Weaning Tips and Tricks
Introducing solids feels a long way off when you bring your new baby home. In reality, six months soon fly by and suddenly it’s time for your little one to start their weaning adventure.
Weaning is one of those subjects that can contain a minefield of information. That information can be conflicting, and it can be overwhelming trying to make sense of it all.
What is weaning, and when is best to start?
There are two common approaches to weaning; ‘puréeing’ and ‘baby-led weaning’ (BLW).
Puréeing is a more traditional take on weaning, which involves spoon-feeding the baby. You will have to prepare food in advance, steaming and mashing or blending softer foods.
The beauty of puréeing is that you are more in control, and it can also prove to be a little less messy. You can introduce iron-rich foods, such as meat or vegetables that can be hard to chew at an earlier age, with less risk of gagging or choking.
Baby-led weaning lets your baby feed itself. Food is cut into chip-shaped portions that little hands can hold in preparation, e.g. cucumber sticks or toast soldiers.
With BLW, babies can ‘pick’ at whatever you are eating, explore foods for themselves, experience new textures, and it can help to develop the pincer grip from the beginning.
How do I start puréeing foods?
With a more traditional weaning method, you will have to prepare, blend, and spoon-feed the child. However, you can batch cook and freeze portions in pots or ice cube trays.
To start pureeing, wash, peel, and chop around 100g of a single vegetable. Steam for 8-10 minutes, preferably using a steamer or microwave, until vegetables are soft. Cool and add around 30-45ml of baby’s milk. Mash or blend using a fork or blender to blitz into a smooth purée. Freeze portions to reheat when hunger strikes.
How do I start baby-led weaning?
To start BLW, you must be aware of choking risks. Make sure that you only introduce soft foods cut into finger-sized pieces and always supervise the baby when eating.
More food will also end up on the floor, so ideally, use a mat under the highchair or clean the floor regularly.
Wash, peel, and chop a single vegetable into finger-length chip-sized strips. Steam for 8-10 minutes, preferably using a steamer or microwave, until vegetables are soft. Alternatively, bake at 400oF/fan 180oC/gas mark 6 on a foil-lined baking sheet for 30-35 mins. Make sure the food has thoroughly cooled down before serving.
Which is best for a weaning toddler?
As the child develops, you may want to introduce the concept of mixed feeding. Older babies and weaning toddlers may be able to hold their spoons and be more accomplished with finger foods.
For older babies and toddlers, weaning is more about diet. Protein and calcium help with bone development, iron-rich foods aid cognitive development, and carbohydrates contain energy and B vitamins.
When weaning toddlers onto protein, introduce 2-3 portions of meat, fish, or eggs each day. Hide iron-rich foods such as leafy veg, red meat, and beans in meals. Offer milk, yoghurt, and cheese to provide calcium. Carbohydrate favourites include rice, noodles, pasta, and potatoes.
Your baby can usually eat three meals per day by the end of the weaning process.
Weaning Week 2022
Creating a supportive network for parents aims to help with nutritious weaning, support parents of fussy eaters, and add some fun to the journey.
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