As a Mum of three, I’d like to think that I know a few things about weaning now. However, I’m not a nutritionist and what works for me, may not work for you.
So let’s start with some tips.
When to wean?
The NHS website says that around six months is a good age and babies should be able to sit unaided, bring things to their mouths and have lost the tongue reflex (where they just push everything out of their mouths). It does all feel a bit contradictory though as it’s not explained very well. So here is how my nutionist explained it to me (some may say different) babies do not have to be sitting completely unaided for a long time but able to hold themselves up whilst sitting such as leaning forward to get things and remaining sturdy whilst sat against a cushion, rather than slouched in it. Babies may spit out and push food out with their tongue because it’s new. Its a new texture, taste and feeling and they don’t know what it is it what to do so they can spit it out. All babies develop differently. Luca could sit up completely alone at 4 months, Alia was closer to seven. Avery was about 5.5 months but he still falls to the side too, so when is it really classed as being able to sit unaided? You know your own child and I’m sure you can make your own decision on when you feel is best for your baby. There’s lots of help though and you can always call your health visitor for some professional advice.
How to start –
To begin, you need to make a choice on whether you would like to puree feed, baby led wean or a mixture. Different things work for different babies and also their parents too. Weaning shouldn’t be stressful, but an enjoyable experience. I recommend coverall bibs and if you don’t have an easily cleanable floor then definitely a mat underneath. You can use Bumbo type chairs with trays or highchairs. It’s completely up to you how you’d like to try. So long as you’re starting off with healthy vegetables and fruits then there is no way you can do it wrong. Just make sure that you cut things correctly – for example some fruits are a choking hazard. Grapes need to be sliced lengthways into four pieces for young children and into two pieces for older children. I still chop them for Luca and Alia now. Large Blueberries need to also be chopped. Whether you make the food yourself or buy it from a store is completely your decision. There’s no right and wrong here. Once weaning starts, youre able to give your baby water. Just ensure that the water is boiled and cooled. There’s lots of different styles of cups out there so it’s all your discretion. Please note that baby may gag on food and cough. This is completely normal and is just their way of getting used to it. You may panic at first and think they are choking – choking is when a child can not breathe and their skin begins to change colour. Please see first aid videos on YouTube to see what to do as it’s very important.
Our Weaning Essentials –
How I Wean –
There’s a lot of of expensive products which are to pretty much look good in instsgram photos. Personally, I like to stick to know what I know. I do like to be good for the planet also, but I like products which last as they can also be handed down. The older children have a mix of melanin and bamboo plates as they don’t throw them on the floor anymore and break them. For Avery, I need some thing which is universal and easy to clean, can be heated up in the microwave, chucked in a changing bag and and cleaned with a Milton wipe to use quickly.
My essential products are –
A cup of some kind, with a lid. I like to start off with the Mam ones as they are closest to his bottles so the transition is easier. I then use various cups to get him used to different ones. I use small baby unloaded cups from around 1 as I wean the children onto a cup of milk rather than a beaker of milk. This is my personal preference though.
Bowls – a bowl is a bowl but ones with suction on the bottom are undoubtly the best. Once your baby grabs the bowl and throws it you will be forever thankful for this! I am currently using a silicone Nuby bowl from the Muncheez range.
Plates – just two will suffice. One with sections and one with sections. The sections are good for if you’d like a sweet and a savoury, if you’d like to put puree in one and solids in another, or if you just want to put different dtectires or flavours in them. Again – suction ones are the best. I am currently using the Monkey silicone plate. It sticks straight into the tray and is sectioned. It’s from Nuby and it’s amazing!
Spoons – I like to have a dippy spoon which is a spoon with little grippers on so the baby can dip in their own puree or once you start solids, I’m sure there will be yogurt and Mash potato etc will be easier to pick up with this style. I like the Nuby spoons as they have a barrier above the spoon so they can’t choke. It has a spoon on one end and dippy spoon on the other and a chunky handle which makes it super easy for baby to hold. Flexible, soft normal spoons are great for adults to feed the baby.
Bibs – I like to have a mix of wipable bibs, all in one type bibs where their arms go in and then soft dribble bibs. Always rinse them after use. It may be a good idea if you’re eating out to take a little nappy bag to pop it in and then just remeber to take it out as soon as you’re home to wash properly. We are currently using the soft, washable all in one bib via Bibetta, and a couple of their normal style bibs too – one is washable and the other is wipable. We are also using the Silicone Nuby bibs which are really easily wipable. All the bibs are super soft! Our dribble bibs we use are the Tommee Tippee ones as I like the extra support where their neck is to stop any dribbles. We also have a super soft – literally the softest bib you’ve ever felt newborn style bib from Bibetta which looks lovely with his outfits and the teething bibs from Nuby which are a bandana bib with a chewable part attached to the bottom! Fabulous for teething and usually my go to car bib.
Pots with Lids – which are suitable for freezing, heating and dishwasher safe, bpa free etc. I have Avent ones this time which I purchased from Amazon and I really like them. Great for storing foods and making food up whether it be puree, chopped veg or even little mini meals.
Steamer, blender and Milton tabs – we have a steamer anyway so use the one we already have. It’s just a good way to healthily cook vegetables and softly. It keeps all the flavours too. I have a hand blender as its easy to clean. I bet wee. Each use. I use Milton tablets to help sterilise pretty much everything. I often fill the bath with ball pool balls and other suitable toys and soak them in Milton to give them a good clean. It’s also useful for filling a bath and cleaning ball pool balls and other suitable plastic toys.
Highchair/ Seat etc – with Luca I used a Bumbo with a tray and then moved onto a highchair. I can’t remember the brand as I just bought it from Argos whilst it was on offer. With Alia I had the mamas and papas snug which attaches to a dining chair. As much as I loved this I also like having a reclining option too and this didn’t give me that. With Avery I have the Baby Elegance highchair. It’s probably the nicest looking highchair I’ve ever seen and it’s really practical too. I unfold and attach the tray arc using one hand and find it really easy to clean. I use elbow grease as soon as possible which I’ve found the best thing for cleaning. With Lucas I used to take it off and shower it then hang it on the radiator to dry. I always think that the quicker you clean something, the easier it is. Unless it’s rice. It’s easier to hoover that up when it’s hard. I’m probably a tad obsessed with the highchair as I didn’t expect to love it so much! Honestly, in person, it’s even nicer! It reclines too but I haven’t actually reclined Avery yet as he’s super nosey. He sits in it playing with toys on his tray whilst I rifle through the washing.
I have weaned two children and am currently a week in to weaning Avery so here’s how I started each one.
Luca – I blended vegetables into large ice cube trays, froze them and once frozen I popped them out into freezer bags, labelled and dated them. I made enough in one day to last four to six weeks. Every day I sat him in his Bumbo with his tray and I heated up an ice cube of food which I slowly upped to three large icecubes. This was for ease and to be organised as it was really easy to do. Quite often, how we cook our veg is a different way to how a baby would have it, so it was just a lot easier. I then moved on to baby led weaning and gave him steamed or roasted veg on a tray for him to do what he likes with. As he got to around 7 months I started being creative with his food, cutting it in to shapes so his food was a bit like a sensory play to explore and taste. I followed a lot of Anabel Karmel recipes such as her fruity chicken curry which is our fav. There’s lots of receipts you can make up and freeze which again, is a huge time saver. I also looked on Pinterest for ideas. I’ll enclose some of my favourite recipes in Averys section of weaning as he tries them.
I slowly introduced more and more things. Blended soft chicken was at around 8 months and we then began to give him whatever we was eating (but without any salt or anything). Now, he used to eat everything except broccoli but these days he seems to dislike everything, except broccoli. I personally don’t believe that how you feed your child as a baby means they will grow up eating certain foods. He loved watermelon and now he very much dislikes it. Getting veg down him which isn’t root veg can be really difficult and he’s super fussy. However, it is good and healthy to give them lots of greens so I make the most of it before they repeatedly ask for nuggets and chips.
I started weaning Alia by making a couple of weeks of purees in some little pots which I froze and then heated up. I then went straight on to baby led weaning. By 7 months I was giving her what we was having. It was all healthy and bland as I was still feeding it to Luca too. She was an amazing eater and I don’t think there was one thing she didn’t like. She ate more than her brother and she’s never really made a mess on the floor. Definitely always ate more than dropped. It’s how she developed the nickname Sue – Tubby Sue.
So this time I have done things slightly different but not by much. Avery started having pureed prunes at 5 months as he was struggling to poo. This was advised by his nutionist.
So for Avery’s weaning Journey he was already used to having food from the spoon as he was very fond of his Prunes. I purchased some small pots and steamed up – broccoli, parsnip. Carrot and courgette. In some pots I put a blended vegetable and in others I put chopped but steamed vegetables. I did the same amount of each but in seperate pots so that every meal he could have a puree and a soft batton/chunk. I made up a weeks worth of food this time as I’m going to explore most textures and blend tastes together more.
Avery’s first food was courgette and he wasn’t really a fan. He was interested in trying it but every time he tasted it, he was very disappointed haha.
I felt a bit mean, so the next day we tried Parsnip which he absolutely loved! Parsnip needs to blended with a liquid as its so thick. You can use either the babies usual milk, boiled water or the water you steamed the veggies in. I poured in his own milk as its a familiar flavour.
Every day he tried the different vegetables and when it came back around to trying courgette again he wasn’t a fan. I quickly heated up some of his carrots and mixed it in with the courgette which made it more bearable for him. Apparently you need to try a food ten times to make sure they don’t actually like it. Avery has tried bits of fruit whilst we have been eating them and loves strawberry, Bananas. Pineapple, watermelon and he absolutely loves satsuma! He’s not a fan of kiwi though.
As of writing this the morning of 9th July – Avery is going to have a mix of chopped vegetables so he can choose whatever he likes. I’m going to blend some seperately and put them on his plate. The vegetables will be nice when mixed together or on their own so that he can try multiple things and explore how they taste when mixed together. I will further update this. I’ll also be mixing this in with our teething blog so please follow our blog to continue to see how our weaning journey unfolds and our top tips for teething and what has worked for us.
Avery had his first meal of Spaghetti Bolognese. I cooked spinach, tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, courgette, onion, fresh garlic, celery, and red pepper in a wok and then blended up to make a sauce. I made extra so that I could freeze them in storage pots to continue using. I used the baby pasta shells from boots and also gave him use chopped courgette to eat with his fingers.
Once Avery was used to having mixed food and meals for his Dinner i then added in a second meal. Breakfast. Alternating between pancakes, porridge and avocado toast.
7 months – Once we had established some softer textures in foods I added in some tougher ones such as meat. Blending chicken and vegetables to make our own chicken balls and just mixing with the Bolognese sauce. Tuna pasta and salmon and mashed potato. He’s a bit of a foodie!
*some items in this blog have been gifted and some items I have purchased myself. This does not effect how we feel about the items used.