foods comfortably a pasta is a great way to introduce them to more powerful flavours and combinations of food. You can add so much to a pasta whether it be veg or sauces. It can make a healthy yet exciting meal at the same time.
Rice Pudding - When your child gets used to lumpy foods this can make a tasty dessert.
Fruit salad with Yoghurt - Or just fruit salad on it's own. The yoghurt however can again hide the fact that your child is just eating the essential fruits.
Sandwiches - When your little one is eating solid foods by themselves Sandwiches can be a great way to show them new colours of foods, textures of foods and tastes. You can hide things a little maybe if you want to add lettuce but add it with their favourite sandwich filling first that way you can find out if your child likes certain sandwich fillers or not. My boys began eating just dairylea cheese with theirs and they still love them but they are quite messy at first. I like it when they get messy when feeding themselves though (so long as it's not all over me or the carpet lol) as I don't want them to be scared of the foods they eating or the messes they create.
An older child/toddler tends to like snacks in between meals, often I use raisins, carrot sticks, a smaller sandwich than what they would have for a meal, fruit, cucumber, cheese.
These are just a few ideas, but you can purchase many baby and toddler food books nowadays which can really make your childs first meals and finger foods exciting.
A baby needs to be able to enjoy their eating habits to so at first it's good to make sure they are comfortable in a highchair. If they are comfortable where they are sitting they are more likely to try what you are about to spoon feed them rather than fight it.
Some children/babies will be more independant than others to so if your child is not happy with you feeding them off a spoon let them try it themselves either with their own hands or with their own spoon. See if they feed better like this.
Try if you can to offer them foods at certain times of the day, as hard as it can be as I know days are more often than not really unorganised when you have a child. But try get them used to a slight routine with their feeding. They will slowly get to know when they are due something new and tasty.
Also try to just offer babies one food at a time, get them used to one flavour one week you will soon know if they like it or not. Each week try a new food. Once you know yourself they are becoming comfortable and enjoying the trying new foods experiment slowly combine foods to get them used to flavours mixed together.
Weaning my son on to solid food was an experience I found enjoyable, terrifying, frustrating and very funny all at once. There's nothing quite like seeing your little baby laughing away as he covers himself in carrot puree, or the panic as he chokes on a lump which the blender hasn't quite managed to eliminate, the frustration as he refuses to even open his mouth for a meal which you've spent ages preparing or the satisfaction you get when he devours you weren't sure he'd like.
First Stage Weaning
I started weaning my son at 21 weeks - a bit early on current recommendations but he was a big baby (9lb 6oz at birth), was regularly draining 9oz bottles of formula milk and showing a great interest in our food. I think the moment when he made a determined grab for his Daddy's Krispy Kreme doughnut was the moment we realised we needed to go for it. We started slowly, a few spoonfuls of baby rice mixed with formula... he didn't look entirely convinced by his first taste, but successfully managed a few tiny spoonfuls. Next day, we did the same again with a bit more success. I followed this by pureeing cooked carrot for the third day of weaning - this was a much bigger hit, he loved it and took great pleasure in both eating it and covering himself in orange gunk! From there we progressed through a range of pureed fruit and vegetables - the biggest hits were butternut squash, sweet potato, pear, apple (which he loved cooked with a cinnamon stick), banana, papaya and avocado. Cauliflower was met with a closed mouth and a refusal to have more than one mouthful, no matter what I mixed it with, broccoli was tolerated rather than enjoyed, but overall the pureed fruit and vegetable stage was a success.
One word of warning though - when you freeze everything in ice-cube sized portions, don't forget to label your trays. There was more than one occasion when I looked into my freezer for something to be faced with an array of orange cubes and no idea whether they were purely vegetable, sweet potato mixed with chicken or fish, or even fruit.... Luckily my son didn't seem to mind the randomness of it all and would happily eat whatever combination of orange food I served him.
Second Stage Weaning
From six months onwards, I started to introduce protein and dairy into my son's diet. Fish was an instant hit - he loved it mixed with sweet potato, in a fish pie, or mixed with pasta. Meat has always been a bit more problematic - from the early days, he'd eat meat pureed mixed with vegetables (especially sweet potato) in a casserole type dish, a shepherd's pie or bolognese, but he didn't like it if he had to chew it. Even now, at nearly 2.5, he will only eat bolognese or sausages, everything else needs to be finely chopped in my Magimix before he'll even consider it. I introduced finger food at six months and started to gradually make the food more textured from about 7 months onwards and introduced finger food at six months. If we were out for a meal, we'd give him something off our plates to chew on - carrots, chips, bread and Yorkshire pudding were the early favourites. By his first birthday, he was eating what I considered to be a healthy balanced diet - lots of fruit and vegetables, main meals such as chicken curry, bolognese, fish pie, shepherd's pie, casseroles, yogurts and cheese for calcium, and very little sweet stuff as he didn't like the taste.
The Toddler Stage
Looking back, it's hard to pinpoint where it all went wrong - I gave him a wide range of new foods to try and he would eat almost anything. Now, though, it's a whole different story. We get constant demands for fishfingers - his current favourite food - and quite often, a refusal to try anything new. He's developed a very sweet tooth and loves chocolate. I try to limit it as much as possible, but I don't think there's anything wrong with him having it occasionally. We've had to be creative in getting him to eat different things - he loves fishcakes, so I've discovered that M&S do a range of food that 'looks' like fishcakes - this week the corned beef version has been a bit hit, and he'll also eat chicken in that format so I use them to introduce a bit more variety. Given a choice, he'd probably live on fish, peas, chips, tartare sauce (which he'll eat straight from the pot with a spoon), cheese, blueberries, grapes, cereal, bread, ice cream and chocolate cake but I'm still fighting the temptation to give into that easy option and I am determined to get his diet back on track.
So, for everyone out there who is trying to wean their baby, or struggling with a toddler who refuses to try anything new, good luck! It takes a bit of persistence and you've got to match their willpower, but you have to believe that it will all be worth it in the end. And try to enjoy it, don't worry too much - they won't starve themselves.
I have three children aged 4.5, 2.5 and 1 and the advice for weaning changed with each of them. The current recommendation is to wait until your baby is 6mths old but it really is something that you need to decide yourself with advice from your health visitor.
My first son was 4.5mths when we began weaning him, my daughter 5.5 mths and my last son was 5mths. Each child had their own needs and you need to be mindful that the foods you introduce must suit their age and development. For example my eldest was on purees because he was only really able to take the food from a sppon, however my daughter (2nd child) was a lot more stubborn, older and more developed at her age and so started on fingers of bread and butter and was feeding herself.
Another issue here is the main milk feeds they have. Breastfed babies tolerate finger foods more easily and sooner because they are used to the gag reflex more so than formula fed babies (due to the position of your nipple in their mouth and throat compared to a teat) - my final child was taking a mixture of purees and finger foods but needed the puree more than daughter due to his age.
I never used baby rice. I skipped this stage altogether and began son 1 on carrot and swede mash/puree and son 2 on purees of apple (microwave apple for a few seconds then squash down with a fork to resemble apple sauce)
Some things to remember are that you do not need to spend hours preparing foods for your baby. An avocado is a ready meal! Just chop the top of and scoop the flesh out with a spoon (make sure you mush it up a bit) instant food on the go. Same goes for banana - squash it up with your clean fingers and feed. Great for on the go mums or those with more than one child and lack of time.
Another great tip is when you cook your roast/any dinner - save a little of each vegetable - mash and freeze in anything you can find and then just take it out to defrost. Also, pretty much all your meals can be adadpted for your baby and Annabel Carmel recipe books are fantastic for getting some good ideas!
Let your child experiment. Feed them the first few mouthfuls to satisfy their hunger and then let them feel the food and enjoy trying to get some into their mouths. Practice makes perfect and although it looks like mess to you, to them it is a new skill they are mastering - just keep baby wipes handy and make sure they aren't on carpet :)
I am the proud parent to 2 children, however they are both very different and their eating habits are very unique.
Child 1 was born at 36 weeks and was bottlefed (not through choice), he ate bought baby food and was very difficult to wean. He really only enjoyed bland food and yoghurt, he also did not like textured food or finger food, we had some terrific toddler tantrums (from him and me!). He still will not eat mixed food like spaghetti bolognese or shepherds pie as he hates mixed textures.
Child 2 was breastfed, she was fed home pureed food. I started her on sweet potatoe puree and pureed apricots, she ate lumps and mashed food and generally anything we ate including sprouts. She is 6 now and her favourite food is cabbage.
She is a very adventourous eater and will try anything and loves variety and texture within her foods.