Family & Life, Food
The Ultimate Guide to Weaning
Posted November 14, 2013 by Bethanie Lunn
|Frankie loving his veg|
Ah, weaning. It’s part pride: that they’re growing and developing, part relief: that they’re joining you and becoming more independent and part anguish: since the process can be tricky, challenging, frustrating and somewhat laborious at times!
I’m a big believer that you have to find your own way in the weaning process, getting to know your baby and what suits them (and you), and treating them as the individuals they truly are. That’s my approach with everything really.
Here I share how Frankie’s Dad, Neal and I helped wean our little one successfully in a bid to share my advice. It may not work for you but it did for us and the equipment we used from Mothercare made it all so much easier.
Good luck, keep smiling and beware the poos! 🙂
When we started
When Frankie reached 5.5 months, he started showing a keen interest in our food. Not just watching us eat it out of interest, but trying to grab it from our hands or mouth, showing he wanted some. We decided to start the process at this point. Most will advise waiting until six months at least but just listen and take note to what your baby is telling you.
We began with 1 meal only (once a week), in the first week using one vegetable only. We opted for carrots as they’re healthy and slightly sweet – so similar to breast milk / formula. He took to it very well. We were sure to mash down the carrot so there were no lumps and we also encouraged him to eat a carrot stick (boiled till soft), so he could learn how to feed himself slowly.
TIP: Be sure to watch over them through the entire process, sit with them and don’t panic if they cough – it’s all new to them, just be sensible.
We increased his meals to 2 a week in week 2 and introduced a second vegetable on his second meal (mashed broccoli) – alternating the 2 types of veg.
We increased his meals to 3 a week in week 3 and introduced a third vegetable – first on its own and then mashing all 3 for a mixture, along with meat.
Frankie was on 1 meal a day and we tried different vegetables and meats – alone, together and in different combinations.
Frankie was on 2 meals a day and we introduced fruit. The first time he had strawberries was hilarious – screwing his face up at their sweetness – and he loved mashed bananas and boiled, mashed apple.
We try to limit fruit to just once a day after dinner so he doesn’t get addicted to sweeter foods too early. We also introduced a little of Neal’s homemade bread which he LOVED. The boy is already a foodie!
By week 6, Frankie was on 3 meals a day and we’d often pulp versions of our meals so (within reason), he ate what we ate. This made the preparation process a lot easier since we’d separate little portions of our food for Frankie before seasoning and store in his containers (see kit below).
By week 7, Frankie was on 3 meals a day with all sorts of different foods and his milk intake has since more than halved. We give him more (cooled, boiled), water now too as the food evidently makes him thirsty.
TIP: Throughout the whole process, leave small mouthfuls and fingers of food before your baby so he can try to feed himself. It’s messy but it’s worth it!
So – how can you make the process a little easier?..
As mentioned, we boil bulks of veg in one go or separate portions of our food and then store them in clever little Mothercare Essential Food Pots with Lids – 3 Pack, £2.99. We do enough for a week or two and store them in the fridge with extras to keep in the freezer.
Before we go to bed, we take a pot out of the freezer to defrost in the fridge overnight so its fresh for the next day and we don’t have to worry about use by dates, since we’re always keeping on top of it. These little cubes with lids are fantastic and easily stackable. For a similar set of cubes, shop here.
We use these Mothercare Little Circus Microwave Bowls – 3 pack, £4.99 – great for gently warming the food that has been defrosting overnight, if needed. Just be sure to stir it through thoroughly and test with your finger to keep hot spots at bay.
Don’t forget to grin and bear and try to enjoy it for what its worth. So long as you’re organised, it needn’t be too much of a bind and just think – you’re little one is growing up, it’s special!