My baby, Austin, was ready for solids by about 14 weeks. He was a chunk of a baby at birth (9lb 8oz), he didn’t lose any weight even in the first few days, just kept piling on the pounds! It was such hard to work keep him solely on milk until the 17 weeks minimum weaning recommendation, he was feeding constantly!! I managed to hold out until 16 weeks, then out came the baby porridge. And so it began…
There are so many different ideas and guidelines on how to start weaning your baby but, if I’m honest, I felt most comfortable doing my own thing right from the start.
So at 17 weeks, I started Austin on baby porridge (I didn’t like the idea of baby rice! Plus I’d tried some – I try everything before I feed it to Austin – and it wasn’t very tasty!) Just a baby spoonful at first and a really runny consistency so it was more like very thick milk and not too much of a change for him.
After a couple of weeks of just porridge and his usual number of bottles, I started to introduce some veggies. My plan was to stick to mainly vegetables, to try and avoid him getting used to sweet fruits and stop him developing a sweet tooth! I don’t know if this is feasible but it was worth a shot!!
To begin with, to get recipe ideas for veggie purées, I used two books to help me. ‘Annabel Karmel Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner’ and ‘Sainsburys Little Ones Recipes and Nutrition’.
Both books were really handy, not just or recipe ideas but the Sainsburys book also details which food groups should be introduced when, in a easy to follow table. It’s great! The Annabel Karmel book moves through weaning stages from first tastes up to finger foods and has some great recipe ideas.
Austin’s first taste of veg was carrot and sweet potato. Babies naturally prefer sweeter tastes so I thought I would ease him into vegetables with the slightly sweeter ones. I normally mixed a couple of different vegetables together (probably thinking more what would appeal to me than a baby who’s only tasted milk before!) rather than a single vegetable puree.
I repeated the same purées for a couple of days and then moved on to another couple of vegetables. Next was broccoli and as it is not sweet at all in flavour, I mixed it with carrot to sweeten it up a bit. He loved it! After the initial few spoonfuls.
Soon we were making all kinds of puree’s, we bought a steamer and blender, plus pots a plenty for freezing and storing the portions of veggie goodness! I would spend Sunday evenings steaming, pureeing and freezing ready for the week ahead.
Soon we were making all kinds of puree’s, Austin’s favourite by far was Parsnip, Pea and Pear (Which sounds more intriguing that delicious but it’s actually really yummy!) closely followed by Courgette, Carrot, Sweet Potato and Peas (a random mix I made when I was using up left over veg – quite the success!)!
Once the veggies had been covered off, we moved on to meat. However, I found meat hard to puree to a good consistency, it always stayed a bit grainy. They always tasted fine and Austin ate them, they just never looked all that appetising!
When Austin was 6 1/2 months old, he seemed ready to start chewing so I started to give him lumps in his purees. This is when I struggled the most as I found it quite difficult to get the lump:puree ratio quite right. So I turned to ready made sachets, mainly Plum and Heinz. These went down a treat with my little man and he loved chomping on the lumps with his gums and 4 teeth! Occassionally it would take a couple of attempts to get him to eat a certain flavour as he would take one mouthful and refuse any more. But I found offering another sachet / puree for that feed and then trying again a few days later usually worked well!
Now, he will eat anything I give him, apart from slices of tomato – I think he gets that from his dad! Austin is now 9 months old and much prefers finger food to being spoon fed. His absolute favourite is Tortilla Pizza – very simply, a tortilla wrap base, passata and a sprinkling of grated cheddar, pop it in the oven for a few minutes and Hey Presto! You have a pizza! This has gone down so well in our house that whenever Austin has one, Daddy has two!
My top tips for weaning:
1) If you don’t want to buy all new kit, ice cube trays are fab for storing and freezing puree’s when you first start weaning. You can make up a batch of puree and free into ice cube size portions, ready to defrost one (or as baby grows, two or three) at a time.
2) Its hard not to be put off when your baby doesn’t like something the first few times you offer it but actually, it can take more than 10-15 times of offering before babies decide they do like it! Fussy little things!
3) A baby’s stomach is about the same size as their clenched fist so they can only eat small amounts at a time. Babies know when they’re full so try not to try and make them eat if they don’t want to.
4) The NHS recommended salt intake for babies under 12 months is only 1g per day (less than 0.4g Sodium). Eating too much salt can damage their kidneys so it’s important not to add salt to their food.
5) Try to stay relaxed and smile lots! Babies pick up on our anxieties so it’s important to try and stay relaxed to help encourage them to eat new foods. Smiling and saying “YUMMY” helped me a lot!
PS) It’s gonna get messy!