Guest Blogger: Hannah Watson, Yummi by Mummi.
An Adventure With Food
In honour of National Weaning Week I thought I would pull together my top tips on how to start an adventure with food with your little one(s).
Starting the weaning process can be really overwhelming… and messy, so much mess. It's also really fun though and it's amazing to see our little ones exploring different tastes and textures. I've put together my top tips on weaning as well as my top purchases to help you in the process.
1. Prepare for the mess.
You can't get away from it and it's way easier once you give in to this. Whatever you do, do not wear a white shirt when feeding your little one, or anything that needs to be dry cleaned. For some reason I still do this and every time it ends up needing a wash! I tend to put a muslin over my lap so that when my son drops food off the side of the high chair, which he does all the time, I can at least try to catch some of the food.
2. Start with vegetable purees.
If you start with fruit purees then your little one will get used to the sweet flavours and may not be as interested in vegetables.
3. Introduce food groups slowly.
By doing this you can watch carefully for any intolerances your little one has. If you overwhelm them with too many new foods then it's harder to know exactly what the cause of a reaction is, if there is one.
4. Stick with it.
Initially my son loved purees but then he stopped letting me feed him with a spoon so I jumped straight into baby-led weaning (which I highly recommend). He loved feeding himself and this really brought on his hand-eye coordination. Recipes like sweetcorn fritters, blueberry pancakes, etc. are great for this.
5. Have fun with it.
I have vegetable cutters that I use sometimes for cutting cheese/fruit/veg and it has definitely helped encourage my son to try different foods (he wouldn't try cheese but then I cut it up into heart shapes and he went wild for it).
6. Don't be hard on yourself.
I remember initially dreading trying to feed my son out in public in case he wouldn't eat and was worried about what people would say. Try not to worry about this because we've all been there! Also, everyone has an opinion - whether you choose to spoon feed or do baby-led weaning don't feel like you're doing the wrong thing. Just do whatever works for your little one.
7. Feed at your baby's pace.
They will tell you when they don't want any more food by turning away or closing their mouth firmly. Initially they really don't need too much food as milk is still their main source of nutrition, so if they only eat a bit that's okay. And sometimes they might not want anything when you sit them down - when this happens I put cling film over the food and try again a bit later.
8. Don't go anywhere without wipes.
You will need them to clean up your little one (and possibly yourself!).
1. A big sheet to put under the high chair - this might sound silly, but I actually used a plastic tablecloth. It meant that I didn't have to worry about carpet being stained and made the clean-up process so easy. I would just spray it down with anti-bac spray and it would be ready for the next meal time. You can order special food sheets to go under a high chair but a plastic tablecloth is much cheaper and you can buy them in most stores.
2. A bib that catches food (I used Tommee Tippee).
These absolutely saved some of my son's clothes and we still use them. They're so easy to clean afterwards and roll up to fit into the changing bag.
Initially, I bought spoons that were short and a bit too big for my son's mouth but then I bought a pack of 5 from Sainsbury's (their brand is called Little Ones) with a little scoop and long handle and they are a lot easier for him.
4. High chair.
We paid £12 for our high chair at Asda and it has been great! It’s easy to travel with and has two different leg lengths so initially I could either sit on the floor beside him or at the table. I still find feeding Gryff so hard if he’s not in a high chair as he wanders off and food gets absolutely everywhere so we tend to take our high chair when visiting family.
I hope you can have fun with your weaning adventure. Some days are easier than others, but isn’t that the case with being a Mum in general!?