Have you reached the stage where you want to start introducing your baby to solid food and reducing the amount of milk they consume each day, but don’t know where to start?
Weaning is an exciting milestone for mother and child, but some babies are reluctant to enjoy the tastes and textures of brand new foods. And this can be frustrating for multitasking mums who simply don’t have time to spending an hour feeding their child at each mealtime, whist they refuse eat the carefully pureed veggies and spit them all over their baby bibs instead! The good news is though that weaning doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some of the best weaning tips to make the whole process easier for busy mums:
Start with the Right Kit
You wouldn’t try to cook a meal without pots and pans, so why would you start weaning your baby without the right supplies? The essentials you’ll need include plastic bowls, plates and baby-sized cutlery, a supportive high chair your baby can sit comfortably in, a stack of baby bibs and, if you plan on preparing your own baby food, a hand-held food blender.
Having the right supplies will save you time, minimise the mess you have to clear up, and make you feel more prepared and confident as you begin the weaning process.
Jars are Not the Enemy!
When it comes to deciding how to feed your baby, there is no right or wrong choice: only the right or wrong choice for you. If you want to prepare your own baby food then batch cooking at the weekend is the best way for busy mums to do this: make enough pots of pureed fruits, vegetables and (as your baby gets older) even whole meals such as roast dinners, spaghetti bolognaise or mild curry and pop them in the freezer: then you simplyheat them each day.
If you’d rather buy jars or pouches of baby food then that’s a great option too: modern baby food is nutrient rich, carefully balanced, and designed to contain minimal salt or sugar. It’s certainly the fastest and easiest way to wean your baby.
Babies are emotional sponges. If you’re upset then they’ll become upset: if you’re stressed, rushed or feeling tense then they will sense these emotions and reflect them too. If you want your baby to enjoy their first food adventures and develop a positive relationship to food then it’s important that you approach feeding them in a calm and relaxed environment.
Of course, being calm and relaxed when you’ve had a long day and you just want your baby to eat their dinner isn’t easy. But take several deep breathes and prepare yourself for the journey in the kitchen whilst you’re heating their dish: fake it until you make it and smile your way through the experience. It will make it more fun and enjoyable for everyone!
Eat in the Kitchen
Babies are fast learners and they will quickly associate the spot where they eat their dinner with the impending arrival of food! For this reason, most weaning experts recommend that you pick one spot where you will feed your baby when you’re at home and stick to it. If you’re going to follow this advice then we recommend choosing the kitchen: weaning is a notoriously messy experience, and it will be much easier for you to clean up the debris of their first dishes from your wipe clean kitchen floor than to try getting it out of your dining room carpet!
Every Baby Is Unique
Finally, remember that every baby is unique and they will all wean at their own pace. Don’t get too hung up on your baby’s portion sizes or on comparing them to their friends. Whether your baby does or doesn’t like broccoli or can’t eat as much carrot puree as their pal from playgroup is no reflection on their development or their intelligence.
Letting go of the compulsion to compare your baby will feel like a weight lifted: you will be better able to focus on enjoying them and their unique needs. If they refuse the spoon after three or four mouthfuls, then listen to your baby: that might be all the food they need. Let them set the pace and remember the most important weaning mantra of all: food before one is just for fun. As long as their enjoying the small tastes they have, that’s all that matters!