Introducing your baby to solid food can feel overwhelming after months on end of giving them milk. Where do you start? How do you start? What do you give them? How often should your try giving them a food if they’ve rejected it?
Being a foodie I couldn’t wait to get my two boys started on the road to trying proper food and testing out different tastes and textures. I’ll never forget giving Sam his first taste of baby rice and his face was a picture as he spat it out in sheer confused horror! Once I started giving him pureed fruit and vegetables he was much happier, and it wasn’t long before he was demolishing little portions of lasagne, fish pie and chicken casserole. I think we pretty much cooked every recipe in Annabel Karmel’s Baby and Toddler Meal Planner. Sam was my first baby, and therefore I bought every baby instruction manual going. I was far too terrified to follow my own instincts!
By the time Arlo came along three years later, I was far more relaxed about motherhood and baby led weaning became more in vogue. So giving little ones soft foods to hold onto and chew like florets of cooked broccoli and batons of carrot was the order of the day. It won’t come as much surprise that Arlo was swift to catch on to the world of food, and hasn’t stopped exploring his tastebuds since.
As with most children, both my boys ate a huge variety of foods when they were weaning, but became more fussy about what they will and won’t eat as they got older and more opinionated. They’re still brilliant eaters for their age though, and I hope my love of food and cooking has and will continue to inspire them.
So if you’re about the embark on this journey with your little ones, I’ve put together a handy list of hints and tips together with Organix to help you navigate the weaning stage.
Top tips for weaning your baby from Organix and Feeding Boys
Invest in a bib that has sleeves and gives good coverage and protection. A splash mat under the highchair can help to contain the mess – you could even use an old shower curtain!
Dipping your fingers in puree and then pop them into your mouth to show your baby how they can do it too. If they’re tasting purees by using their own hands, rather than being spoon fed this will teach them how to feed themselves. It might only be little tastes and lots of mess at this stage, but it encourages independent feeding.
Fruity purees are a fabulous way to have fun with new flavours. Apple, pear, raspberry and mint is a refreshing combo and not only lovely for introducing little ones to different fruits, but also ideal for stirring into Greek yoghurt or spooned over ice cream for the grown ups too! Find the recipe here
Offer your little one a puree alongside a matching finger food to use as a dipper. Give your baby a small amount of puree on a spoon, then hand them the finger food dipped in the same puree. Join in and encourage them to copy you!
Dips and Dippers
Fresh dips and roasted vegetable dippers are an effective way of introducing babies to new flavours and textures. I’m a huge fan of dips, so I came up with combos that i’d be happy to put on the table at a drinks party too! I love combinations like butternut squash, sage and cream cheese, pea and mint and a lovely cooling yoghurt and cucumber. For dipping I baked courgette fingers rolled in egg and breadcrumbs, along with sweet potato wedges. You could also add simple buttered toast soldiers to the mix. Find the recipes in this post
Baby food doesn’t need to be bland, so introduce small tastes of herbs and spices into their food. You could sprinkle some cinnamon on their apple puree, a little mild curry powder to their parsnip puree or add some nutmeg to their porridge.
Singing a nursery rhyme or song while introducing a tricky bitter flavour like spinach or broccoli will help build a positive association with a seemingly unpopular flavour. It’ll help keep your spirits up if they’re rejecting something. It’s worth remembering that it can take between 10-15 attempts before a baby learns to like a new food.
For even more tips and advice you can download of the Organix Little Book of Weaning
I’d love to hear any tips or advice YOU might have for new mums embarking on weaning their babies for the first time! Add your comments to this blog post or head onto social media using the #NoJunkJourney hashtag. You can find @OrganixBrands on Twitter and on Facebook they are Organix Foods.
Disclosure: This is the third in a series of partnered posts i’m working on with Organix to promote their No Junk Journey campaign, as it’s an issue I feel strongly about and want to share with you here on my blog.