Weaning 101

The weaning process can be incredibly daunting, with different schools of thought on when to start, what to give, how much to give. You have to go with what makes sense to you.

When to start…

“Watch the baby, not the calendar” every child is different and starting them on solid food should be completely instinctive. These are the cues we are ‘told’ to look out for :
Interest in food – although most babies try to put everything and anything in their mouth at this point!
Waking in the night – when a consistent sleeping pattern has been established this is one of the best ways to indicate they could be ready for food (remember to take in account growth spurts or illnesses as these may also change sleep patterns)
Holding head up and sitting up unassisted
Doubling birth weight

Loss of tongue-thrust reflex – early on this helps baby not to choke hence newborns always sticking their tongue out, as this reflex diminishes your baby will be able to take in food
Letting you know she is full – when your baby can turn away from breast or bottle to let you know they have had enough they are able to self-regulate and can tell you when they don’t need anymore food, otherwise you’ll be shovelling puree in them and accidentally making them overeat.

We started my daughter with her first tastes on daddy’s birthday (so sentimental, I know!) she was just over 5 months and showing lots of interest in food (plus all the above), so it felt right. I started her on an avocado and pear purée, which she loved! At first, for softer foods the Anabel Karmel bowl and masher was all I used – and its fab for those first tastes.

When introducing solids you should try a new food for 4 days in a row and then move on to the next food, that way you can see if baby has an allergy to anything and how their body and digestion responds to a certain food. Always start a new food early in the day, just in case there is an adverse reaction, you will be able to go straight to your GP to get it checked out.

 

What to give…

Try and avoid the mass-produced packaged baby foods if you can and stick to whole foods, nutrient rich, anti-oxidant full and the best start for your baby’s development.

Some great choices for those first tastes include Avocado, Bananas, Pears, Organic Brown Rice and Sweet Potato.

Avocado – a great first food for baby, avocados are loaded with essential fats and nutrients perfect for growing babies. They are easily digested, puree like a dream and most babies love the taste!

Vitamins: A, C, Niacin, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron, Magnesium, Calcium

Bananas – Sweet and creamy when mashed, its unlikely to be spat back in your face when first offered to your baby (unlike pureed broccoli – but that story is for another day!). It has been found that bananas and their mucosal properties actually help coat the tummy and help aid in digestion – win win!!!

Vitamins: A, C, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Selenium, Magnesium, Calcium

Organic Brown Rice Cereal – Most health visitors in your local surgery will often recommend baby rice as a first food but baby rice doesn’t neccesarily have to be your babies first food, pediatrics are now recommending bananas, avocado and sweet potato as perfect first foods.

Rice cereal does add a great source of nutritious whole grains and fibre to your babies diet and you can find organic brown rice powder in most health foods shops.

Pears – Another yummy baby fave, just simple steam and mash or puree straight up. You can also find organic packaged pear puree in supermarket now.

Vitamins: A, C, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium

Sweet Potato – Great source of lots of nutrients and combines well with both fruits and veggies, sweet potato is my go-to complex carb for my little lady and for me!

Vitamins: A (24,877 mg ), C, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Sodium, Selenium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Calcium

How much to give…

This is a hotly debated topic between my mummy friends on the Island,  Are we over-feeding or under-feeding our babies??!? Unfortunately none of us really will ever know for certain the optimal baby nutrition intake for that particular day, time or situation but trust your mummy gut and go with the cues your baby gives you.

Don’t force that last spoon that we are told to offer if baby is pushing or turning away, this may confuse their natural ability to self-regulate his or her feeding by continuing to try to feed your baby – baby knows best in this situation! When offering a new food and it’s refused straight away it is advised to keep trying that particular food a few more times as it may take your baby a while to acclimatise to a new taste; but watch out for any reactions just in case baby is refusing because they know instinctively it won’t agree with them.

Below is an outline of what is generally recommended for baby daily intakes from 4-12 months. (I’ll be looking in to toddler portions in a post next week!)

4-6 Months:
What to Feed Baby:
Breastfeed every 2-4 hours or Formula 24-45 ounces AND
1-3 tablespoons of food at 1 or 2 meals

6-8 Months:
What to Feed Baby:
Breastfeed every 3-4 hours or Formula 24-37 ounces AND
2-3 meals a day (Veggie and Fruit Purees, Yogurt, Baby rice)

8 to 10 months:
What to Feed Baby:
Breastfeed every 4-5 hours or Formula 24-31 ounce
3 meals a day – Meals at this stage should including a grain, fruit, veggie and a meat or protein source such as eggs.

10 to 12 months:
What to Feed Baby:
Breast milk or formula (as above) AND
3 meals a day – As above with a couple of snacks too depending on your babies hunger – Fruit, raisins, veggie sticks, homemade baby muffins or oaty bars

IMG_2657Blend? Puree? Mash?

When I started to introduce more root veg and harder fruits, I would steam and then use my Vitamix to purée.  The Vitamix is a great gadget in the kitchen – it is incredible for making the most nutrient rich shakes, indulgent frozen cocktails,  smooth spice pastes and even chops my onions for me. But at making baby food in small fresh batches daily it does not work quite as well.

My hubby actually surprised me with the Avent Steam and Blend and I was hesitant to use it at first, struggling along with my big pans, steamers, and blender.  I actually left it in its Amazon packaging for over a week. Well that was until I opened the box and my whole baby food making life got a whole lot easier. The Avent Steam and Blend looks like a mini chopper but my oh my is it so much more. You add in your veg/protein/fruit to the main container then add in your water to the base unit and flick the switch. Your chosen produce will steam to delightful perfection and when done you literally just flip over the container and pulse the button to blend to purée smoothness.

A voila, it’s that simple. Healthy, fresh food that you can produce for your child daily.

Baby Weaning just got a whole lot easier!

Bon Appetit Babies and Happy Puree-ing lovely mummies!!!

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