Posted on 08. November 2017 by
Oh, I remember reading so many forums and advice sites when my children were a few months old. Weaning seemed to be such a huge milestone hovering on the horizon, alongside teething and watching their first attempts at rolling, sitting and crawling. They learn so much in that first year of life, and as parents, it can be something of a roller-coaster for us too.
As if giving birth, adjusting to sleepless nights and our lives revolving around this new life weren't enough, we now have to figure out how to wean them from their milk onto food. It's a big step and a real transition for our little ones. Fortunately, help is on hand, and today I wanted to share my top tips on how to approach weaning.
Firstly, it's easy to say I know, but relax. Your baby will move onto solid food, they will try plenty of tastes and textures and at some point they will enjoy it - as will you! Bear in mind that it will all feel a bit strange initially. Then you need to accept that it will get messy! I like neat and tidy, but it was far better for my own stress levels if I accepted that there would be plenty of mess and let my kids get on with it!
Do a Little Research
There's the more traditional weaning route with purees or baby-led weaning. Look into both and decide what will be right for you and your baby. You may choose to try a little of both, check out the How to Start Weaning guide on the HiPP Organic website and make a start.
Get in recipe books, plastic boxes for batch freezing, baby bowls and spoons, bibs and floor mats if you want to, and then of course, the food. Start with simpler tastes such as single vegetables and build up slowly. The new HiPP Organic Pure Vegetable jars could be a good place to start if you are nervous about whipping up your own food. It can be tempting to try interesting foods early on, but keep it simple and your little one will let you know when they're keen to try more.
Try, try and try again
Apparently new foods can be tried up to 15 times before baby decides whether they really do like or dislike it. So if they spit that broccoli out first time, give it another go the following week and the following week and so on, and they may well start to like it. Do remember that just because they may not like peas now, it doesn't mean they never will so take that pressure off yourself. My son adored bananas and blueberries when he was weaning and now he won't tough them at all. On the other hand, he reacted to eggs when he was a baby but now they are one of his favourite foods and there's no rash to be seen! You want to expose them to lots of different tastes and textures whilst weaning, but they have years to change what they do and don't like. Trying new foods regularly also reduces the chances of them becoming fussy eaters when they are older.
Move through all of the stages
If you're starting with purees, make sure that by around seven months you are adding textures. If you continue on smooth food for too long, you may struggle moving onto lumpy food when they are older. My daughter took her textured food at around seven months and moved on to it with no problems at all, and with my son it was baby-led weaning so he started on things like toast fingers anyway.
Never leave your baby eating alone. It is quite normal for them to gag over foods as they will often push food or a spoon too far back into their mouths, which is all part of the process of them working out how best to eat. As long as you're cutting up their food or softening it as appropriate, choking is unlikely, but always be on hand just in case they do get into trouble.
Don't Give Up the Milk
Whilst I dropped milk feeds once my kids were weaning, they still had several a day. Initially weaning is likely to be about them trying new things, rather than filling their tummies with food, so they will still need lots of milk. Once they do build up to meals and snacks, continue to complement with milk feeds, and also introduce water.
Before you know it, they will be eating with the rest of you and making their preferences clear! The weaning period goes by very quickly, so relax and enjoy it - there's nothing like that cheesy little grin when they first try something that they absolutely adore - chocolate pudding in my kids' cases!
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