Newest Review: ... And I learned that different parts of the country have different policies concerning gastrostomy, and had we lived elsewhere would mos... more
From bottle to bowl
Baby Food Hints/Tips
Member Name: abbadabbado
Baby Food Hints/Tips
Advantages: the next exciting stage of your baby's life
Disadvantages: can be worrying
Being a parent isn't always as easy as it looks. There are many milestones in the first six months or so of a baby's life and weaning is one of them.
When do you start? What do you give them? How much do you give them? The questions can go on and on, and if you have no support this can be a daunting time.
Legislation is always changing. When I had my first daughter 13 years ago we were weaning at four months old. Now however the recommendations are to wait until six months old. This is apparently due to digestion and allergies in babies. They can't digest foods very well before six months old and the longer they stay purely on breast or formula milk, the better there tolerance will be to allergies.
I firmly believe that your baby will let you know when they are ready for something a bit more satisfying than milk.
As I mentioned with my first daughter we were giving her pureed vegetables at four months as well as baby rice and many bland foods to get her used to the different tastes and textures.
With my second daughter we lasted until she was approximately five and a half months before I could tell the milk alone wasn't satisfying her anymore and her bottles were increasing in frequency not size.
We decided to have a go and introduce her to food, but where to start was another matter. Obviously the best thing to start with is something very bland like baby rice. This can be mixed with the formula or breast milk so just creates a much thicker consistency and is fed via a spoon rather than teat / nipple.
How to start?
I found the best way after talking to my health visitor and other people, was to make a very small amount of rice up from the packet and offer it at one meal only during the day to start with. I also chose to offer before the bottle, however some people prefer to give the bottle first and solids after. As you begin a small amount on the tip of the spoon is recommended, and don't expect it to go in the baby's mouth, yet do expect a funny face to be pulled and it spat back out.
As you progress each day, increase the amount of rice, or you can graduate onto pureed vegetables and fruit. I chose to offer vegetables first so she didn't get a sweet tooth too early. In the beginning I chose to offer single vegetables at a time such as carrot, butternut squash, and cauliflower. These have milder tastes for a young baby as opposed to parsnip, broccoli etc.
Once your baby likes the taste and is getting used to eating bits from a spoon, and you have seen there are no allergies from a particular food, you can combine foods to add more variety, such as broccoli, cauliflower and carrot together for a nice combination.
I used to make a small batch of individual vegetables up and freeze in small ice cube portions. I could then mix two together for variety if I wanted to.
It is advised that a new food is introduced one at a time so if there are any reactions to it, you can pin point what it is quickly. It is also advised that babies less than six months old don't have meat as they still have all their iron levels from you, and also that you don't give them dairy products such as cheese, cow's milk in cooking, and yoghurt. This is due to their digestion as they can't break it down easily.
As a new mum, and even a second time around mum I got worried over what I was giving my daughter, and whether I was giving enough or too much. If she spat it out did it mean she didn't like it? Or was she just not hungry today?
With my first daughter I was paranoid about cooking meat for some reason, and therefore I made all my own vegetable products but bought jars for her meat intake. Looking back on this I was determined not to do the same for my second daughter. I have nothing against baby jars; I just chose not to use them. Your baby gets used to what you give them, as we were out one day and needed an emergency meal. In desperation I bought a jar and she really didn't like the taste of it. I didn't like the look or smell of it to be honest. If I can cook something from scratch and fresh for her I will.
So you have started weaning and worrying at the same time. Looking back I realised that my daughter told me how much she wanted, and when she was finishing off her food, I knew it was time to increase the amount, and move on to more advanced tastes and consistencies.
We started off with a hand blender and pureed everything to a pulp. I started trying to leave a few lumps in after a while, and before I knew it she was eating adult pasta with us and despite having no teeth was managing to gum her way through it.
What if they choke?
Babies have a very good instinct to enable them to bring any stuck food back up. You should never leave a baby alone with food, however I have had a few mini panics where she got something stuck and even before I could reach my hands out to her, she had coughed it back up again. It can be a scary time, but it's all part of life's pattern, and you realise maybe to chop the food u a bit more for a while longer.
Babies can go off their food when they are teething and ill etc, so if you try a new food and they don't like it, re try it in a few weeks as they may want it then.
It's a brilliant, scary, emotional process but do try and enjoy it, as they your baby will enjoy it too.
Summary: how to wean your baby