My Ten top tips that helped me when weaning….
Does the word weaning strike fear into your heart or bring back memories of anxiety, stress and general chaos at mealtimes? Before we started weaning, I thought how am I ever going to switch her onto solids, like where on earth do I begin? Being a natural worrier doesn’t help, everything that you could possibly stress about in regards to weaning I stressed about before I’d even bought Mini her first bowl or spoon. I must have read umpteen books and trawled the net for hours, all giving different advice, which just confused me more. Then one day I decided I was just going to do weaning our way, not the health visitors, not ginny ann down the road or great auntie loopy loos, Our way that suited mini. So here are a few little tips that have helped me 🙂 … ( we traditionally weaned)
1. Make it FUN!!!!! Food is something we as adults enjoy eating, well I do at least. Its something to be enjoyed. If you tasted a forkful of food and thought oh this is terrible tried another forkful and still thought oh I hate this! You wouldn’t go on to eat a whole dinner plateful of food would you? No! If mini takes a mouthful and doesn’t like it I try one more and if the reaction isn’t a good one (normally a screwed up face or she flinches and waves her arms about, yes we like a bit of dramatics in our house) i don’t make her eat it. We try something else or we switch to something I know she likes. By making sure she enjoys it, it encourages her to give it a go as she knows i won’t make her eat it.
2.Get a good Highchair, good doesn’t have to mean super expensive, just a chair that suits your needs! We got a highchair that can be put high or as low as the floor. The seat can also be tilted back which was really handy when she was learning to hold her own cup herself and needed help tipping it up as the angle did it for her enabling her to drink it all by herself! I got a speech from my health visitor about only ever feeding mini in the kitchen at the table never anywhere else! Well that’s just dandy but what if your out at someone else’s house and they eat in the living room or your out and about and she needs to eat in the pram? We use the highchair in the kitchen mostly at the table, but we have a sofa in kitchen too and I pop her chair down to lowest setting and feed her from the sofa sometimes. We have had breakfast in the baby walker too, snacks in the supermarket in the pram and bottles in the car seat during long journeys and you know what that’s okay because its what works best for us.
3. Be prepared. This really helped me, by being organised mealtimes, especially those first few or moving between stages were less stressful and more easy going for both of us. I try to make Mini food from scratch but i’m not going to stress if we use a pouch of bought food. We have a little shelf just for pouches, pots and general nice bits and bobs which we use alongside home made food. This also means if we are in a rush or need to go out we simply pop a ready made pouch into the changing bag and off we go. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about giving your little one shop bought foods, if that’s what you want to do. We use Ella’s kitchen brand as well as other as it 100% organic and only has natural ingredients no additives which I love!
4. Variety is key. I know some people who feed their baby the same thing day in day out, fair enough, but I wouldn’t fancy eating the same thing all the time! Varieties the spice of life and all that! So we like to mix it up a little! I like to put a little bit of a number of things out for her to try. We use a plate with lots of different compartments on it from Cath Kidson and its great as i gives her something to look at and each little area has a new treat in it for her. In the early stages of weaning I liked to give her a variety of different textures and tastes during a meal, such as a slice of banana, a few pieces of pancake and a little jammy or puree dip. Kept her interested and engaged in what she was eating.
5. “What your eating looks yummy mummy!” Once we got over the puree stage and onto more solids I let her try little bits and pieces of our food. I don’t mean rubbishy foods like sweet chilli crisps or a sip of a fizzy drink 🙂 but things like different veg, meats, fruits etc. Mini was great and tried everything from mild chicken curry, little licks of ice cream ( yes i know its sweet, no i do not feed my child ice cream or sweet regularly don’t worry 😉 ), tasted pineapple, strawberries, blackberries, sweet potato, fish …. you name it she probably tried it, she may not have liked it but she tried it.
6. Finger foods- once i got over the anxiety of giving her things to put into her mouth herself, relaxed and saw that she was perfectly capable of lifting the food herself, crunching it up and swallowing it without choking, Iv’e really enjoyed giving her finger food. So cute to see her hold a bit of grape or a slice of banana and pop it into her mouth herself. Nice to watch her study her plate or bowl and choose what to eat next. It helps develop their little motor skills, learning to pick up little bits and pieces. I often pop a few things such as the organics sweetcorn rings, or carrot sticks on her highchair tray along with a few small slices of banana or some grape or apple cubes. This also means i’m free to do any bits and pieces in the kitchen too, such as tackle the dishes 🙂 Although I always keep an eye when shes eating anything, safety first and all that!
7. I don’t think there is any point in giving yourself double the work if you want to cook from scratch for your little one just cook extra of the same foods or similar when cooking for yourself or your family. If i am cooking potato i keep Mini some and mash with her milk instead of the milk/butter we use. I also make her mini varieties of our dishes, such as a mini apple and blackberry crumble, so simple.. some blackberries and apples cubed and reduced down in a saucepan, sleeved, the juices put into a tiny dish and topped with baby porridge into the oven for 10mins and wha-la baby crumble.
8. Bibs and bobs 🙂 We had some lovely bibs and they have been destroyed by lovely tomato’s, strawberries etc stains, so I bought a large multi-pack of bibs from a supermarket for next to nothing they spend most of their life in the washing machine or on the line so it doesn’t matter to me or Mini for that matter they aren’t pretty! Bowls and plates, I always make sure I have a spare handy as in our house we have the occasional unexpected caught off guard little right handed karate chop and splat the bowl and contents land on the floor or worse down the front of me hair and all! So I need an emergency new bowl and new food asap. Ohh yes floors, a messy mat is a good investment! Before I had Mini I thought they were just an extra that wasn’t really needed. But they are great for aiding a quick post snack clean up if you have the occasional food ninja like me. You can pick them up for as little as £2.00 in most supermarkets (kids craft aisle) simply place under highchair, perfect to catch said spills and wipe up in no time! I choose nice colourful spoons, as i think it keeps Mini’s attention especially when she was tiny she focused more on the spoon because of the colours and got the hang of eating off a spoon quite quickly and i think this helped.
9. Messy eating- Some mums hate the idea of this and are sat with baby wipe in hand for even the tiniest dribble that may run down their little ones face. I have taken the view, be it right or wrong that she should be allowed to stick her hands into the food if she wants, how else is she going to learn how to use her hands to eat? We’ve had bowls on heads, food all over clothes, highchair, her and me but shes had a big smile on her face and has a full tummy so it’s all good by me. Don’t get me wrong dinnertime is not chaos here not even slightly. Mini sits most of the time happily while i feed her from a spoon or she lifts the finger food herself, we don’t have to hold her hands out of the way the way some mummies have to and wev’e not had a dinner time tantrum just yet (touch wood) and i think this is because she’s free to eat and explore how she wants and doesn’t feel restricted. I think babies sometimes have mini-meltdowns at mealtimes because they feel restricted and it frustrates them.
10. Do it your way…. I do mealtimes the way that I think is best for us not what mummy bloggers so and so says or the woman down the road. Also what works for me may not work for the next person and vice versa and thats 100% okay. Iv’e learnt to trust my instinct go with what I think Mini wants/needs at that time. Iv’e also learnt not to get hung up/ stressed out if things don’t go to plan, there’s always tomorrow. Just beacuse it didn’t work today doesn’t mean it won’t tomorrow. … Just have fun and it’ll all work out in the end is my motto.
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