I can’t believe we’ve got to this point already! Next week Iris turns six months old, which means one thing, it’s time to start weaning. Yes, my little (or not so little anymore) baby is ready for some new flavours and textures.
She now needs more than just milk for nourishment and even though I’ve been through this stage a couple of times before, I still feel daunted and a little unprepared. So I was thrilled when I recently got the chance to ask Jo Wiltshire, the childcare expert for Childcare.co.uk for her advice on weaning. Jo is an amazing woman with a wealth of experience and knowledge on childcare. She’s written three books on parenting and co-authored several more, she’s also one of the ‘go-to’ experts for most newspapers, magazines and tv shows.
Childcare.co.uk is a great online service which helps parents, nannies and childminders to find and contact each other.
So here we go, here are Jo’s top tips for baby weaning…
1. Stock up! Bibs, wet wipes, plastic cutlery, a big plastic splash mat for the floor, and a good sturdy easy-to-clean high chair. Being prepared makes life so much easier – and if you’re not so worried about the mess, you’ll relax and your baby will relax too.
2. Have fun! You are introducing your baby to the pleasure of real food, and it should be a fun and interesting experience. Don’t get too hung up on them finishing certain amounts or liking everything you give them – let them explore tastes, textures and colours in their own time.
3. If your baby is really hungry, give them a milk starter to ‘take the edge off’, which will make them more relaxed later if they are struggling to pick food up or get enough in their mouth. Baby rice is a good ‘bridge’ between milk and solids – it has a sloppy texture and a bland taste, and you can make it runnier at first until they get used to the new sensation.
4. If they don’t like the taste of a new food, try blending it with one they do like – banana with avocado, for instance. Then gradually reduce the amount of the preferred food. The more a baby repeatedly tries a new flavour, the greater the chances they will eventually like it – so keep offering!
5. Mix flavours and textures. Don’t just offer sweet tastes – make sure you give vegetables and savoury ones too, or they will struggle to accept those flavours later on. Followers of Baby Led Weaning believe you should offer solid foods from the start – soft ones, such as steamed carrots, to start – just put the food on their high chair tray and let them pick it up themselves, rather than spooning it in for them. Supervise closely in case of choking, but let them take the lead.
6. Create a happy atmosphere. Avoid feeing in front of the television, as this will create bad habits – but do try playing gentle music in the background. Most of all, watch your own body language – this is a fun new game, not a stressful challenge, and if you reflect that in your posture, facial expressions and voice, they will mirror you. Learn to do the ‘silent scream’ out of their sight when the latest glob of food hits the wallpaper!
I love this pretty bib by Make My Day, available from Cheeky Rascals
Thank you for those great tips Jo. I now feel a little more prepared and ready for this exciting and fun stage. Batch cooking here we come!
Disclaimer: This is a contributed post.